Are Assault and Battery the Same?
Assault and battery are two different crimes but may be charged together. Assault involves a physical or verbal assault on another, which causes the alleged victim to fear imminent harm. Battery is unwanted physical contact with another individual’s body, causing bodily harm or contact that is against the will of the alleged victim.
Why are Assault and Battery Charged Together in Many Cases?
While assault and battery are two different and serious criminal offenses, in cases in which a threat was followed by unwanted physical contact, both charges may be filed against the alleged perpetrator.
What is Aggravated Assault?
Aggravated assault is defined as an assault with a deadly weapon but without the intent to kill or with an intent to commit a felony offense. An aggravated assault is a third-degree felony. This charge will also be filed in cases in which a person participated in a riot.
What are the Penalties for Assault and Battery in Tampa?
Under Florida Statute 784.011, the penalties for assault will vary based on whether the alleged victim suffered bodily injury. Assault charges may be either a misdemeanor or felony. “Aggravated assault” charges can result in penalties up to five years in state prison and fines up to $5,000.
Battery charges can be either a misdemeanor or felony. A misdemeanor battery charge is not minor; a conviction could mean up to one year in jail. When charged as a felony, the penalty can be up to 15 years in state prison. Felony battery charges are filed when it is alleged that the accused used a weapon or intended to inflict serious bodily harm or attacked a pregnant woman.
Charged with Assault and Battery in Tampa?
In the USA, you are innocent until proven guilty. However, you may not feel that way when taken into custody by law enforcement, even if you are entirely innocent. You may be a victim of false accusations or were defending yourself. The first and most critical action is to ensure a skilled Tampa criminal attorney represents you. You have rights as a defendant, including the right to remain silent, and should do so. Answer no questions, do not try to explain, but remain calm and contact an attorney as soon as you gain access to a phone.
You have the right to an attorney – but ensure you choose a lawyer with extensive trial experience and a track record of positive case outcomes.
Can you Defend Against an Assault or Battery Charge?
If you are accused of committing an assault, battery, or both crimes in the Tampa court system, you are in a dangerous legal situation. To defend against assault or battery charges, several options are possible, including the following:
- You were protecting yourself or another party: If in fear of being a victim of violence, self-defense may be a successful legal argument.
- No proof exists that you committed the crime: The burden of proof lies with the prosecutor. If there is not enough factual evidence to support that the alleged victim was in fear of imminent harm, the charges may be dropped or reduced.
- You did not intend to cause harm: If the action alleged was committed in error, in jest, or by mistake, the charges may be dropped, or you may be found not guilty in court.
- You had consent from the alleged victim: You engaged in agreed-upon mutual combat with another party.
- You were defending property: If another party was trespassing on your property, whether a residence or vehicle, and you believed force was necessary to protect your property.
- False accusations: The incident did not occur.
- Mistaken identity: You are not the individual who committed the crime and have been falsely identified.
What is the Legal Danger When Charged with Assault or Battery?
One of the most dangerous legal situations is being caught in the criminal justice system in Tampa. The prosecutor has the full support of the justice system, including police investigators, labs, and other resources. The goal of filing a charge is to achieve a conviction, and every detail of evidence will be evaluated with that goal. You may be innocent, but once caught in the criminal justice system, you will be forced to defend yourself.
Never try to explain yourself, convince the police, or argue about what occurred. Remain silent and retain the services of a quality, experienced attorney before answering any questions. Your efforts to convince law enforcement can backfire badly. Remain silent and wait for your attorney. The risks associated with a conviction on an assault and battery charge are very serious, as you could lose your good reputation, face time in jail or state prison, and be forced to pay hefty fines.
Prior Convictions and Assault and Battery Charges in Tampa
Any individual accused of committing assault, battery, or assault and battery who has a prior conviction for battery or aggravated battery will be facing felony charges, even if a plea bargain was negotiated in the prior conviction. Under the Florida statutes, a mandatory minimum sentence must be imposed. These factors make the need for a talented, aggressive, and knowledgeable attorney even more critical, as a conviction could mean years or even decades in prison, based on the circumstances.
Attorney Patrick B. Courtney and Your Defense
Not all criminal attorneys are equal. Patrick B. Courtney is a former prosecutor with extensive trial experience – on both sides. He has over 24 years of experience in criminal law. When he takes on a case, he fights for every possible advantage, from seeking a “not guilty” verdict in court, negotiating a plea bargain, and reducing the charges—call (813) 252-1529 today.