The terms “assault” and “battery” are so often used in combination that they are frequently misconstrued as a single offense. However, Florida charges assault and battery as separate crimes, both of which carry serious penalties.
Understanding the Difference Between Assault and Battery
The key difference between assault and battery is whether the suspected offender made physical contact with the victim. In Florida:
- Assault is a verbal or physical threat that makes another person fear for their safety.
- Battery occurs when the perpetrator causes bodily harm, or makes physical contact against the victim’s will.
Since assault and battery are closely related offenses, a prosecutor could charge a suspect with both crimes.
The Potential Penalties for Assault and Battery in Florida
- Assault is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and fines of up to $500.
- Battery is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and fines of up to $1,000.
However, a suspected offender who has been convicted of battery in the past could face an even more severe punishment of up to five years in prison and fines of up to $5,000. Similarly, if the prosecutor believed that an assault or battery was committed with intent to cause another person serious harm or offense, they could be charged with:
- Aggravated assault. Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and fines of up to $5,000. Assault becomes aggravated assault if the perpetrator used or displayed a weapon with the intent to commit another felony offense, such as robbery or home invasion.
- Aggravated battery. Aggravated battery is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. Battery becomes aggravated battery if the offender used a weapon, if the victim was pregnant, or intended to inflict significant bodily harm, disability, or disfigurement.
Contact an Okaloosa County Assault and Battery Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one have been charged with assault and battery in Okaloosa County, call Flaherty & Merrifield today at (850) 243-6097 for a free consultation.