Is it assault or battery? How to tell the difference

On Behalf of | Jun 19, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

There is a tendency to use the words “assault” and “battery” interchangeably to describe an incident that involves some form of violence. Under Florida law, assault and battery charges are two completely different offenses. You can face charges of both offenses simultaneously, but you may also face charges with one, not the other.

Understanding the difference between these two is essential in protecting your rights when you face either battery or assault charges.

What is assault?

Under Florida law, assault does not require physical contact. It depends on the perception of a credible threat.

A simple assault may include an intentional and unlawful physical or verbal threat of imminent violence. It may also include the ability to carry out a threat. Additionally, for an action to qualify as assault, the victim needs to have reasonable fear caused by the threat.

Aggravated assault charges require committing an assault with the use of a deadly weapon but without the intent to kill.

What is battery?

Battery, on the other hand, is a violent crime that requires physical contact. It qualifies as battery if there is intentional and unwanted physical contact with the victim. It is also battery if someone is intentionally causing bodily harm to another person.

Aggravated battery charges require intentionally causing harm – whether it is bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement – with the use of a deadly weapon.

What can be your defense against assault and battery?

Battery and assault charges are serious crimes. Fortunately, there are possible defenses that may help you avoid charges. These may include proving that the incident was an accident and that there is a lack of requisite intent. Your lawyer may also argue that the alleged victim gave consent to the contact. They may also need to prove that you were defending yourself, your property, or another person.

Facing battery and assault charges can change your life forever. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and increase your chances of a positive outcome.