Florida state law makes a clear distinction between the terms, “assault” and “battery.” Statute 784.011 defines “Assault” as a threat that leads to the victim believing that they can be harmed. There is no actual physical contact required. The threat can be in the form of action, gestures, or words. Furthermore, an assault is the threat of unlawful intention of immediate harm. The victim must believe that the defender is capable of hurting them.
“Battery” is defined as making unwanted physical contact or inflicting an injury, with or without a weapon. An assault is typically a second degree misdemeanor, but depending on the situation, the crime can become battery—and a felony. For instance, if the perpetrator was holding a gun and threatening to shoot, that is an assault and battery, even if the gun did not actually go off.
Contact Your Daytona Beach Assault & Battery Crimes Lawyer is Critical
If you’re facing charges of assault or battery, get in touch with your attorney right away. Such charges carry severe penalties depending on the nature of the situation. Your experienced lawyers will study the facts of the case and gather the necessary evidence. Proving that the incident was an accident or that there was no real intention of harming the victim are possible defenses. For instance, the perception of a threat which was actually a prank. You can also prove that the action perceived as assault was done in self-defense or a part of protecting another person or property.
Penalties Vary According to the Types of Assault
Florida state prosecutors make distinctions according to the types of assault and battery. Penalties and punishments are given depending on the nature of the crime.
A simple assault is a physical attack where the defender does not use weapons. The victim may receive minor injuries but no serious harm. Penalties typically include a fine of up to $500 and between 60 days and a one-year jail term. These are the options awarded for a second degree misdemeanor.
Verbal assault is defined as the act of causing emotional, mental, and psychological harm to a victim using spoken communication. The charges are usually a misdemeanor and carry penalties of a jail term ranging from 6 months to one year.
Penalties Vary According to the Types of Battery
If the victim has been harmed, with injuries like bruising, black eyes, cuts, and swollen lips, that’s a simple battery. The injuries are serious but not life-threatening. The judge may rule a first degree misdemeanor and award a one-year jail term along with fines of up to $1,000. Touching the victim without their consent with the intent of causing harm or physical injury is also battery.
When the defender uses a weapon and inflicts serious harm on the victim, that is aggravated assault. The victim suffers an actual physical attack that results in broken bones, unconsciousness, lost teeth, or internal injuries. The injuries may result in permanent disability or permanent disfigurement. Such crimes are considered second degree felonies and offenders may get punishments including a fine with a maximum of $10,000 and a 15-year prison term. The charges are more serious if the victim is pregnant.
Sexual battery can be any crime of a sexual nature, including molestation or rape. Different states have their own penalties and definitions, but the typical charges are a felony with a maximum sentence of 15 to 20 years in prison. Florida law defines this type of battery as the act of touching the victim in an offensive or disrespectful manner or forcibly subjecting the victim to a sexual act without their consent.
Any injuries where the victim suffers grievous harm with a permanent disability and/or permanent disfigurement is a third degree felony battery. Penalties may include fines of up to $5,000 and a 5-year prison term. The charges apply even if the defendant did not intend to hurt the victim.
Proving an Assault Charge
When filing charges for an assault, the prosecutors build a case proving that the defendant intended to threaten the victim with words or actions. The charges must also prove that the victim was certain that the offender intended to and had the ability to harm them. The intent to harm should be imminent and the actions or words could also include offensive or disrespectful behavior.
Proving a Battery Charge
Battery charges typically include the intent to cause harm by touching or striking. The actions are conducted without the consent of the victim and the minimum penalty would be for first degree misdemeanor charges. Prosecutors must also prove that the defendant physically touched or used force on the victim to hurt.
Assault & Battery Charges and Penalties Depend on Individual Situations
If you’ve been charged with assault and battery under Florida law, you absolutely need experienced representation from experienced Daytona Beach criminal defense attorneys who are familiar with the judicial system. Do keep in mind that the penalties will also depend on whether you have a past record of similar behavior. The lawyers at Smith & Eulo have been working for more than 20 years handling similar cases. They are not only familiar with the prosecutors, but they are also conversant with the functioning of the courts.
Trust in the defense strategies provided by competent lawyers that safeguard your rights in court and ensure you have the best chance of getting the charges dismissed entirely or have the minimum penalties awarded.