Virginia Code Section 18.2-57 states, in pertinent part:
Any person who commits a simple assault or assault and battery is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Notice the statute does not define what is a simple assault or an assault and battery. This statute only prescribes the punishment. It is a common law offense, which means the offense is defined by caselaw.
In Virginia, the least touching of another done in an angry, rude, insulting, or vengeful manner is sufficient to charge and convict of an assault and battery. Additionally, if one intentionally commits an overt act with the intent to place another in apprehension of a battery, that is a simple assault even though no touching occurred. And, if one attempts a battery, and fails, that too is a simple assault. This means if you were to throw an object at someone and miss them, and even if they did not know what you were up to, that is a simple assault.
What's more, and what happens more often than not, in Virginia a citizen can swear out a criminal complaint to a magistrate. This means that two feuding neighbors can have each other charged with relative ease for minimal physical contact. While the phrase "assault and battery" typically brings up images of a busted lip or black eye, a poke in the chest with the tip of a finger is also an assault and battery in Virginia.
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If you are charged with an Assault and Battery, contact a Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney today. George Freeman will gladly meet with you to discuss your case, and your defenses.
(**Note - misdemeanor assault and battery offenses committed against law enforcement officers, or that are inspired by hate against a protected class can be charged as felonies.**)