What is the Difference Between Assault and Battery Under Florida Law?
Assault and battery are common criminal offenses that are easy to confuse. In fact, some people think that the two terms are interchangeable, and that they mean the same thing. While assault and battery are similar crimes in some respects, they are distinct and separate crimes under Florida law, with different consequences for those who commit them.
Assault and Florida Law
Under Florida law, assault occurs when you take action to create an imminent, well-founded fear in another person that you are going to cause violence to him or her. Assault can occur by words or by physical action, but your threat of violence must be both unlawful and intentional. Also referred to as simple assault, this criminal offense is a misdemeanor of the second degree under Florida law. As a result, potential consequences for an assault conviction include payment of a fine up to $500, a jail sentence of up to 60 days, and a period of probation of up to six months.
Certain circumstances may make a simple assault into the more serious crime of aggravated assault. In order to commit aggravated assault under Florida law, you must commit assault while using a deadly weapon, but do so without the intent to kill or within the commission of a felony act. Aggravated assault is a felony of the third degree, which can result in a maximum $5,000 fine, a period of probation, and five years in prison. Assault also may become a criminal offense with more serious consequences if your actions involve stalking, violating a protective restraining order, lewd and lascivious acts, burglary, theft, robbery, or if your victim is a minor or an individual who is 65 years of age or older.
Battery and Florida Law
You can commit the crime of battery under Florida law if you intentionally touch or strike another person against his or her will, or if you intentionally cause bodily harm to another. Only minimal physical contact needs to occur to constitute a battery. For a first battery offense, you will face up to a $1,000 fine and up to 12 months of jail time or probation, as battery in this situation is classified as a misdemeanor of the first degree.
Aggravated battery, however, is a much more serious crime under Florida law. If you intentionally or knowingly cause great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement, use a deadly weapon while committing the battery, or know, or should have known, that the victim was pregnant, you commit aggravated battery, which is a felony of the second degree. A conviction for this type of criminal offense under Florida law may result in a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 15 years of probation or prison time.
Contact Salazar & Kelly Law Group, P.A., Today
Criminal offenses such as assault and battery can have very serious consequences under Florida law, and a conviction for such an offense can negatively impact many aspects of your life for years to come. If you or a loved one is charged with this type of offense, or any other type of crime, you need to contact the Kissimmee assault and battery lawyers of Salazar & Kelly Law Group, P.A. right away. We are here to protect your rights if you are accused of this or any criminal offense, but the earlier we become involved in your case, the better off you will be. Call us today or contact us by filling out our online form.