Yes, person A can be charged for assault and battery. Assault is the placing of another in apprehension of immediate offensive touching, or attempted battery. Battery is the unlawful application of force resulting in bodily injury or offensive touching. Generally any unwanted contact, regardless of the amount of force, can be considered offensive touching. Assault and battery is a misdemeanor.
Best of Luck,
Robert C. T. Reed
Disclaimer: This response is offered for educational and guidance purposes. It is not to be relied upon as legal advice. My having addressed your question has not created an attorney-client relationship between us. You should consult an attorney licensed in your state for more specific advice and information.
You cannot be convicted unless the government can prove that the harmful or offensive touching was intentional. What you described was a mistake and lacks the requisite intent. However, if person A has been charged then obviously the police and at least one judge (the magistrate) did not believe it was a mistake or they are not familar with the more subtle parts of assault and battery law.
Person A needs to hire a really good attorney to prove the lack of intent and who is really familiar with assault and battery law in Virginia (which is complicated).
If you have any questions give me a call.
Luke J. Nichols
Spectrum Legal Defense
The mistake has to be in the act itself and not the identity of the person. Technically, this was a battery. However, if you can show the circumstances and that your actions were not offensive (or that this was an honest mistake and the action was not that offensive to the reasonably prudent person), you may just get a warning.
Next time, be absolutely certain of the person's identity before doing anything.
[This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship.]