In Florida, assault and battery are two separate but often related crimes. Additionally, assault and battery charges are further broken up into two categories: simple assault and battery and aggravated assault and battery. The nature and circumstance surrounding your arrest will determine whether you face misdemeanor or felony charges but, in any case, you face harsh penalties if you are convicted.
At First Coast Criminal Defense, our Jacksonville assault and battery lawyers provide aggressive legal representation for those accused of assault and/or battery in Jacksonville and throughout Duval, Clay, and Nassau counties. Our Jacksonville assault & battery attorneys have a proven track record of success in the courtroom; we are well-equipped and fully prepared to fight for you and your rights.
What Is the Difference Between Assault and Battery?
Many people mistakenly believe that “assault” and “battery” are the same thing. However, in Florida, these are two distinct crimes. While battery involves actual physical contact between two individuals, assault merely involves the threat of harm/violent contact. This means that you can be arrested for and charged with assault even if you never touch the other person. Additionally, depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident, your charges could be elevated from simple assault/battery to aggravated assault/battery.
What Is Assault in Florida?
In Florida, an assault involves the intentional threat and apparent ability to commit violence to someone else as well as creating a fear that this attack is imminent.
This includes physical attacks, but it can also encompass verbal threats or gestures that suggest an attack is imminent. A failed attempt at striking a person can also be defined as assault.
Simple Assault Florida
Simple assault in Florida is defined as a less severe threat of violence made against another person (e.g. threatening to punch someone) when the person believed the other person could and would cause them harm. This is a second-degree misdemeanor and may result in:
- Up to 60 days in jail
- A fine of up to $500
However, assault done against someone who has been identified as a "special victim" is a first-degree misdemeanor. Examples of these individuals are law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical care providers and public transport employees. The possible penalties for those convicted of this increase to these maximums: one year in jail and a fine of $1,000.
Note that a previous criminal record, particularly if it includes assault or battery convictions, can result in extensions of these maximums.
Aggravated Assault Florida
In Florida, an aggravated assault is an assault that involves more significant elements. Examples include making the threat while armed with a deadly weapon or showing intent to kill the person targeted. An aggravated assault conviction in Florida, a third-degree felony, can result in:
- Up to 5 years in prison
- A fine of up to $5,000
If you've been charged with assault or aggravated assault, contactour Jacksonville assault and battery lawyers today!
What Is Battery in Florida?
In Florida, a battery charge refers to the intentional striking or touching of another person without their consent. This does not necessarily need to involve direct contact with the person. Items that are being worn or carried by the individual, such as clothes or a backpack, that are attacked can also result in a battery charge.
It is important to note that battery does not have to result in physical harm or injury to be considered a crime in Florida. In fact, even a simple altercation, such as a shove or punch, can lead to a battery charge in Florida.
Simple Battery Florida
Defined as minor intentional, unwanted contact made by one person against another (e.g. pushing someone during an argument); typically charged as a first-degree misdemeanor. Simple battery charges in Florida include:
- Up to 1 year in jail
- A fine of up to $1,000
However, the same act done against someone such as a police officer or firefighter or the perpetrator having already been convicted for battery can result in this being a third-degree felony instead.
A third-degree felony charge also results if great bodily harm or permanent disfigurement or disability was unintentionally caused. Up to five years imprisonment and up to a $5,000 fine may be given to those convicted of this.
Florida Aggravated Battery
Meanwhile, aggravated battery in Florida is defined as an assault that intentionally causes great bodily harm, such as disfigurement or a permanent injury, an assault that involved a deadly weapon or an assault that was done on someone who the perpetrator knew or should have known was pregnant at the time. An aggravated assault conviction, which is a second-degree felony, can result in:
- Up to 15 years in prison
- A fine of up to $10,000
If you're faced with simple or aggravated battery charges in FL, contactour Jacksonville assault & battery attorneys today!
Result of Assault and Battery Convictions in FL
A conviction for assault and/or battery will not only impact your finances and your freedom but will also have an immense, negative effect on nearly every aspect of your life. You may be required to pay restitution in separate civil proceedings, attend anger management programs, and receive mandatory probation.
If you are arrested, you will have a permanent criminal record (unless you qualify for expungement), which puts you at risk of losing your job, being unable to obtain future employment, and experiencing difficulties in finding housing or securing a loan.
Examples of Assault and Battery
Here are a few examples of assault and battery in Florida:
- A person threatens to punch another person in the face during an argument. This would be considered assault.
- One person hits another person in the head with a bottle, causing injury, during a fight. This is both assault and battery.
- A person throws a rock at someone with the intent to hit them, but misses. This is assault.
- A person punches another person during a physical altercation. This would be considered battery.
- A person intentionally pushes another person down a flight of stairs, causing injury. This is considered assault and battery.
Each each case is unique, and whether an action constitutes assault, battery, or both depends on the circumstances of each incident.
Assault & Battery Defenses in Florida
One of the possible reasons that you may have engaged in an act that led to an arrest for assault or battery was you engaging in self-defense – i.e. protecting yourself from an attack. This is legally allowed as long as you genuinely believe that you were about to be physically attacked or you already were. Another possible defense is mutual combat. This results if you and someone else essentially mutually agreed to fight and then did so. Another defense occurs if you had no intent to harm someone.
You should also note that it is possible to commit assault or battery and a DUI. One example would be having physical control of a vehicle and intentionally driving it towards or actually hitting others while under the influence of a controlled substance. Also take into account that Florida's physical control laws could result in a conviction even if you are not physically seen by officers or witnesses behind the wheel as long as it is deemed extremely likely that you had been driving it during the incident.
If you are in need of assistance with an assault or battery charge, contact our legal team of qualified Jacksonville assault and battery lawyers at First Coast Criminal Defense, and we will ensure that your rights are upheld and that you are treated fairly. We specialize in DUI, assault and battery and several other types of criminal charges.
Don’t delay—contact First Coast Criminal Defense today at (904) 474-3115to speak with one of our Jacksonville assault and battery attorneys.
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