If you recently got into a verbal or physical altercation with another person, you might wind up surprised to find out they want to press charges. Perhaps it was simply an aggressive social altercation in which nothing really occurred. It's also possible that you both wound up hurt because of the fight, and you assumed that you both shared responsibility.
If you find yourself facing assault or battery charges after a hostile social interaction or physical fight, you have the right to defend yourself. Familiarizing yourself with the laws in Florida about assault and battery can help you determine if the charges in your case make sense and how best to defend yourself against them.
Assault involves the threat of violence
Many people conflate the meaning of assault with the meaning of battery. Assault under Florida law is effectively the act of verbally or non-verbally creating a fear of violence in another person. If you intentionally intimidate or threaten someone, that could lead to assault charges.
Assault could involve you threatening to cause harm by making outlandish statements to someone. Assault could also involve approaching someone menacingly or moving as though you intend to strike them. In some cases, even threats made online or through digital communication can produce assault charges.
When does assault become aggravated assault?
When you have a weapon in your hands at the time of an alleged assault, that could result in aggravated assault charges. Anything from basic tools to guns or knives could be considered deadly weapons in certain circumstances. Even a vehicle could be a deadly weapon if you the roll down the window and threaten to drive over someone.
You don't have to have a weapon in hand to face aggravated assault charges. Aggravated assault can also involve an assault that takes place during the commission of another crime. If you threaten someone because you are trying to flee the scene of a robbery, law enforcement and prosecutors could eventually charge you with aggravated assault.
Battery involves causing physical injury to another
Battery is the charge you face when you punch someone and break their nose or otherwise cause provable and serious injury to someone else. There has to be some degree of intent to cause harm in most battery cases.
The good news is that battery only occurs in situations where both parties don't consent to physical contact. If you and the other party engaged in a mutual fight, that may provide you with grounds to defend yourself against charges, particularly if the other person began the fight.
Talking about the specific circumstances of your alleged altercation with an attorney can help you explore the best options for defending yourself. The sooner you begin the plan, the better your chances of building a strong defense strategy.