When people think of assault and battery, they assume that there has to be physical contact for there to be a conviction. However, “assault” only requires that someone directly causes another to reasonably fear that they will be injured. This can include someone raising their fist in anger towards someone else, without actually swinging at them.
“Battery” is the physical contact. The physical contact does not necessarily have to result in injury, and can merely be menacing or offensive. Virginia Assault and Battery cases are heard in the General District Court.
Assault and battery against a family or household member falls into a separate category that results in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court hearing the case instead of the General District Court. A family or household member includes spouses, children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, in-laws who live in the same house, people who have a child together, roommates and people who have lived together in the past year.
Unfortunately, domestic violence charges are some of the most common criminal charges that stem from family law cases. While there are a handful of other charges that fall under the umbrella of domestic violence, the most common are domestic assault and battery.
Generally, domestic violence includes any act against a family or household member that involves violence, force or threats, and that directly causes a physical injury or reasonable apprehension of injury. Domestic violence is not something that the courts take lightly and therefore it can have an effect on child custody and visitation cases.
A first offense of domestic assault is a class one misdemeanor. The punishment is jail time of up to 12 months and a fine of up to $2,500.