Assault and Battery

Assault and Battery Lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, FL

What Is the Difference Between Assault and Battery in Florida?

Assault and battery are two separate crimes with very different meanings under Florida law. Assault is defined as an intentional threat to commit an act of violence – enough so that the person feels like they are in danger.

Battery is defined as the intentional but unlawful touching of someone else. This could include causing physical harm or carrying out unwanted sexual advances.

Assault and battery are different in that the actual circumstances of an altercation can lead to one type of charge over the other. If someone threatened to hurt another person but didn’t – even though they intended to – they may be charged with assault. Battery charges can only be wages when unlawful physical contact took place. Depending on the nature of the offense, the resulting charges could also be levied as “simple” or “aggravated.”

Assault and battery charges in Florida include:

  • Simple assault
  • Aggravated assault
  • Simple battery
  • Felony battery
  • Domestic battery by strangulation
  • Aggravated battery
  • Sexual battery

Whatever charge you are facing, contact Hager & Schwartz, P.A. at (954) 840-8713 to discuss your case with a Fort Lauderdale assault and battery lawyer.

Simple Assault and Battery – Misdemeanor or Felony in Fort Lauderdale?

Because assault and battery are treated differently under Florida law, it is appropriate to discuss the potential degree of charges for each offense separately.

In Florida, simple assault – threatening to harm someone – is a second-degree misdemeanor. Assault only reaches the felony level when it is an aggravated offense. Then it is a third-degree felony.

Simple battery is also a misdemeanor. However, because the crime is considered more serious than simple assault – simple battery involves actual physical contact with another person – it is a higher grade of a misdemeanor – a first-degree misdemeanor.

Note that simple battery can be charged as a third-degree felony when it is a person’s second or subsequent violation. Battery can also be charged at the felony level when a person violates the felony battery/domestic battery by strangulation law (third-degree felony) or the aggravated battery law (second-degree felony).

Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense, it is crucial that you speak with one of our assault and battery attorneys in Fort Lauderdale immediately. A conviction at either level can severely impact your life, and we are ready to fight toward a favorable outcome on your behalf.

What Is Considered Simple Assault in Florida?

Under Florida Statutes § 784.011, simple assault occurs when a person threatens to cause harm to another individual. The threat can be made by words or actions and the alleged offender can likely follow through with it. Additionally, the alleged victim must believe that they are in immediate danger of the threatened violence.

Simple assault is a second-degree misdemeanor.

What Is Considered Aggravated Assault in Fort Lauderdale, Florida?

Simple assault may be charged as a misdemeanor. However, when aggravated circumstances are present, felony charges can result. Florida Statutes § 784.021 states that an individual who commits aggravated assault may be found guilty of a felony.

Aggravated assault involves committing assault with:

  • A deadly weapon but without intent to kill, or
  • Intent to commit a felony

The most common assault with a deadly weapon offenses involve a gun, a knife, or a blunt instrument during the commission of the crime.

Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony. Because of the serious nature of the offense, even first-time offenders will very likely receive imprisonment as a part of their sentence if convicted.

What Is Considered Simple Battery in Florida?

As mentioned before, simple battery involves making unwanted physical contact with another person.

Florida Statutes § 784.03 defines the offense as:

  • Actually and intentionally touching or striking someone else without their consent, or
  • Intentionally physically harming someone else

Simple battery is a first-degree misdemeanor.

What Is Considered Felony Battery in Fort Lauderdale, FL?

Assault is the threat of committing violence against someone, whereas battery involves actual physical contact. However, it is important to note that this does not include “mutual combat,” or instances where two people commit battery against each other while willingly engaging in an altercation.

According to Florida Statutes § 784.041, an individual commits felony battery when they:

  • Strike another person against their will and
  • Cause significant bodily injury or permanent disfigurement or disability

Felony battery is a third-degree felony.

What Is Domestic Battery by Strangulation in Florida?

In Florida, domestic battery by strangulation is a third-degree felony. To be convicted of this crime, the defendant must have intentionally inhibited someone else’s ability to breathe by applying pressure to their throat or neck. Additionally, the victim must be the defendant’s family or household member or a dating partner.

What Constitutes Aggravated Battery in Florida?

In Florida, aggravated battery involves causing great bodily harm or permanent disfigurement or disability to another person. The offense is also committed if the alleged offender used a deadly weapon during a battery offense. (Florida Statutes § 784.045)

Aggravated battery is a second-degree felony.

Penalties for Assault and Battery Crimes in Florida

The punishments for either assault or battery depend on the offense committed.

Below are the potential conviction penalties for each crime:

  • Simple assault (second-degree misdemeanor):
    • Up to 60 days in jail and/or
    • Up to $500 in fines
  • Aggravated assault (third-degree felony):
    • Up to 5 years in prison and/or
    • Up to $5,000 in fines
  • Battery (first-degree misdemeanor):
    • Up to 1 year in jail and/or
    • Up to $1,000 in fines
  • Second battery offense (third-degree felony):
    • Up to 5 years in prison and/or
    • Up to $5,000 in fines
  • Felony battery/domestic battery by strangulation (third-degree felony):
    • Up to 5 years in prison and/or
    • Up to $5,000 in fines
  • Aggravated battery (second-degree felony):
    • Up to 15 years in prison and/or
    • Up to $10,000 in fines

An assault or battery conviction can ruin your life. Aside from potential incarceration and fines, you will also have a criminal record and a social stigma that can hurt personal and professional relationships and affect your ability to re-enter society after you have completed your sentence.

At Hager & Schwartz, P.A., our Fort Lauderdale assault and battery lawyers are prepared to do what it takes to seek the best possible outcome on your behalf.

Potential Defenses Against an Assault Charge in Fort Lauderdale, FL

Our Fort Lauderdale assault and battery lawyers can challenge various aspects of an assault charge, which can lead to a reduction in penalties or even a dismissal of the case. Our defense lawyers can provide representation and advice throughout the process to seek an optimal result for you.


One of, if not the most common defense to assault and battery charges is to demonstrate that you acted out of self-defense. If you were put in a situation where you felt you or another person were in danger due to the actions of the alleged victim, you could have your charges dropped.

A Lack of Evidence

The second most common defense to these charges is to prove that there is no compelling evidence to support the claims made by the victim. To obtain an assault conviction, a prosecutor must prove that the defendant acted intentionally. They must further establish that the defendant clearly threatened the victim through words or actions and was capable of turning these threats into actual violence. These requirements open the door to several defenses that the accused can use.

Call Us for an immediate Review of Your Fort Lauderdale Assault or Battery Case

Violent crimes, like assault and battery, are some of the most heavily prosecuted offenses in Florida. Because of their particularly egregious and offensive nature, it is not uncommon for prosecutors to seek the harshest possible penalties for offenders. If you were arrested for assault or battery, act quickly, and start assembling your defense as soon as possible.

At Hager & Schwartz, P.A., our Fort Lauderdale assault and battery attorneys know how intimidating and stressful it can be to be caught up in the criminal justice system, especially for first-time offenders. We are powerful and experienced allies with years of experience putting our skills and resources to work for our clients. Our goal is to pursue a favorable outcome, allowing you to put your charges behind you and move on with your life.

If you have been arrested for an assault or battery offense in Fort Lauderdale, FL, contact Hager & Schwartz, P.A. at (954) 840-8713 today. We’re available 24/7!

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