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.