People often reference assault and battery together. However, the two charges are distinct in Florida.
The difference could mean facing different penalties or changing one’s legal defense. Understanding the distinction can be helpful.
What makes for an assault charge?
Florida defines an assault as someone who intentionally threatens another with harm. The threat cannot be empty or unrealistic. The individual must have the apparent ability to commit the act. A credible threat of violence creates a reasonable and well-founded fear in the other party.
An example of assault could be a person holding a fist up to another’s face and insinuating the possibility of attack. Though no physical altercation occurred, the court might classify this incident as an assault.
Aggravated assault is more severe. This charge involves a threat with a deadly weapon. Simple assault is a misdemeanor that can bring up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Aggravated assault is a felony that can result in five years in jail and a $5,000 fine.
What is a battery charge?
Battery involves physical contact with another person. The attacker commits the action without consent and intends to cause bodily harm. A battery charge would involve hitting or even spitting on another person.
Aggravated battery involves using a deadly weapon or harming a pregnant person. This charge could also arise if the injured party experienced permanent disability or disfigurement.
Simple battery is a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida that might incur one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Aggravated battery can bring 10 years and a $10,000 penalty.
Conviction of assault and battery charges can change a person’s life. Understanding the accusations and proving intent is often vital to a case.