Florida Statute 784.011 – Assault
(1) An “assault” is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent. (2) Whoever commits an assault shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
Assault is somewhat straightforward. In order to prove assault, the State must show that (a) you intended to place someone in fear of imminent contact, whether harmful or unwanted; (b) that fear must be imminent, as in right away. Threats for the future or in the next few minutes don’t fall under this statute.; (c) that the person actually felt the apprehension of that imminent and unwanted/harmful contact.
That’s all there is to it. The law itself is pretty straight forward in what is required. People often confuse Battery with Assault in that they believe there needs to actually be physical contact to prove Assault. However, that is not true. Assault is the crime relating to people feeling like they are about to be harmed or touched inappropriately. For example, someone swings a punch at another person and misses. If the person saw the punch coming and dodged the punch the puncher would be charged with Assault. If the puncher actually hit the guy with the punch he would be charged with Battery. Sometimes in the latter example he’d actually be charged with both.
Assault ranges from Misdemeanor to Felony depending on what was used to carry out the assault. For example, you attempt to punch someone and miss, that’s a misdemeanor assault. You point a gun at someone and tell them you are going to shoot them, that’s a felony assault.
If you have any specific questions about Assault and what the State is required to prove, call experienced criminal defense lawyers in Orlando, Smith & Eulo Law Firm.