Assault & Battery
Assault and battery are commonly said together as though they are one crime, but there are actually two separate offenses – one of assault and another of battery. An incident might involve both an assault and a battery, and people who get arrested in these situations are likely to be charged separately with both offenses.
It’s important to know the distinctions between assault and battery and what is required to prove a case against a person charged with these crimes. Florida criminal statutes define every offense, and every element of a given offense must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt before a person can be convicted of the charged offense.
An experienced criminal defense attorney will pay close attention to every offense charged and every element involved. There may be many defenses available that raise a reasonable doubt about a given element, such as whether the specific act occurred or whether the required level of intent was present. Also, the police might have made mistakes by arresting the wrong person, effecting an unlawful arrest without probable cause, or conducting a custodial interrogation without first reading a person their “Miranda rights.”
If you’ve been arrested for assault or battery or both, you could be looking at costly misdemeanor or felony charges and serious jail or prison time, along with a criminal record that can impact your job, your housing opportunities, your credit, and your standing in the community. Help is available by contacting a criminal defense attorney. Your defense attorney is knowledgeable about your rights and is committed to getting you the best result when you are charged with a crime. Depending on the circumstances, a good result might be getting the charges dropped or reduced, getting the case dismissed, securing a not guilty verdict at trial, or negotiating a plea that ends in probation instead of jail time.
Get help with assault and battery charges in Florida by calling Meldon Law at 800-373-8000 and discussing your case with an experienced and successful Florida criminal defense attorney who will fight for you and won’t back down.
What is the Difference Between Assault and Battery in Florida?
Here is a look at some of the offenses defined as assault and battery in Florida. Remember that it is the prosecutor’s job to prove every element of the charged offense beyond a reasonable doubt before you can be convicted of the crime.
An assault as defined by Florida law contains the following elements:
- an intentional,
- unlawful threat
- by word or act to do violence to the person of another,
- coupled with an apparent ability to do so,
- and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.
Assault is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and up to $500 in fines.
Aggravated assault involves the following elements:
- an assault (as defined above)
- with a deadly weapon without intent to kill or
- with intent to commit a felony.
Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
The elements of battery are:
- actually and intentionally
- striking another person
- against their will; or
- intentionally causing bodily harm to another person.
Battery is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable with up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Aggravated battery requires proving:
- intentionally or knowingly
- causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement; or
- using a deadly weapon.
A battery on a pregnant woman is also an aggravated battery if the actor knew or should have known the woman was pregnant.
Aggravated battery is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
A simple battery can also become a felony battery if the actor has a prior conviction for battery, aggravated battery or felony battery. In this case, the battery can be charged as a third-degree felony instead of a first-degree misdemeanor. A prior “conviction” includes a guilty plea or a plea of no contest to the battery charge.
Other offenses found in the chapter of Florida laws covering assault and battery include:
- Sexual cyberharassment
- Misuse of laser lighting devices
- Assault or battery on a law enforcement officer, public transit employee, health services personnel, detention facility staff, code inspectors, and other listed occupations
- Assault or battery on persons 65 years or older
- Repeat violence
- Sexual violence
- Dating violence
Help Is Available to Deal With Assault & Battery Charges in Florida
Common defenses to assault and battery charges include self-defense, defense of others, defense of property, and lack of intent, as well as police procedural errors such as unlawful arrest or coerced confessions. Start by talking to a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney who can look at the facts of the case and advise you of your options. At Meldon Law, we’ll put our years of experience as both prosecutors and defense attorneys to work for you and help you get the best result when you are facing criminal charges. If you’ve been charged with assault or battery in Florida, call Meldon Law to review your case with a team of skilled and dedicated Florida criminal defense attorneys.