When you argue with someone, whether it is a relative, friend or a complete stranger, emotions can become heated. If your emotions get the best of you and you threaten to hurt someone or actually hurt them, you could face assault or battery charges. Assault and battery are two separate but related crimes under Florida law.
What is assault?
Assault does not involve actual physical contact with someone. Assault under Florida law is an intentional and unlawful threat made by words or actions to harm someone else, creating a “well-founded” apprehension that said harmful acts will immediately occur.
For example, if you angrily say you are going to punch someone and raise your fists, that person could be put in apprehension that you will strike them. Under the right circumstances, this could be considered assault.
What is battery?
Battery, unlike assault, must involve physical contact with someone. Battery under Florida law is either actual and intentional contact with someone against their will or the intentional infliction of bodily harm against another.
For example, if you intentionally punch someone out of anger, even if you gave no warning of your intentions, under the right circumstances this could be considered battery.
The relationship between assault and battery
Assault and battery often go hand-in-hand. For example, if you threaten to punch someone this may warrant assault charges. If you intentionally follow through on your threat and punch that person, this may warrant battery charges.
Any assault and battery charges in Florida should be taken seriously. While every case is very fact-specific, basic assault and battery are misdemeanor crimes, and aggravated battery is a felony crime. If you are facing such charges, you will want to take the steps necessary to formulate a solid defense strategy, so you can protect your rights.