Are you currently facing charges for assault and battery?
While your first reaction might be to panic, it doesn’t need to be this way. Smith & Eulo Law Firm’s experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys are here to help.
As Jacksonville, Florida’s top criminal defense law firm, our assault and battery lawyers can help you craft a winning defense.
This means getting a “not guilty” verdict where possible or reducing your sentence to its minimum.
Defending yourself starts now, so get in touch with our office today and let’s get to work on your defense.
But while you do this, we also recommend you educate yourself on the charges you face and what’s to come.
What is Assault and Battery?
We usually hear assault and battery spoken together as one thing. But in the eyes of the law, they are two different concepts. Here’s everything you need to know about these legal terms:
Assault: The Intention to Do Violence
According to the Florida statutes, assault is the threat — either by word or act — of committing violence against another person. To be charged, you must have the ability to carry out your threat, and the other person must have a “well founded” fear of violence.
However, to be convicted, the government must prove — beyond a reasonable doubt — your intention to commit these acts, as well as your ability to do so.
For example, saying you’re going to run someone over with your car could be assault if you’re sitting angrily in your vehicle after someone rear ended you. You have a clear intention, and the other person has a legitimate reason to fear violence against them.
On the other hand, saying you’re going to drop a bomb on your neighbor’s house if they don’t mow their lawn probably won’t lead to charges.
While still not a nice thing to say, most people can’t conduct an airstrike on their neighbors. Therefore, the threat of violence is not imminent, and your neighbor’s fear is not “well founded.”
Of course, things are never quite this simple. So, our job as your assault and battery lawyers is to understand your intentions at the time of the incident. From there, we can craft a case that stands the best chance of holding up in court.
Aggravated Assault: Assault with a Deadly Weapon
In general, assault is the “less serious” of the assault and battery duo. But this isn’t always true.
Aggravated assault is assault with a deadly weapon. Again, it’s still just a threat. But it’s more serious, and the state of Florida considers it a felony.
To give you an example, holding someone up with a gun or a knife would be considered aggravated assault. Even if you had no real intention of using the weapon in question, simply by taking it out and threatening harm you may have committed a felony.
Battery: Assault in Action
Battery occurs when someone inflicts physical harm on another person. In other words, the threat stops being just a threat and becomes real.
Again, intent is a major part of this crime, but battery is different from assault in that the act actually happened.
In Florida, battery is a third-degree felony.
Possible Punishments for Assault and Battery in Florida
Assault is a “misdemeanor of the second degree” in the state of Florida. This means that if you’re found guilty you could go to jail for up to six months or be forced to pay a fine of up to $500.
Aggravated assault, as well as battery, are classified as third degree felonies. If convicted, you could face up to five years in jail or up to a $5,000 fine.
Should you be found guilty of these charges, your specific sentence can vary considerably. This is why it’s so important to choose the best assault and battery lawyer you can find. If we can’t avoid conviction, we can help you negotiate the best possible sentence.
Civil vs. Criminal Charges
While assault and battery are criminal charges, this is not the only way victims can pursue their version of justice. They can also file civil charges (meaning they can sue you) to help recoup damages from the incident.
They may do this to help cover:
- Medical expenses resulting from the incident
- Lost wages/jobs because of the incident
- Loss of earning capacity
- Psychological damages
In most cases, your civil defense is just as important as your criminal defense. This is because victims will often file both suits at the same time. Or, they will wait until the outcome of the criminal trial and, if they don’t like the verdict, will bring civil charges.
Either way, it’s important to know that your legal troubles don’t always end when your criminal trial is over. A not-guilty verdict does not protect you from a civil suit.
In fact, civil charges are quite common in assault cases. Intent is often hard to prove, so victims tend to pursue a civil case after the criminal proceedings end.
A good defense in an assault and battery case — like the one Smith & Eulo Law Firm will provide — must address the possibility of both a criminal and civil trial.
Why Do You Need an Assault & Battery Lawyer?
Hiring a professional legal defense team when charged with a crime or some other wrongdoing is always a good idea.
The law is confusing, as are court proceedings. Navigating all of this on your own will sacrifice the quality of your defense and make conviction more likely.
Things are no different when it comes to assault and battery cases.
As you can see, there is a fair bit of gray area in these matters. Each case is entirely unique.
Only by working with an experienced assault and battery defense attorney can you construct a winning case.
What Should You Do if You’re Charged with Assault and Battery?
The first thing to do if facing assault and battery charges is to contact a criminal defense attorney.
From there, your lawyer will help you navigate the booking process, negotiate bail conditions, and plan for your arraignment, as well as start preparing your defense.
If you’re dealing with a civil case, you will have 30 days to either deny or accept the charges. But, again, the first thing you should always do is contact an attorney.
The Best Assault and Battery Lawyers in Jacksonville, Florida
Our 25+ years of experience dealing with assault and battery cases in Florida makes our team at Smith & Eulo uniquely capable of handling your case.
Our number one goal is to help you craft the best possible defense so that you can achieve the best possible result in court.
No other team of Jacksonville-based assault and battery lawyers can match our level of commitment and service to clients. So, while this may be a difficult time, don’t worry. We’re here to help.
Give us a call today and let’s get to work building your defense. Here are some additional legal resources in the Jacksonville area to help you navigate your legal situation.