Understanding an Assault and Battery Charge
Assault and battery are extremely common and broad charges that can cover everything from an argument to a near fatal attack. Defendants sometimes underestimate the seriousness of these accusations, but assault and battery are serious charges that can result in life-altering penalties.
Some very common incidents often result in assault and/or battery charges, which may include the following:
- Mutual combat where two or more people get into a fight with each other. An arrest does not necessarily mean that you were at fault or that you were even the primary aggressor in the incident. You may have been arrested because all parties were arrested, or the other party called the police first.
- Domestic disturbances where the law enforcement officer feels compelled to arrest at least one involved party. It is common practice for law enforcement agencies to require the arrest of one party during a suspected domestic disturbance. While this practice is often for the safety of one party, it sometimes results in the arrest of an individual who actually did nothing wrong.
- A heated argument can result in assault charges. Its easy to lose your temper and say things that you don’t really mean in the heat of a disagreement. Even some Facebook rants take a turn for the worse and result in allegations of assault.
The Florida Law
Under Florida state law, assault is defined as “an intentional threat by word, or act that seeks to physically harm another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.” The emphasis of an assault charge is whether the victim has a reasonable fear of harm. The offense is classified as a second degree misdemeanor, with a maximum sentence of 60 days in jail.
Assault allegations become much more serious when the charge is upgraded to an aggravated assault. Under Florida law, this occurs when there is “an assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill; or with an intent to commit a felony.” It is classified as a third degree felony, carrying a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.
The Florida statute defines battery as a situation where an individual “intentionally touches or strikes another person, without that person’s consent; or Intentionally causes bodily harm to another person. ” It is a first degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one year in jail.
The state can also upgrade battery charges to an aggravated standard when the accused “intentionally or knowingly causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement; or uses a deadly weapon.” The possible penalty for an aggravated battery, which is a second degree felony, increased to a maximum of 15 years imprisonment.
Regardless of what level of assault and/or battery charges you are facing, an experienced lawyer can mount a viable defense. He or she may question the reliability of witnesses or accusing parties. Your criminal lawyer may also argue that the aggravated classification is improper and should be reduced.
If you or a loved one is facing assault and/or battery charges, Mycki Ratzan and Jude Faccidomo can provide you with an aggressive and comprehensive defense. Contact Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC in Miami today at (305) 330-3905 for a confidential and free consultation.