In Virginia, although assault and battery are combined as a single Class 1 Misdemeanor charge in Virginia Code Section 18.2-57, they are technically considered two different crimes.
“Assault” can accurately and generally be considered a threat. Virginia defines assault as an attempt or offer, with force and violence, to do some bodily hurt to another. General examples can include swinging at someone with a fist, stick or some other weapon, throwing a bottle with the intent to hit someone or simply raising up an arm in a menacing or threatening way. Even if physical contact did not occur an individual can be charged with assault if there was a perceived threat or an impression of intent to cause harm to the alleged victim.
“Battery” is the actual contact itself. A battery is generally defined as any non-consensual and/or unwanted intentional touching. While there are certain types of touching that may be legally justified or excused, a charge of battery does not require an actual “injury.”
Any one act that falls into either or both of the above definitions can lead to a charge of “assault and battery” pursuant to Virginia Code section 19.2-57. Like all Class 1 Misdemeanors, it is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.