An assault is defined as an intentional threat by word or act to another person. The difference between assault and battery is that battery constitutes the actual presence of harm, whereas assault constitutes the threat of harm.


To be charged with assault, the state must prove two things:

  1. The person has an apparent ability to carry out the threat.
  2. The person does some act that incites a reasonable fear to the other that they are in danger of imminent violence.


While at a night club, Jake tells Matthew that he is going to punch him in the face, while holding his hands up to initiate a fight. Regardless if Jake hits the person, he could be charged with assault.

Maximum Penalty

Simple assault is classified as a 2nd Degree Misdemeanor and carries a penalty of up to 60 days in Jail or 6 months’ probation, and a $500 fine.

Brandy Merrifield
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Florida Criminal Defense Attorney