Many people are confused when it comes to charges of assault and battery. Although it is common for a charge of assault to accompany a battery charge, a person can be charged with an assault and not a battery. If you have been charged with an assault, battery or both, speak to an experienced assault and battery defense attorney at Moses and Rooth.
The first thing necessary in trying to understand an assault charge is knowing the difference between assault and battery.
A person can be charged with an assault and not a battery because a person does not have to actually make contact with another person in order to be guilty of committing an assault upon another. An assault occurs when there is a threat of imminent violence, even when no contact occurs. Florida statute 784.011 defines an assault as the intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to another person, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in the other person that such violence is imminent. A threat alone of violence without contact can be enough to be charged with assault, unlike with battery. A person convicted of an assault is guilty of a second-degree misdemeanor. A second-degree misdemeanor can lead to a 60-day jail sentence.
A person may also be charged with an aggravated assault if a deadly weapon is used in the threat. An aggravated assault is an assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill or intent to commit a felony. An aggravated assault is classified as a third-degree felony and holds a sentence of five years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
Frequently, a charge of assault comes along with a battery charge, but they are not the same offense. In order to be charged with battery there must be more than a threat. There must be contact with another person by either the offender or an object the offender is using to make contact. Florida statute 784.03 defines a battery as the actual and intentional touching or striking of another person against the will of the other person or intentionally causing bodily harm to another person. A person convicted of a battery is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor. A first-degree misdemeanor can hold up to a one-year jail sentence.
Under Florida statute 784.045, a person commits an aggravated battery if the person intentionally or knowingly causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement while committing the battery, uses a deadly weapon, or the victim was pregnant at the time of the offense and the offender knew or should have known the victim was pregnant. If convicted of an aggravated battery a person is guilty of a second-degree felony and faces up to 15 years in prison.
Both assault and battery are serious charges that can hold severe punishment. If you have been arrested for assault, battery, or both contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys of Moses and Rooth in Florida for an explanation of the charges and options for your defense.