The terms assault and battery are often used interchangeably, but have different meanings in the court of law. While the two are frequently confused, in Florida, assault generally encompasses verbal threats while battery encompasses physical harm.

What is Assault?

While many people assume that assault is the same thing as battery, the two hold different meanings. Although the statutes vary by state, assault is generally an intentional verbal threat of an individual, which causes another individual to reasonably feel afraid of being harmed.

The individual does not have to be physically touched for the instance to be considered assault. Aggravated assault includes the elements of assault but involves a deadly weapon without the intention to kill. Ultimately, assault may be either justified as self-defense or defense of a person or property.

Assault charges are classified as second-degree misdemeanors and can result in up to 60 days in jail and $500 in fines. An aggravated assault charge is classified as a third-degree felony and holds more severe consequences, up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.

What is Battery?

While assault includes threats and the reasonable fear of being harmed, battery occurs when the altercation becomes physical. Ultimately, battery includes similar elements of assault but with the purpose to harm and include physical contact. Aggravated battery occurs when a deadly weapon is used, if an individual sustains great bodily harm, or if the offender attacked a woman whom they knew was pregnant.

A battery charge is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor and can result in up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines. Aggravated battery charges are classified as a second-degree felony, carrying up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines if convicted.

Assault and Battery Defenses

Nearly everyone has been in a situation where they have felt angered and in some of these situations it can be easy to act on impulse. However, assault and battery charges can carry severe consequences, so it is imperative to know your rights and understand defense strategies.

If someone is facing assault and battery charges, they may be able to claim self-defense if the threat or physical harm was used to protect their person. Similarly, assisting another individual who is in danger or facing harm, can be considered as acting in the defense of others. Finally, using threats or physical force in order to protect your home or other type of property or personal belonging could be considered defense of property and is a viable defense against charges.

If you or a loved one is facing assault and battery charges, you need the guidance of a legal professional. The experienced team at the Khonsari Law Group is passionate about defending the rights of others and can effectively assess the facts of your specific case to best protect you.

For a free consultation, visit the Khonsari Law Group today.