Assault and battery charges are common offenses in the State of Florida, both of which are serious criminal charges that could lead to substantial penalties if convicted. For this reason, if you’ve been charged with either offense, it is imperative to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Here we take a closer look at assault and battery charges, how they differ, the penalties associated with each and best defense practices.
Types of Assault and Battery Charges
Simple assault (a.k.a. misdemeanor assault) is a second-degree misdemeanor defined as the “intentional and unlawful threat by word or act to commit violence against another person; with the apparent ability to carry through with the threat at the time it was made, and the threat created a genuine fear in the intended victim that the violence was imminent.” An example of assault would be if you tried to punch a person and missed. Simple assault is punishable by up to 60 days in county jail and fines up to $500.
Aggravated assault is the same as simple assault, but worse and considered a third-degree felony. For the charges to be aggravated, the threat must have been made with a deadly weapon (knife, firearm, car or anything that could be used to result in death or significant bodily harm) or coupled with the intent to kill. The applicable punishments for aggravated assault are a maximum of five years in prison and fines up to $5,000.
Simple battery (a.k.a. misdemeanor battery) is a first-degree misdemeanor and defined as the “unlawful touching or striking of another person against that persons will.” This charge can be as minor as touching another person, even if that person was not injured or hurt. If convicted, simple battery is punishable by up to one year in county jail and/or one year of probation and fines up to $1,000.
This charge involves the touching or striking of a person against that person’s will that unintentionally causes great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement to the other person. This is a felony of the third degree and punishable by up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. *If the victim of battery is a police officer, EMT, firefighter or probation officer, it would be considered a felony battery charge even if the act was “simple battery.” Felony battery charges also apply to a second offense battery charge.
Aggravated battery occurs when the person committing battery uses a deadly weapon, intentionally causes great bodily harm or commits battery on a pregnant female. This is the most serious of battery charges and punishable by a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Defenses to Assault & Battery
An aggressive defense to assault and battery starts well before the courtroom, which is why hiring a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney is vital to the outcome of your case. At Stechschulte Nell, we have represented hundreds of clients facing assault and battery charges. Some of the more common defenses used include:
- Self Defense – This is when a defendant’s use of force against another is justified as a means of defending himself or herself. It also applies to a person’s defense of another as a means of protection.
- Intent – To be convicted of an assault or battery charge, there must be proof of intent. Without intent, the case could be dismissed due to “lack of intent.”
- Florida “Stand Your Ground” Law – This provides a defendant immunity from prosecution if that person was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked by another. He or she has the right to stand his or her ground and meet with force (including deadly force) if it was necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another to prevent a forcible felony from occurring.
In Our Experience…
Battery Case: State of Florida v. CW Client was charged with battery and was looking at up to 1 year in county jail. Our Client had an argument with another person and she hit that person in self-defense.
At trial, Ben was able to show that the “alleged” Victims lied in her testimony and that our Client justifiable used force. The Judge deliberated for less than 5 minutes and found our client Not Guilty.
Stechschulte Nell will defend your case! Call 813-280-1244 for a FREE consultation!
24/7 Legal Representation
Attorney Ben Stechschulte has years of experience representing clients who are facing assault and battery charges with a proven track record of success. If you or someone you love are facing either charge, please contact us at 813-280-1244 for a free case review.
We’re currently representing clients during telephonic hearings and are still available to you should you be arrested for assault or battery while social distancing.