Although assault and battery offenses in Florida are similar and are discussed together, they are two distinct criminal offenses.
In Florida, the main difference between assault and battery is the absence or presence of physical contact. Assault is a verbal or physical threat of harming another, without actually causing harm or touching the other person. Battery occurs when a person causes bodily harm to another or purposely makes physical contact against the other person’s will.
Assault in Florida
Assault is defined by Florida Statue 784.011. It is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or acts to do harm to another person, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act that creates a well-founded fear in another person that such violence is imminent.
Aggravated assault, an enhanced type of assault charge, is defined by Florida Statue 784.012. It is considered aggravated if it is made with a deadly weapon or while committing a felony offense. The penalties are much more severe and may carry a minimum mandatory prison sentence.
A weapon is considered a deadly weapon if it is used or threatened to be used in a way likely to produce death or bodily harm. These weapons typically are knives, firearms, and motor vehicles.
Penalties for assault can range from a simple misdemeanor to a felony, depending on the severity of the assault.
- Second-degree misdemeanor
- Maximum penalty of 60 days in jail or 6 months of probation
- $500 fine
- Third-degree felony
- Maximum penalty of 5 years in prison or 5 years probation
- $5,000 fine
The court may impose additional sanctions such as anger management classes, counseling, no contact with the victim, and do not return.
Battery in Florida
When most people think of battery they picture punching and kicking resulting in bruising, bleeding, and broken bones. However, battery can be as simple as poking someone or spitting on them. To convict someone of battery the State only needs to show an intentional unwanted touching of another. Therefore, a battery can be proven despite a lack of injury or even a lack of violence.
The types of battery include:
- Misdemeanor Battery, Florida Statute 784.03;
- Domestic Battery by Strangulation, Florida Statute 784.041;
- Domestic Violence Battery, Florida Statute 741.28;
- Felony Battery, Florida Statute 784.041;
- Aggravated Battery, Florida Statute 784.045(1)(a) and
- Aggravated Battery on a Pregnant Person, Florida Statute 784.045 (1)(b).
Contact a Florida Assault and Battery Lawyer
If you are arrested for assault or battery, contact experienced criminal defense attorney Brandon Gans today for a free consultation.