A charge of assault and battery can effectively dismantle even the most stable life in a short period of time, even if the defendant is ultimately found not guilty. When disagreements intensify, it becomes very possible to veer into the very dangerous territory of physical confrontation, and can result in severe legal consequences.
If you’ve been charged with assault and battery, contact Robert Zlatkin, Ocala’s top criminal defense attorney, today.
When an altercation escalates, aggressive statements and threatening behavior can occur. Under very specific circumstances, these statements and actions can be considered an assault in the eyes of the law. Many people are surprised to find that assault and battery are two separate charges, and that for assault to occur, no actual physical contact needs to happen.
Florida State law defines assault as a crime of violence wherein a genuine fear of imminent harm toward another person is created by way of word or action. This is more involved than just a promise to “get someone.” In order for a verbal or physical threat to rise to the level of simple assault or greater, there must be a combination of:
Simple assault in the state of Florida is considered a second-degree misdemeanor which carries up to sixty days in jail, a $500 fine, and can also result in probation, and mandatory anger management counseling.
Aggravated or felony assault is an escalation on an unequivocal threat of immediate violence where a deadly weapon, the intention to seriously harm the victim comes into play. Assault during the commission of another felony will also result in an aggravated assault charge.
Florida law considers aggravated assault a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, and a $5000 fine. Even first-time offenders can receive lengthy prison sentences for aggravated assault in Florida.
If a firearm is discharged during an aggravated assault incident, a mandatory sentence of as much as 20 years in prison can be imposed.
When the threat of immediate violence transitions into actual physical contact, the offense rises to the level of battery. Like assault, battery can refer to a number of actions and can escalate to felony charges.
According to Florida law, battery happens when a person is touched or struck against their will with intent to injure, or when a person intentionally causes bodily harm to another person.
When there are no other factors surrounding a battery attack, this is considered simple battery and is a first-degree misdemeanor that carries a $1000 fine and a year in jail. This is the least serious punishment available for a battery charge, and penalties increase for subsequent offenses.
Upgraded battery charges in the state of Florida happen when:
In the event of an upgraded battery charge, it becomes a third-degree felony, and is punished by up to five years prison and/or probation, fines of as much as $5,000, and other mandatory penalties including:
Unlike aggravated assault, felony battery does not require the intent to cause bodily harm, but the severity of injuries will directly influence the level of battery charges on the defendant.
Assault and battery charges in the state of Florida can have life altering consequences. Depending on facts and circumstances, even a first-time offense may come with the very real possibility of protracted jail time, and even mandatory minimum sentences.
It is imperative that someone charged with a crime of violence retain legal counsel as soon as possible for the best possible chance of a successful criminal defense. Possible legal defenses to such charges include:
Robert Zlatkin is an attorney who has extensive experience in criminal defense and substantial knowledge of Florida statutes regarding assault and battery offenses. He will review your case, and explain your options from the standpoint of an expert legal defender. Call Robert Zlatkin, Ocala criminal defense lawyer, for a free consultation regarding your assault and/or battery case today.
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