Fort Lauderdale Assault & Battery Lawyer

Defining the Difference Between Assault & Battery

Assault and battery are two separate offenses that are commonly mistaken as one crime; however, they have very different meanings under Florida law. The law explains that 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.

The different types of assault and battery charges in Florida include:

  • Simple battery
  • Aggravated battery
  • Sexual battery

They 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 still be charged with assault. Battery charges can only be waged in the event that unlawful physical contact took place. Depending on the specifics of the altercation, the resulting charges could also range from “simple” to "aggravated."

Impact of the Two Crimes in Florida

The penalties of either an assault or battery charge depends on the type of offense that was committed. If someone was hurt in the altercation, this will likely be taken into account.

  • Assault (second-degree misdemeanor): 60 days in jail & $500 fine
  • Battery (first-degree misdemeanor): 1 year in jail and $1,000 fine
  • Second Battery Offense (third-degree felony): 5 years in jail and $5,000 fine
  • Aggravated Assault (third-degree felony): 5 years in jail and $5,000 fine
  • Aggravated Battery (second-degree felony): 15 years in jail and $10,000 fine

Defining Aggravated Assault & Battery Offenses

Simple assault and battery may be charged as a misdemeanor. However, aggravated circumstances can result in a felony charge. For instance, Florida Statute § 784.021 states that an individual who commits assault with a deadly weapon with intent to commit a felony may be found guilty of "aggravated assault." Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony.

According to Florida Statute §784.041, an individual commits felony battery when he/she strikes another person and causes significant bodily harm. For instance, battery that leaves the victim with a serious or permanent disability. If the victim is left with a permanent disfigurement, the defendant will most likely be charged with felony battery instead of simple battery.

Factors Affecting a Domestic Battery by Strangulation Charge

The crime of "domestic battery by strangulation" is a third-degree felony in the state of Florida. In order to be convicted of domestic battery by strangulation, the defendant must intentionally inhibit someone else's ability to breathe by applying pressure to the victim's throat or neck. The victim must be a member of the defendant’s household, a relative, or a dating partner.

If you have been arrested for an assault or battery offense in Broward County, contact a Fort Lauderdale assault lawyer at Hager & Schwartz, P.A. today.
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