Robin Fuson
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Assault and Battery In Tampa Florida

Criminal Defense

When we hear the term assault and battery, we think of a violent crime where someone has been injured. However, assault and battery are not the same crime. They are two separate crimes, each with their own penalties and punishments. The two crimes often occur at the same time. Therefore, we hear them grouped together. If you are ever accused of assault or battery, it is important that you know the difference.

Assault

Assault is the intentional threat of physical harm, using words or actions, with the ability to carry those actions out. If the words or actions created a fear in the victim that violence was imminent, they have been assaulted. No physical contact mustoccur for a person to be charged with a crime and convicted of assault.

Assault is a misdemeanor offense, but it is serious. If convicted, the penalties are a fine of up to $500, up to 60 days in jail, and the offense always shows on your permanent record.

Note: If the assault involved the use of a deadly weapon or the intent to commit a felony, the charge is aggravated assault, which is a felony. The sentence for aggravated assault is up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Battery

Battery is a more severe crime that carries harsher penalties. Battery occurs when physical contact is made. If someone threatens to strike you with a club, that is assault. If they strike you with the club, that is battery.

Misdemeanor battery or simple battery is defined as the touching or striking of a person against their will. It does not matter if the victim was not injured. Although simple battery is a misdemeanor, the penalty is harsher than assault. For conviction of simple battery, the punishment is up to 1-year in jail, up to 1-year probation, and a fine of up to $1,000.

There are several classes of felony battery in the state of Florida. These include battery with a deadly weapon, battery of a pregnant person, battery of a police officer, firefighter, EMT, or another emergency worker. Aggravated battery carries a punishment of no less than 21 months and up to 15 years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000.

It is very important that a person charged with assault or battery contacts an assault and battery lawyer. As you can tell, the small details of the incident can make a huge difference.

Several defenses should be considered. They include:

    • Self-defense
    • Lack of intent
    • Lack of knowledge of pregnancy
    • Consent

○ This could apply if the battery took place during a contact sport

    • Other considerations

○ This may include a mutual altercation where both parties were engaged

A qualified assault and battery attorney may be able to use the circumstances of the incident to get the charges waived or reduced.

Assault and battery on your police record could follow you for the rest of your life. A criminal record with assault and battery can hold you back in your career of choice and cost you in the future.

Note: If you serve jail time in Florida, your record cannot be expunged.

Robin Fuson
By Robin Fuson