In the state of Florida,
battery are addressed as separate charges, though the two do commonly go hand
in hand. A person commits assault by threatening violence or harm against
another person, whereas battery is the physical act itself. Because the
consequences of both assault and battery are so severe, it is important
to understand as much about violent crime charges as possible if you are
If you are facing charges of assault, you must be able to convince the
court that you had no intention of actually following through with the
alleged threats. Doing this will limit charges to assault, however, if
the court decides that you did plan to physically act, you risk facing
battery charges as well.
How is Assault Defined in Florida?
Florida law defines assault as the threat of harm against another person
in such a way that gives the person genuine reason to fear for his or
her well-being. Regardless of whether the violence is ever actually carried
out, the threat is the crime in an assault charge.
There are three different degrees of assault, each with its own set of
penalties the defendant may face if convicted.
Aggravated assault, or first-degree assault, is the most serious assault charge because it
means the defendant showed no regard for human life. This charge usually
involves the threat of harm with a deadly weapon, which is anything that
could be used to cause severe bodily harm. Aggravated assault charges
are felonies, and usually accompany battery charges where the victim was
severely injured. Lesser assault charges include
second-degree assault, which may still cover threat with the use of a weapon, and
third-degree assault, also called
simple assault. Third-degree assault is tried as a misdemeanor, as is second-degree,
in most cases.
Consequences of Committing Assault in Florida
Despite the fact that a person facing assault charges may have caused no
physical harm, the penalties can still be quite serious. A first-time
offender committing simple or second-degree assault will receive probation,
whereas a second-degree misdemeanor may receive 60 days in jail and up
to 6 months of probation. If convicted of aggravated assault, the person
will be faced with a third-degree
felony and could receive up to 5 years in prison. For aggravated assault with
a deadly weapon, the penalties are between 3 and 5 years in prison
The Legal Definition of Battery in Florida
Unlike assault, battery is the physical touching of another person in an
unlawful manner. This means the touching was harmful or offensive and
against the other person’s will. There are multiple different types
of battery charges a person may face in Florida, but the most essential
breakdown defines batter as either simple or aggravated.
Simple battery is a misdemeanor charge, and includes touching another person
painfully or offensively, such as punching them in the face, touching
inappropriately, etc.. A person commits aggravated battery for inflicting
serious bodily harm, usually in a life-threatening or life-altering way.
Injuries resulting in any of the following may result in aggravated battery charges:
- Extreme pain
- Loss of bodily function
- Permanent harm or disability
A person may also face sexual battery charges, which vary depending on
the type of harm inflicted, the severity, and if weapons were involved.
The Consequences of Committing Battery in Florida
The state laws in Florida are harsh when dealing with battery cases. A
first conviction will be treated as a misdemeanor and the defendant may
face up to 1 year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines, or probation. Subsequent
convictions may be charged as felony of the third degree, and may also
result in 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Aggravated battery
will be charged as a felony of the second degree and could result in a
maximum of 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
The penalties may be more severe if the individual harmed was pregnant,
family member, or public servant, such as a police officer, teacher or
firefighter. Because the penalties for either assault or battery are so
steep, it is crucial that you seek professional help to begin building
your legal defense to protect your future.
While this guide can help you understand the different charges you may
face, speaking with a lawyer about your individual case is vital. If you
are facing assault or battery charges in Florida, contact Owenby Law, P.A.
for a free initial consultation with our Jacksonville criminal defense