If charged with assault in Florida, you need to contact an assault lawyer as soon as possible. Florida prosecutors aggressively go after people charged with assault because it is a serious and violent crime.
An experienced Florida assault lawyer will fight your charge and help you navigate the complex criminal justice system. If not handled properly, a criminal assault conviction can negatively impact your future. An assault lawyer will fight for your freedom and is your best shot at keeping your future in your control.
What Is the Difference Between Assault and Battery?
Many people believe that assault and battery is one crime. Although it is common to be charged with both assault and battery, they are two separate and independent crimes. The primary difference between the two is that assault involves a threat of violence whereas battery involves physical contact with another person. As a result, you can be arrested for assault or battery or both.
There are two forms of assault in Florida: simple assault and aggravated assault. The form of your assault charge depends on the circumstances of your situation.
The elements of assault in Florida are the following:
- An intentional, unlawful threat by words or actions to do violence on another person;
- An apparent ability to do the threat or act; and
- Doing an act that creates a reasonable fear of imminent violence in the victim.
In simpler terms, you may be guilty of assault when you verbally or through your actions threaten a person and the threat causes the person to fear for their safety. It is important to understand that assault usually occurs when you do not make physical contact with the victim.
Simple assault is the more basic form of assault. However, a conviction still requires criminal intent. For example, if you raise your arm toward someone in a playful manner without the intent to threaten them, you cannot be found guilty of simple assault. This is true even if the other person thought you were going to strike them.
Simple assault is a second-degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of up to 60 days in jail, six months’ probation, and/or a $500 fine.
Aggravated assault is the more severe form of assault. You can be charged with aggravated assault in Florida if you commit the assault with a deadly weapon or with intent to commit a felony.
Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison, five years’ probation, and/or a $5,000 fine.
Assault with a Deadly Weapon
Assault with a deadly weapon occurs if you commit an assault while showing or using a gun, knife, or another deadly weapon. This form of assault carries harsher penalties because the imminent threat of harm you create is more severe due to the deadly weapon.
However, just carrying a deadly weapon doesn’t mean you will automatically be convicted of aggravated assault. The victim needs to fear that you intend to harm them using the weapon.
Assault with Intent to Commit a Felony
Assault with intent to commit a felony occurs when you assault someone while committing another felony. For example, if you are robbing a bank and assault a teller, you will be charged with aggravated assault.
There are three types of battery in Florida: simple battery, felony battery, and aggravated battery.
You will be found guilty of battery in Florida when you:
- Actually and intentionally touch or hit another person without their consent, or
- Intentionally cause physical harm to another person.
Each type of battery in Florida carries different penalties.
Simple battery is the least serious form of battery. A simple battery occurs when someone intentionally touches or hits another person without their consent and causes minor injuries.
Simple battery is a first-degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
Felony battery is a more serious form of battery than simple battery. The state can charge a person with felony battery when a battery causes serious injuries. You can also be convicted of felony battery if you have been previously convicted of battery.
Felony battery is a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.
Aggravated battery is the most serious form of battery. An aggravated battery occurs when someone intentionally or knowingly causes serious injuries while committing a battery or commits a battery with a deadly weapon.
Aggravated battery is a second-degree felony with a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
A Florida assault and battery lawyer can help you understand the differences between assault and battery and the charges that may apply to your case.
What Is Domestic Assault?
Domestic assault is one of the crimes charged under the category of domestic violence. Florida defines domestic violence as crimes such as assault and battery, sex crimes, kidnapping, etc. committed by one family or household member against another.
Examples of family or household members include:
- Former spouses,
- Aunts and uncles,
- Grandparents, and
- People who presently or have in the past resided as a family.
Whether there is a domestic relationship is an important consideration when fighting domestic assault charges in Florida. Florida courts use three factors to determine whether a domestic relationship exists. These are:
- The length of the relationship;
- The nature of the relationship; and
- How the people involved interact with each other.
The purpose of domestic violence laws is to break the control one person in the relationship has over the other person. A Florida assault attorney can help you fight a domestic assault charge, including the harsher penalties that come with it.
Why Contact Skubiak & Rivas?
You should contact the Florida assault lawyers at Skubiak & Rivas if charged with any form of assault and/or battery. We handle all types of assault and battery cases, including domestic assault. Our experienced team of assault and battery lawyers will fight your charge to help you regain your freedom. Call us today for your free consultation.