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No Charges are Insurmountable

Those accused of battery or assault should obtain a top-rated criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. An aggressive offense is often the best defense to assault and battery charges like the ones you are facing now.

Those convicted of assault in Virginia may suffer extreme consequences, including:

  • Fines
  • Jail
  • Loss of employment
  • Loss of firearm rights
  • Permanent criminal record
  • Restitution owed to the victim

After being charged with assault or battery, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can mean the difference between your freedom and a permanent criminal record. The award-winning assault lawyers at Portner & Shure, P.A. in Alexandria, Virginia can transform your circumstances. At any stage, even if no charge or arrest has been made, our criminal defense lawyers can stand up for you.

To schedule a free consultation, contact us at (855) 954-4141.

Virginia Battery Law

Virginia laws define battery as the “willful or unlawful touching of the person of another by an assailant, or by some object set in motion by him.” Whether a touching is deemed a battery depends upon the intent, motivation, or mental state of the accused.

There are two elements to battery:

  • The defendant must have the sufficient mental state to commit the crime; and,
  • No justification/excuse for the touching exists.

When evaluating a battery case in Alexandria, our criminal attorneys start here. If either of these two elements of the crime of battery is missing, there should be no conviction.

For example, accidental and non-reckless touching is not considered a battery. On the other hand, intentional touching without justification or excuse is deemed a battery. For another example, spitting on someone (if completed in a rude/or angry way) is considered a battery.

All situations are different, and that is where the value of our skilled Virginia criminal defense lawyers proves beneficial. In evaluating Alexandria battery cases, our nationally-recognized attorneys discuss your situation and evaluate if a justification or excuse for the physical contact exists. If so, we can argue the battery charge should be dismissed.

Defenses to Battery Charges in Virginia

Some justifications and excuses apply in battery cases. Our criminal defense lawyers will review the circumstances surrounding your battery charge and evaluate if any defenses apply. We understand how to evaluate these cases based on our 30 years of experience defending clients throughout NoVa.

Many touches are consensual, and thus, consent is a complete defense to a battery charge. Additional justifications and excuses include public authority, domestic authority, crime prevention, and self-defense. In Virginia, provoking conduct by the victim (even insulting words) can be brought before the court to minimize potential punishment.

Assault Law in Virginia

A criminal assault is “any attempt or offer with force or violence to do corporal hurt to another.” The Virginia assault definition explains that an assault occurs when the accused intends to place the victim in fear of bodily harm and causes the victim to reasonably fear bodily harm.

Assault law can be further broken down to include:

  • Virginia Code § 18.2-282 prohibits assault by a firearm, pneumatic weapon, or object similar in appearance. This is a class 1 misdemeanor. However, assault via firearm is deemed a class 6 felony if it occurs on/within 1,000 feet of a primary, middle, or secondary school. The penalty for assault by a firearm is 1 year in jail and/or a fine of $2,500.00.
  • Virginia Code § 18.2-57.2.A makes assault/battery on a family or household member a class 1 misdemeanor.
  • Assault or assault and battery on a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, firefighter, or rescue squad member is a felony under Virginia Code § 18.2-57.C. A person convicted of assault/battery on a police officer under § 18.2-57.C, is guilty of a class 6 felony and must be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 15 days.
  • Under VA Code § 18.2-57, simple battery and assault are considered class 1 misdemeanors. The penalty for simple assault is 1 year in jail and/or a fine up to $2,500.
  • Assault/battery is also a “lesser included offense” of sexual battery in accordance with § 18.2-67.4.
  • The threat or assault upon one “operating a vehicle for hire,” is a class 1 misdemeanor under § 46.2-818. This statute may apply in cases where an uber or driver is threatened or assaulted.
  • Attempted battery is a form of assault.

Maiming by DWI

Virginia Code § 18.2-51.4A criminalizes “maiming” resulting from driving while intoxicated.

There are two elements of the Maiming DWI statute:

  • The accused must have driven in violation of VA Code § 18.2-266. This statute prohibits driving and operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
  • The accused must have driven recklessly. Specifically, to be convicted the Defendant must have behaved in a manner “so gross, wanton, and culpable” as to indicate a reckless disregard for human life.

It is critical to note that the State must prove these two independent elements: intoxication and reckless behavior. The prosecutor cannot rely on the fact that someone was intoxicated to prove reckless disregard. For example, after a thorough review of the circumstances, our award-winning Alexandria lawyers may be able to argue that although the accused was driving while intoxicated, they did so in a careful manner. Thus, they could not be convicted under the Maiming DWI statute, § 18.2-51.4.

Defending Against Assault & Battery Charges

There are a few standard justifications to assault/battery allegations, these include:

  • Public authority.
  • Domestic authority, which describes that a parent may inflict moderate and corporal punishment without committing battery.
  • Crime prevention.
  • Self Defense, which describes that one can use force commensurate with the force being applied or threatened, to protect themselves, others, or their property.

Criminal convictions oftentimes rise and fall based on the credibility of the victim. The circumstances of your case may show that a self-defense argument is viable. The affirmative self-defense argument requires the defense to present evidence that is sufficient to prove to the jury that they acted in self-defense. A thorough review of the circumstances of your case will indicate if a self-defense argument may be viable, in addition to any of the other justifications allowed in assault/battery cases.

Choose the Advocates at Portner & Shure, P.A.

Assault charges are not something you have to face alone. The top-rated lawyers at Portner & Shure, P.A. in Alexandria relentlessly advocate for the freedom of our clients accused of assault and battery. We pursue each case from the ground up. Although all situations are different, and past results are no guarantee of future success, our lawyers have obtained successful results in countless assault and battery cases. During our 30 years of practice, Portner & Shure, P.A. has gained a reputation for relentless and aggressive advocacy. Put our Alexandria criminal defense lawyers on your side.

Call (855) 954-4141 or contact us online at your first opportunity.


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