Fort Lauderdale Assault & Battery Lawyer
the Difference Between Assault & Battery
Assault and battery are two separate criminal offenses that have 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.
The different types of assault and battery charges in Florida include:
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. 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 and $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
- Felony battery (second-degree felony): 15 years in jail and $10,000 fine
Potential Defenses Against an Assault Charge
In order to secure an assault conviction, a prosecutor must prove that what occurred was intentional on the part of the defendant. It must further be established that the defendant clearly threatened the victim through words or other actions and was capable of turning these threats into actual violence. These requirements open the door to a number of defenses that can be used by the accused.
An attorney can challenge the various aspects of an assault charge, which can lead to a lessening of the penalties or even a dismissal of the case. Defense lawyers provide representation and advice throughout the process in order to obtain the best possible outcome for your potential case. It is for these and other reasons why those charged with assault should contact Hager & Schwartz, P.A.
Aggravated Assault Definition & Penalties
Simple assault and battery may be charged as misdemeanors. However, aggravated circumstances can result in felony charges. 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."
As the name implies, aggravated assault is a simple assault crime that includes the presence of an aggravating factor. The most common is the use of a deadly weapon in the commission of the crime, such as a gun, knife, or blunt instrument. However, aggravated assault does not include intent to kill.
Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony, which means those convicted can face up to five years in prison or five years’ probation plus a fine of up to $5,000. Because of the serious nature of this crime, even first-time offenders will very likely receive jail time as a part of their sentence if convicted.
Felony Battery Definition & Penalties
Assault is the threat of committing violence against someone, whereas battery involves actual physical contact. However, it’s 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 Statute § 784.041, an individual commits felony battery when he or she strikes another person and causes significant bodily harm, or uses a deadly weapon in the commission of the crime. For example, battery that leaves the victim with a serious or permanent disability.
Domestic Battery by Strangulation
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 their throat or neck. Additionally, the victim must be a member of the defendant’s household, a relative, or a dating partner.
Call Hager & Schwartz 24/7 for a Free Review
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 who are convicted. If you were arrested for assault or battery, you should act quickly and start assembling your defense as soon as possible.
At Hager & Schwartz, P.A., we know how intimidating and stressful being caught up in the criminal justice system can be, especially for first-time offenders. We are powerful and experienced allies who have years of experience putting the law to work for our clients. Our goal is to help you obtain a successful outcome so you can 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 or Broward County, contact Hager & Schwartz, P.A. We’re available 24/7!