Defending yourself against an assault or battery charge

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

An assault or battery charge in Florida is a serious crime that comes with major penalties, such as fines and potential prison time. You likely feel scared or overwhelmed at these possible penalties, which is why it is crucial to have a strong defense.

Many people believe that assault and battery are generally the same thing, but that is not true. In fact, you can be charged with assault without having even touched the other person.

The crimes of assault and battery

Assault under Florida law is defined as an intentional, unlawful threat to do harm to someone else and committing an act that causes the other person to believe they are in immediate danger of violence. You must also have the apparent ability to carry out the threat.

Battery involves having intentional, actual physical contact with the other person or intentionally causing them bodily harm.

Self-defense is one of the most common defenses to an assault or battery charge. This defense can be challenging, because you must acknowledge that you did commit the crime, but you were justified in doing so because you feared you would be hurt or killed yourself.

The key to self-defense is you must only use relatively the same amount of force you are trying to protect yourself against.

Non-deadly and deadly force

Florida law allows you to use force or threaten to use force if you believe it is the only way to defend yourself against force by someone else. If their force appears to be intended to harm you, but not kill you, you cannot use deadly force.

You can use deadly force to defend yourself if you believe the other person is going to kill you or cause you serious bodily harm. This is known as the “stand your ground” law.

This means you do not have a duty to retreat or try to get out of the situation before using the deadly force.

There are some exceptions to these defenses, depending on the identity of the other person, your location and other factors. The facts of your case will determine if you can successfully assert self-defense.