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Assault And Battery


Assault and battery are both very serious violent crimes that can frequently be misunderstood by the general public. Though they are usually mentioned in the same breath, assault and battery two distinct crimes with different elements, and depending on the circumstances of an individual case, both charges can arise from the same incident.

At Prestia Holtz P.A., our former prosecutors have handled assault and battery cases from both sides of the system. We can focus on the important facts that can make all the difference between a conviction or a dismissal.

If you are facing these serious charges, call us for a free case evaluation today, so that we can analyze your individual situation and discuss the options you have in defending your rights.

What is the difference between assault and battery?

Many people assume that assault and battery mean the same thing. However, that is not true.

  • Battery reduced to its simplest definition is when one person touches or strikes another person without their permission. All batteries require physical contact with the alleged victim.
    • An example of a battery is when two people are verbally arguing and one of them punches the other. Another example of a battery is when one person spits on another person. You can still be accused of battery even if you caused something other than your body to make physical contact with another person.
  • Assault in and of itself does not involve physical contact with another person. To be accused of assault is to be accused of doing something to put another person in immediate fear of physical harm while having the apparent ability to harm that other person
    • An example of an assault would be a situation where one person makes a fist, cocks back their arm, and threatens to punch another person.
What are the different kinds of assault and battery?

Chapter 784 of the Florida Statutes contains the legal definitions of the various offenses that fall under the umbrella categories of assault and battery. Some of the most common charges and penalties in the state include:

  • “Simple” assault is a second-degree misdemeanor.
    • This can be punished by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
  • Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony.
    • This can be punished by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
    • Aggravated assault involves the possession of a deadly weapon without the intent to kill or with the intent to commit another felony.
      • If you possess a firearm while committing an aggravated assault, you can face a 3-year minimum mandatory prison sentence.
  • “Simple” battery is a first-degree misdemeanor.
    • This can be punished by up to 1year in jail and a fine up to $1,000.
  • Aggravated battery is a second-degree felony.
    • This can be punished by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
    • Aggravated battery is a battery that falls under three categories:
      • When the batterer intentionally or knowingly causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement.
      • Uses a deadly weapon
      • When the victim is pregnant and the batterer knew or should have known that the victim was pregnant.
      • f you possess a firearm while committing an aggravated battery, you can face a 10-year minimum mandatory prison sentence.

It is important to note that these are merely some of the most common ways in which assaults and batteries are charged. Assaults and batteries that involve police officers, nurses, and other specified groups of people are different offenses under Florida law that can carry long prison sentences. Call us today to discuss the specifics of your individual case.

What are some common defenses to assault and battery charges?
  • Lack of Intent: Assault and battery are both intentional crimes; you cannot accidentally hit someone and be guilty of a battery. If you did not intend to harm or threaten harm to the alleged victim in your case, the criminal defense lawyers at Prestia Holtz P.A. can use that in your defense.
  • Self-defense: If you acted out of self-defense, you may be able to avoid charges. “Stand Your Ground” is a topic that is very much in the news. It is also a complex legal doctrine that could potentially be used to have the charges against you dropped. For example, if someone attacks you in your home and you stab that person as they were attacking you, you could be able to argue self-defense if you were charged with aggravated battery. You can also be acquitted of charges if you acted in defense of another person. Ultimately, these are very detail oriented, fact-specific defenses that require extensive investigation and aggressive argument on the part of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
  • Victim gave consent: his situation normally takes place in the context of a sport, such as boxing or football, or when someone is acting or filming a video. If the alleged victim in an assault or battery case consented to the actions that gave rise to the charges, that can be a defense used to get a reduction of charges or outright dismissal of the case.

If you are facing assault or battery charges, call Prestia Holtz P.A. today! We can aggressively defend you in court, and make sure that you have the benefit of any and all defenses that apply to your individual case. Call right away to learn more about how we can help and to set up a free case evaluation!