In Virginia, the criminal charge of assault and battery is a misdemeanor. This means that if you are convicted of this charge, you could face up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.
Why are assault and battery charges against a family member misdemeanors in Virginia?
The criminal charge of assault and battery is a class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia because the state legislature has determined that this type of crime is not as serious as other types of crimes, such as murder or rape because they are usually not premeditated. They are often spur-of-the-moment acts that occur during a heated argument.
Another reason is that these types of crimes are misdemeanors is because they often do not result in serious injury. While any type of physical violence is serious, the injuries sustained in an assault and battery are usually not as severe as those sustained in other types of crimes.
When can it become a felony?
There are certain circumstances when an assault and battery against a family member can get upgraded to a felony charge. If the victim sustains serious bodily injury, the charge can get upgraded to a felony. Also, if a weapon is used during the commission of the crime, the charge can also get upgraded to a felony, so the criminal defense would proceed differently at that point.
In addition, if the defendant has a prior conviction for assault and battery against a family member, the new charge can get classified as a felony.
If you have been charged with assault and battery against a family member, it is important to understand the nature of the charge against you. Besides that, understanding the potential penalties you are facing can help you develop a criminal defense strategy.