According to Florida state law 784.011, “Assault” is defined as any actions or words that indicate the intentional threat to cause harm to a person. If the victim believes that they are in danger of violence or injury due to an assailant’s behavior and statements, that is assault. Even if there is no actual contact, but the victim fears for their immediate safety, charges of assault apply. For instance, if the assailant threatens to hurt the victim with a knife, the offense is considered assault even if they don’t use it.
On the other hand, “Battery” is defined in Statute 784.03 as actual unwanted physical contact where the offender inflicts an injury, regardless of whether a weapon was used in the attack.
Contact an Ocala Assault and Battery Crimes Lawyer
Both assault and battery charges carry penalties like fines and incarceration. If you hope to get a robust defense in court, you must immediately get in touch with an experienced Ocala assault and battery crimes lawyer. The skilled team at Smith & Eulo will review the facts and evidence of the case and devise a defensive strategy to present in court.
Possible defense arguments include proving that the incident was an accident or that there was no intent to evoke fear. Your lawyers might also argue that the victim permitted contact or that the perceived threat was a prank. Additionally, if the act was committed in self-defense or to protect a third person or their property, the charges could be dismissed.
Possible Assault Penalties
When assault cases are tried in court, prosecutors and defense attorneys may argue the technical details of the incident. For instance, whether a charge involving sexual assault, a mugging, or a bar fight can be categorized as a felony or misdemeanor offense. Assault charges can be either simple assault or aggravated assault, and penalties increase accordingly.
An attack where the assailant does not use any weapons is termed as a simple assault. The victim might suffer minor injuries, but there is no actual harm or significant trauma like broken bones and missing teeth. Typical penalties are awarded similar to second degree misdemeanor and may include a fine of up to $500 and from 60 days to 12 months incarceration.
When the assailant uses a weapon to inflict serious harm on the victim, that is deemed aggravated assault. Possible injuries that constitute serious harm may include missing teeth, broken bones, loss of consciousness, or internal injuries. The offense is considered a third degree felony, and penalties can include a fine of up to $500 and a maximum of five years in prison.
Assault can also be verbal, where the assailant causes mental, emotional, and psychological harm to the victim using oral communication. Typical penalties can range from a jail term of six months to a year for this misdemeanor charge.
Possible Battery Penalties
When the assailant intentionally touches or strikes the victim against their will and inflicts body injury, the offense is termed a battery. This offense carries penalties similar to a first degree misdemeanor. If the defendant harms the victim or instigates an offensive act, the prosecutor can argue battery charges.
When the perpetrator touches or strikes the victim against their consent with the intent of injury, the charges carry penalties of up to one year in prison and a maximum $1,000 fine. Typically, the injuries are not life-threatening and may include swollen lips, cuts, bruising, and black eyes.
If the attack results in severe bodily harm to the victim, the offense is considered a second degree felony. The penalties can include up to 15 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. The assailant likely uses a deadly weapon to inflict harm, and their actions result in permanent disability or permanent disfigurement. The charges are considered more severe if the victim is pregnant.
Any attacks where the assailant inflicts serious bodily harm on the victim regardless of whether the act was intentional is a felony battery. The charges are third degree felony and carry punishments of up to a five-year prison term and/a fine of a maximum of $5,000. Such offenses typically result in permanent disability or disfigurement.
Any crime that is sexual in nature, including acts such as molestation and rape, is sexual battery. Touching the victim without their consent in any offensive or disrespectful way or forcing the victim into a sexual act is punishable with 15 to 20 years in prison.
Facing Assault or Battery Charges? Get Skilled Criminal Representation
Assault and battery charges and applicable penalties depend on individual situations and vary according to the facts of the case. If you’re facing these charges, your best chance at getting the charges waived is working with the skilled Ocala criminal defense attorneys at Smith & Eulo. With more than 20 years’ experience navigating the Florida judicial system, the lawyers can help you get the minimum penalties or possibly a dismissal. Trust in their expertise for an effective defense.