What is an Assault and Battery Crime in Fort Lauderdale & South Florida?
There are numerous different types of assault and battery crimes in Florida.
An assault crime in Florida is defined as “an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such another person that such violence is imminent.”
An assault charge becomes an aggravated assault in Florida if it involves the use of a deadly weapon.
A battery crime under the Florida statutes is defined as “intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other or Intentionally causes bodily harm to another person.”
To be charged with a battery it must be an intentional act - meaning the defendant had to have known their actions would have resulted in the strike or touch of another person. If the defendant accidentally stuck or touched the victim, then a battery crime did not occur.
Someone can be charged with a battery crime, however, even if the victim does not suffer from bodily injuries.
The actual touching between two or more individuals does not have to take place for a person to be charged with battery. As the defendant makes contact with a victim with something - anything, really - it could be considered a battery crime.
There are distinct types of assault and battery crimes that have unique definitions and consequences and penalties such as simple battery, or assault or aggravated assault or aggravated battery crimes.
Consequences may be more or less harsh depending on the specifics of the crime allegedly committed.
Generally speaking, Assault crime penalties and consequences in Florida vary.
- Simple Assault in Florida can include up to 60 days in Jail, 6 month probation and $500 in fines.
- Aggravated Assault in Florida can result in 5 years prison or probation, and up to 209 years in prison if a firearm was used. Fines can also range up to $5,000.
Battery crime penalties and consequences in Florida also vary.
- Simple Battery can include up to 1 year in jail, 1 year probation and fines up to $1,000.
- Even a simple battery on a police officer becomes a felony because of the fact that the victim is a law enforcement officer - instead of 1 year possible prison / probation, it becomes 5 years possible and the fines jump to $5,000 possible.
- Felony / Aggravated Battery can result in 5 years in prison or on probation up to 15 years in prison or on probation and up to $5,000 or $10,000 in fines.
- If Firearms are involved or fired, prison terms go up to 10, 15, 20 and even 25 years in some cases.
When it comes to domestic assault or domestic battery, there are also unique elements and consequences.
Domestic assault or battery has the same legal definition as an assault or battery crime. The difference is that the crime is committed by a partner, dating partner, family member or someone in your household. This can include marriage spouses, children, ex-wives and ex-husbands, parents, or people who have a child together regardless of the status of their past relationship.
Domestic Assault and Domestic Battery carry harsher penalties in Florida than other assault and/or battery charges.
→ RELATED: FREE Domestic Violence booklet that helps you navigate your charge and the legal system in Florida
If you’ve been charged with Assault or Battery in Florida, here are a few examples of defenses an attorney may be able to employ to help defend you and protect your rights:
- Self Defense: The defendant could have been exercising self-defense to protect themselves against another person.
- No intention: The defendant had no intention of hitting the victim; contact with the alleged victim happened by accident.
- Consent: Consent was given to the person to touch the victim. The contact between the defendant and the victim was not against the victim’s will. For example - a fist fight that two people agreed to.
- It’s Mutual: Mutual combat between both the defendant and the victim.
- Element of Doubt: There is reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of assault or battery.
- Who Done it?: It could be a case of mistaken identity and the victim wrongly identified the person that assaulted them.
- Credibility issues: A witness or the victim could be lying about who committed the assault, especially if they may have a motive of some kind.
- Alibi: The defendant has an alibi during the time the assault or battery took place so it is difficult - or impossible - to place them at the scene of the crime or accuse them of committing the crime.