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What is Assault and Battery?

Because they are frequently referred to together, many people think of assault and battery as the same thing. In fact, they are two separate crimes. Depending on the circumstances, you may be charged with either one or both. Here are the basics.

Assault

Contrary to what you may believe, no physical contact is required to commit assault, let alone any injury. An assault is simply a credible threat to harm someone. Under Florida’s assault statute, proving assault requires the following:

  • a threat to do violence;
  • the apparent ability to do violence; and
  • the commission of some act creating a well-founded fear in the victim.

Merely threatening someone is not enough to commit assault. Consider these examples:

  • If you obviously do not have a gun and threaten to shoot someone, that is not assault.
  • If you do not have a gun but conceal your hand in your pocket to create the impression that you do, threaten to shoot someone, and lunge towards them, that could be assault.

Simple assault, which is an assault without a deadly weapon, is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six days in prison or a $500 fine. A charge of aggravated assault requires use of a deadly weapon without the intent to kill, or assault with the intent to commit a felony. Aggravated assault is a third degree felony and carries more severe penalties. Moreover, if the person assaulted is a special victim under the law, such as a police officer or other public official, the crime is more serious and the potential punishment greater.

Battery

Battery does require physical contact, but not necessarily physical injury. Florida law requires the following:

  • actually and intentionally touching or striking a person against his or her will; or
  • intentionally causing bodily harm to another person.

The intent to strike or to harm is central to a battery charge. Like simple assault, simple battery is a misdemeanor, unless the accused has a prior conviction for battery. In that case, simple battery is a felony charge.

Aggravated battery occurs when the person who commits the battery:

  • intentionally or knowingly causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement;
  • uses a deadly weapon; or
  • knew or should have known that the victim was pregnant.

Aggravated battery is a felony. As with assault, committing battery on a special victim increases the severity of the charge and the penalties.

Consult an Orlando assault and battery attorney

Assault and battery charges are serious, and can have a significant impact on your future, in addition to subjecting you to possible jail time and other penalties. If you are facing charges like these, you need a lawyer who will go the extra mile for your defense. The experienced Orlando and Miami attorneys of The Baez Law Firm can do that and more. Contact The Baez Law Firm for a consultation today.

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