In Florida, assault and battery are two different charges, even though you often hear them used together. In addition to these two charges, which are typically misdemeanors, more serious offenses include aggravated assault and aggravated battery are treated as felonies.
It is important to understand the difference between misdemeanor assault and battery charges and felony aggravated assault and battery charges. Due to the severity and degrees of assault and battery charges, it is advisable to seek legal counsel with criminal defense experience when charged with any of these crimes.
Assault and battery
Assault occurs when a threat of harm is issued to the victim, which then causes the victim to fear for his or her safety. There does not have to be any physical contact for an assault to occur.
During court proceedings, the prosecutor must be able to prove that there existed an intent to threaten the victim and that the victim believed a physical act of violence would then follow. In addition, the prosecutor must also be able to provide evidence that the alleged perpetrator made the threat using words or some kind of intimidating gesture.
In Florida, battery occurs when there is physical contact with the victim. In these cases, the prosecution must be able to prove that the defendant intentionally made violent contact with the victim and that it was done against the victim's will.
Aggravated assault and aggravated battery
Aggravated assault occurs when the threat is made with a deadly weapon, such as the brandishing of a gun or knife. Aggravated battery occurs when there is great bodily harm or permanent disfigurement done to the victim or if a deadly weapon is used to commit battery.
Simple assault is considered a second degree misdemeanor and can land the perpetrator in jail for up to 60 days along with a $500 fine.
Aggravated assault, a third degree felony, is punishable with a five year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine.
Simple battery is prosecuted as a first degree misdemeanor and carries up to a one year prison term and a $1,000 fine.
Aggravated battery is a second degree felony that carries a possible 15 year prison sentence and $10,000 in fines.
Assault and battery charges carry very tough penalties. If you have been charged with one of these offenses, it is important that you have an experienced defense attorney to protect your rights. Contact a local criminal defense attorney today to learn what options you have if facing these charges.