Virginia Law on Accord & Satisfaction: Va. Code § 19.2-151

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What is Accord & Satisfaction in Virginia?

Accord and Satisfaction is a potential civil remedy for criminal assault and battery and other similar criminal misdemeanor charges.  Va. Code § 19.2-151  defines Accord and Satisfaction:

When a person is in jail or under a recognizance to answer a charge of assault and battery or other misdemeanor, or has been indicted for an assault and battery or other misdemeanor for which there is a remedy by civil action, unless the offense was committed (i) by or upon any law-enforcement officer, (ii) riotously in violation of §§ 18.2-404 to 18.2-407, (iii) against a family or household member in violation of § 18.2-57.2, or (iv) with intent to commit a felony, if the person injured appears before the court which made the commitment or took the recognizance, or before the court in which the indictment is pending, and acknowledges in writing that he has received satisfaction for the injury, the court may, in its discretion, by an order, supersede the commitment, discharge the recognizance, or dismiss the prosecution, upon payment by the defendant of costs accrued to the Commonwealth or any of its officers.

Va. Code § 19.2-151

What does this mean for your Criminal Case?

The statute allows a judge to dismiss a criminal misdemeanor case upon payment of restitution to the hurt party. If you are charged with an assault and battery, or other misdemeanors where there is a civil fine that is applicable (for example, payment of medical bills), a judge can dismiss the criminal charges against you if you show that you have made the victim whole via restitution.

An Accord and Satisfaction is often a preferable resolution to all parties, since the victim receives payment and the criminal defendant does not receive a conviction. But it can be tricky to navigate the process to make it legal, and usually you will want the prosecutor to agree to this resolution in advance.

Which misdemeanors does an Accord and Satisfaction apply to?

By statute, Accord and Satisfaction applies to assault and battery and other similar misdemeanor charges. This means that it is not apply to felony charges (unless the prosecutor agrees to amend the charge to a misdemeanor), any assault against a law enforcement official, and assault and battery against your own family or household member. See our assault and battery page for an in-dept explanation on Virginia law on Assault.

Do you need an attorney?

Yes, this is a delicate agreement that relies on many different parties coming together for the end result of getting your case dismissed. It is a balancing act between your interests, opposing party’s interests, and ensuring that the prosecutor on your case will agree to it. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney take a look at the specific facts of your case to see if you could potentially have your charges dismissed via an accord and satisfaction.

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