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Innocent people are charged with crimes and it happens more often than you would think. Especially for crimes such as assault. Unfortunate accidents happen. People act in self-defense. Many times, people are arrested on assault charges based only off the complaining party’s story. The police have not heard your side of the story yet, but you should not give them your side of the story until you’ve consulted with a Fairfax assault and battery lawyer first.

Fairfax assault and battery lawyer


As a threshold issue, assault-related crimes are always considered serious due to their violent nature. Even slightly touching another person can result in a charge of assault and battery in Virginia. This page provides an overview of assault and battery crimes and the defenses a Fairfax assault and battery lawyer can assert on your behalf.

What is Assault and Battery?

My practice as a Fairfax assault and battery attorney has revealed that many people incorrectly believe that assault and battery are the same crime. They are not. Instead, they are two separate and distinct crimes.

On the one hand, assault occurs when one person places another person in reasonable fear for their safety or of being touched in an offensive manner. Stated another way, an assault is an attempt to commit a battery. The prosecution must show that the defendant had performed an act with the intention to commit a battery, but was unsuccessful in their attempt.

On the other hand, battery is the willful use of force or violence upon another. In effect, battery makes it a crime to hit another person. Battery is a successful assault accomplished by any harmful or offensive touching. There does not necessarily have to be an injury; any touching which would offend a reasonable person under the circumstances is enough.

If you are facing a charge of assault and battery in Virginia or Fairfax County, contact the Law Offices of Randall Sousa for a free consultation with a Fairfax assault and battery lawyer. We can discuss the details of your case, help you understand the charges, and evaluate any possible defenses you may have.

Defenses to Assault and Battery

If you are currently facing charges for assault and battery in Virginia, it does not mean that you will ultimately be convicted. On the contrary, your Fairfax assault and battery lawyer can assert a number of possible defenses to help you beat an assault and battery charge. However, the law can be exceptionally complicated and confusing and that is why you want the best Fairfax assault and battery lawyer you can get.

Although each and every case is unique, your Fairfax assault and battery lawyer may be able to assert one or more of the following defenses:


A defendant has a valid defense to assault and battery if the defendant’s use of force was reasonable and not more than what the situation called for. Self-defense is unavailable as a defense when the defendant is the aggressor. However, when the parties are engaged in mutual combat, your Fairfax assault and battery lawyer can explain this to the jury and create doubt as to whether you were truly the aggressor.

Insufficient Evidence

Another way your Fairfax assault and battery lawyer can help you beat assault and battery charges is by pointing out flawed evidence. To be sure, many people have an inaccurate perception of law enforcement. Indeed, TV shows and movies often paint police investigators as brilliant crime fighters and detectives. Consequently, many juries are inclined to view law enforcement as more reliable and meticulous than the rest us. But that is precisely why you want a Fairfax assault and battery lawyer who is capable of exposing law enforcement for the undertrained and overworked people that they are. When their mistakes are exposed, juries never respond favorably. Juries frown upon detectives who neglect to look for fingerprints, video footage, or additional witnesses. Simply put, the best criminal lawyers will always attempt to expose flaws in the prosecution’s evidence.


If the defendant committed an unfortunate accident, your Fairfax assault and battery lawyer can show the jury that there were no evil intentions. Without evil intent, there is no crime. Unfortunate accidents happen. A person should not be charged with a crime because of misfortune or an accident.

False Accusations

Many reasons exist for why people make false accusations, but it requires a skilled Fairfax assault and battery lawyer to expose a false accusation. Your Fairfax assault and battery lawyer is capable of doing this through skillful cross-examination, a thorough investigation of the facts, and putting the right witness on the stand to expose the accuser’s lies and motivations for lying.

Mistaken Identity

For the most part, eyewitness testimony is unreliable. People are just not that good at remembering a stranger’s face they saw on one occasion for a very short period of time. Unfortunately, it is quite common for the wrong person to become a suspect in an assault and battery case.


Consent serves as a defense to assault and battery charges in a variety of situations. Some examples include when an injury occurs while playing a contact sport or when participating in very rough, but consensual sexual activity. While the legal force of consent does not hold the same weight it once did when our Founding Fathers would settle disputes by engaging in a duel, it still is an important defense despite its somewhat limited applicability.

Other Forms of Assault in Virginia
Assault and Battery as A Hate Crime (Virginia Code § 18.2-57)

If a person commits an assault and battery against another person because of their race, color, religion, or national origin, then they will be charged with a Class 6 Felony.

Assault and Battery of a Protected Employee

According to Virginia Code § 18.2-57(c), it is considered a class 6 felony to assault any of the following:

  • A judge
  • A law enforcement officer
  • Emergency medical personal (i.e. paramedics or firefighters)
  • A security officer
  • Any correctional officer or an employee of a correctional facility

If you have assaulted any of the foregoing persons, you will want to speak to an aggressive and highly skilled Fairfax assault and battery lawyer immediately.

Assault and Battery Against a Family or Household Member (More Domestic Violence Info)

Commonly referred to as domestic violence or domestic battery, you may be subjected to assault and battery charges in Virginia pursuant to Virginia Code § 18.2-57.2 if you inflict an injury upon any of the following:

  • A spouse
  • A former spouse
  • A sibling
  • A cohabitant (roommate)
  • A former co-habitant
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Grandchildren
Simple Assault

Pursuant to Virginia Code § 18.2-57.2, a simple assault occurs when one person intentionally places another person in fear of a battery. Importantly, no contact need occur. Instead, engaging in conduct which places an individual in fear of physical harm is all the is needed. However, the fear must be reasonable.

Penalties for Assault and Battery

Generally speaking, simple assault is a class 1 misdemeanor which carries a sentence of up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. However, the more serious forms of assault have more serious penalties.

Hate crime assault carries a 30-day mandatory jail sentence.

Assault on a protected employee carries a minimum of six months in jail.

Assault against a family member is generally a class one misdemeanor. However, if you have prior convictions of domestic violence over the past 20 years, the third charge will be filed as a felony.

What if my Child Was Charged With Assault?

Many times, children are charged with assault merely because they won a fight where both parties consented to mutual combat. If your child has been charged with an assault-related offense, you can learn more about the Virginia juvenile justice process by checking out our page on Juvenile Defense. Likewise, if you are a college student (or you have a child attending junior high or high school) who has been charged with assault and battery on school property, you can obtain further information about how we can provide assistance should student disciplinary issues arise.

Passionate & Personal Service


The Law Offices of Randall Sousa provides clients throughout Virginia with aggressive, affordable, and highly skilled legal services. Call now to speak with a Fairfax assault and battery lawyer.

Fairfax assault and battery lawyer Randall Sousa possesses a deep commitment and passion for criminal defense, and he is relentless when it comes to fighting for his clients in each and every case.

Fairfax Assault and Battery Lawyer Randall Sousa






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