Assault and battery charges are something no one ever wants to have to face. Skilled defense attorneys will be able to help you navigate these tricky times, ensure your rights are protected, and help to mitigate the damages these charges can bring.
Defense attorneys in St. Petersburg, Russo, Pelletier, & Sullivan, outline below what assault and battery charges may look like and your best defenses against them.
What is the Difference between Assault and Battery in Florida Law?
Assault indicates a threat of physical harm that leads the victim to fear their well-being. The key here is that assault does not include physical contact between the person who made the threat and the allegedly threatened individual.
In Florida, there are two types of assault categories:
- Simple (misdemeanor) assault
- Aggravated (felony) assault
Simple assault is the less severe of the two and leads to penalties, such as up to 60 days jail time, as much as 6 months probation, and/or fines, depending on the actions committed.
Aggravated assault is the more serious of the two and includes a threat made with a deadly weapon. Not only must there be an intention to place the alleged victim in fear, but the threat must likewise involve a deadly weapon such as a knife or a firearm. Penalties for Aggravated Assault can range from jail up to 5 years prison and may also include probation and fines.
A Battery is defined in Florida law as an unwanted touching or striking of another person against that person’s will. As with assault charges, a battery may be a misdemeanor or a felony. There are numerous different circumstances that allow a battery to be charged as a felony, including the use of a weapon, the degree of injury, prior convictions for battery, the age of the alleged victim, or a domestic relationship between the parties where strangulation is alleged.
What are Defenses Against Assault and Battery?
One common defense against both assault and battery charges is that there was a lack of criminal intent. As stated above, intent is a significant component of any assault or battery charge. A judge or jury must believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the touching or striking was intentional. Thus, if the touching was accidental or unintentional, such a defense could be viable.
Other common defenses include self-defense, mistaken identity, mere negligence, or that both parties were engaged in “mutual combat.”
What Should I Do Next?
Remember, a charge is not a conviction. If you are charged with assault or battery in Florida, you need an aggressive defense team to help you know your rights, fight on your behalf, and mitigate sentencing as much as possible.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys, like Russo Pelletier & Sullivan in St. Petersburg, FL, have the knowledge and experience to provide you with a strong defense for the most favorable outcome.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.