Difference Between Assault and Domestic Violence in Virginia Beach 

The difference between assault and domestic violence in Virginia Beach is that assault is leading someone to believe that they could be subject to a hostile contact, threats, or threatening behavior that does not necessarily result in being harmed but just puts somebody in the apprehension of that is considered an assault. In contrast, domestic violence is a physical crime against a family or household member, which is a parent, a sibling, a spouse, somebody the person lives with, or somebody they have a child in common with. Domestic violence charges can result in you losing your job, your right to see your children, and even your freedom if you are incarcerated.  That is why it is important to contact an experienced domestic violence lawyer so that they can help you make informed decisions, fight for you, and make sure that your rights are protected.

How Domestic Violence Cases Are Treated Differently

The law treats domestic cases a little more seriously. These are cases that often result in death or more serious injuries. They tend to be more high profile in news stories. In Virginia, there is a separate category for domestic violence cases. Another difference between assault and domestic violence in Virginia Beach is that domestic violence charges have stricter penalties. If an individual is convicted of domestic violence, they also lose the right to possess a firearm under federal law whereas a normal assault and battery case does not carry that punishment.

If someone were to be charged with domestic violence and assault, they would have to be two separate instances. The reason is assault is inherent in any violence. Usually, they would be merged together. If it is just one incident, it is unlikely that they could get a conviction for both.


 Witness statements, the statement by the complaining witness, photographs of any injuries, physical evidence, clothing, and property damages—especially if these are fights in the house there may be things broken or damaged to the walls.

If evidence was collected improperly by the police, that can be a major issue. That is one thing that can be brought up. Another issue is if the complaining witness does not take steps to properly preserve evidence and show that this is what happened from the scene. A person focuses mostly on the collection of it and if the parties made mistakes in terms of keeping it ready for trial.

Witness Testimony

One difference between assault and domestic violence in Virginia Beach is the extent to which witness statements are valued as evidence.  A person would want the witnesses who were there and saw the event. They can provide a neutral angle. If an individual was injured in this, a person would want photos showing the nature of their injuries. Also, depending on the case, if there are people who know the person, it could be helpful to get character statements showing that this is not who they are.

 The big thing is testimony has to adhere to the rules of evidence so hearsay evidence can be tossed or not admitted in evidence which can be helpful to the defendant. Then, it depends on how the statements were taken, if the police took the statements properly, if it is a statement by the defendant, were they Mirandized, and whether the person properly waived their rights against self-incrimination or not. 

How Penalties Differ

To start off, they are both Class 1 misdemeanors so they are treated the same in Virginia. However, domestic violence cases federally trigger a loss of the right to possess a firearm. Also, while regular assault and batteries will always be misdemeanors, for domestic assault and battery, a person’s third domestic assault and battery is a felony if a person commits three within 20 years, then that is treated as a felony, which can carry up to five years in prison.

With assault charges, a person can be convicted of them and they will simply just stack on their record and the judge can take that into consideration but they do not, in and of themselves, cause that person any problems. If a person is convicted two times in Virginia of domestic assault and they are charged the third time, that third one is a felony and that is something that can cause problems. Also, the employers tend to be able to overlook an assault charge a little more regularly than they do with a crime against the family member.

Benefits of an Attorney

A domestic violence charge can have life-changing implications. It can result in incarceration. It can result in an individual losing their job, it can result in fines, and it can keep them away from their children. Working with an attorney that understands the difference between domestic violence and assault is important because someone who understands the nuances involved in the charges you may face will be better equipped to begin working on your defense. Get in contact with a skilled lawyer who will defend you against domestic violence charges and can mitigate potential penalties you may face.