DEFENSE ATTORNEY IN TAMPA REPRESENTING CLIENTS CHARGED WITH ASSAULT AND BATTERY
The law in Florida defines assault and battery as two different crimes. Generally speaking, someone who commits assault has threatened to use imminent force or violence, while someone who commits battery has touched another person physically to cause harm or injury.
If you are charged with assault and/or battery in the Tampa Bay area, you can’t afford to hire the wrong Tampa criminal defense attorney – someone who’s inexperienced, or someone who will simply advise you to plead guilty. An assault or battery conviction has serious consequences.
HOW IS ASSAULT DEFINED AND WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES?
Here in Florida, misdemeanor assault (also called “simple” assault) is an intentional, illegal threat that one person makes against another person and that creates the “reasonable fear” that physical harm or violence is about to happen.
Under Florida law, simple assault is a second-degree misdemeanor. A conviction is punishable by a fine of up to $500, up to six months on probation, and up to sixty days in jail.
Aggravated assault (also called “felony” assault) is defined in Florida as an intentional. unlawful threat against another person, with a deadly weapon, or while in the commission of a felony, which creates “reasonable fear” that violence or physical injury is imminent.
Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony in this state, punishable upon conviction by a fine of up to $5,000, up to five years on probation, and up to five years in prison.
HOW IS BATTERY DEFINED AND WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES?
Battery is actual physical contact with someone else. Assault, on the other hand and in most cases, is only the threat of physical contact. Florida has established several battery charges, including misdemeanor battery, felony battery, and aggravated battery.
Misdemeanor or “simple” battery is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable upon conviction by a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year on probation, and up to a year in jail. If a defendant has a prior conviction for simple battery, any subsequent battery offense is charged as felony battery.
Otherwise, felony battery is defined as intentionally striking or touching someone in a way that causes “great bodily harm.” Felony battery is a third-degree felony, punishable upon conviction by up to five years in prison.
However, the penalties for a battery conviction can be harsher if the battery victim was a law enforcement officer, a firefighter, or an emergency medical care provider who was engaged in the lawful performance of his or her duty at the time of the battery incident.
Aggravated battery is the intentional touching of another person with a deadly weapon or with the intent to inflict great bodily harm. In Florida, a conviction for aggravated battery may be penalized with up to fifteen years in prison.
How does the law define a “deadly” weapon? Any weapon is considered “deadly” if it is used – or if someone threatens to use it – in a way that is likely to produce death or great bodily harm.
WHAT ABOUT ASSAULT AND BATTERY ARISING FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
In Florida, domestic violence is any assault, battery, felony or aggravated battery, sexual assault, aggravated assault, or other crime that results in the death or physical injury of a household member or family member by another member of that household or family.
For an assault or a battery to constitute domestic violence, the household or family members must reside together now or must have resided together in the past. The only exception is for parents of the same child. Florida law defines household or family members as:
- wives, ex-wives, husbands, and ex-husbands
- persons residing together as a family or related by marriage or blood
- persons who have lived together in the past as a family
- parents of the same child whether married or not married
When a battery or an assault constitutes domestic violence, the penalties are harsher for convictions.
IF YOU ARE CHARGED WITH ASSAULT OR BATTERY
Self-defense, defense of others, and defense of property are the usual defenses against assault and battery charges. You may be able to claim that you were misidentified. Your lawyer may be able to prove that no assault or battery ever happened. It all depends on the details of the case.
Whatever those details are, if you are accused of assault or battery, or both, you cannot act as your own attorney. Every defendant needs sound legal guidance and effective defense representation.
With more than 24 years of legal experience – including prosecutorial experience – Tampa criminal defense attorney Pat Courtney knows how to protect a defendant’s rights and how to bring an assault or battery case to its best possible conclusion.
Pat Courtney serves clients in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Manatee, and Sarasota counties. Learn more by calling his offices at (813) 967-2000 or by completing the online contact form on this website.