The terms assault and battery are often used interchangeably in everyday speech to describe an incident involving violence. However, under Florida law, assault and battery charges are two completely different offenses. While it is possible to be charged with both assault and battery at the same time, you may also be charged with one and not the other.
Under Fla. Stat. Sec. 784.011, physical contact is a required element of assault. The elements of a simple assault include:
- Intentional and unlawful physical or verbal threat of imminent violence.
- Ability to carry out a threat.
- The threat created a reasonable fear in the alleged victim.
Aggravated assault charges require committing an assault with a deadly weapon without the intent to kill.
Unlike assault, the crime of battery does require physical contact. The elements of a battery under Fla. Stat. Sec. 784.03 are as follows:
- Intentional and unwanted physical contact with someone else; or
- Intentionally causing someone bodily harm.
Aggravated battery charges require intentionally or knowingly causing harm (bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement) with a deadly weapon.
Defending against assault and battery
If you are facing criminal charges for a violent crime, there are several possible defenses your attorney may use to defend you in court. Some common defenses include proving:
- The incident was an accident.
- Lack of the requisite intent.
- The alleged victim consented to the contact.
- You were defending yourself, your property or another person.
Following your initial consultation, your attorney will review your case, collect evidence, prepare witnesses and experts and come up with a specific defense strategy that suits the facts of your case.