Miami Assault & Battery Lawyer
Assault and battery are often grouped together and used interchangeably to describe a physical attack. However, assault and battery are two separate offenses which have very different meanings. Florida statute §784.011 explains that "An 'assault' is 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 other person that such violent is imminent."
Battery is different from assault in that it is defined as the intentional touching of another, against their consent. Battery may involve hitting, striking, slapping, groping or any other form of physical contact. They are considered separate offenses because the severity of the actual altercation may be different. An assault charge may be waged even if physical contact had not been made, but a battery charge must involve intentional contact. This type of charge may be considered "culpable negligence," which is a reckless act that puts another person at risk of injury or death.
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Types of Assault and Battery Offenses
There are a number of specific offenses relating to assault and/or battery in Florida, and the varying types of offenses carry different penalties, as well. Florida Statutes Title XLVI, Chapter 784 details the various types of assault & battery charges. They may include:
- Sexual Assault
- Aggravated Assault
- Assault with a Deadly Weapon
- Assault with the Intent of Committing a Felony
- Aggravated Battery
- Battery with a Deadly Weapon
- Sexual Battery
- Battery Causing Great Bodily Harm
- Assault or Battery against a Police Officer
Aggravated assault, according to Chapter 784.021, involves a deadly weapon but does not involve intent to kill. This could also include the intent to commit a felony. This is an example of an assault charge that is punishable as a felony (third degree). There are two statutes for sexual battery that are detailed in 784.046 and 784.074 of the Florida Statutes. The former involves dating violence or a history of sexual violence while the latter primarily involves sexual predators. An assault or battery charge can also result in a restraining order or domestic violence injunction.
Injunctions (restraining orders), while not a criminal charge, will bar a person from any form of contact with the filer. All a person is required to do to obtain this kind of restraining order is to prove or claim that they were the victim of violence or are at a reasonable risk for violence. A violation of a restraining order can result in additional criminal charges. With the right help, an injunction can be appealed and possibly even stopped.
Penalties of a Conviction
The ways in which these charges are defined and/or punished include several different circumstantial factors, like the presence of a weapon, inflicted harm, type of contact, etc. Accordingly, they are punishable by different degrees. An assault it punished as a misdemeanor of the second degree, but if charged aggravated assault, it becomes a felony of the third degree. Similarly, if a battery charge is considered a misdemeanor of the first degree, while an aggravated battery charge is considered a felony of the second degree.
The only way to know for sure is by seeking legal representation as soon as possible. The legal process starts moving at an incredibly fast speed (within days of your arrest) which means that you need the help of a criminal lawyer. Call us for a consultation and we can speak with you about a line of defense for your case that could possibly get your charges lessened or dropped completely.