20th Dec 2016

A criminal defense attorney in Broward County can explain that even though the terms “assault” and “battery” are often used in conjunction, they mean very different things.  A criminal defense attorney in Broward County can explain that the differences between these two offenses can directly impact the perceived seriousness of the offense and the possible penalties that can result.

Florida defines assault as a threat of harm that causes the victim to be in reasonable fear of imminent harm.  This offense does not actual require that the defendant be violent or have any physical content with the victim in order to be criminal conduct.  In contrast, battery refers to the actual physical contact with the victim.  Therefore, if the defendant threatens to harm the victim and then did so, the first offense would be considered assault and the second would be considered battery.

To secure an assault conviction, the prosecutor must show that the defendant intended to cause the victim to feel afraid and did make the victim feel afraid of a harm that was imminent in nature and that the defendant was capable of carrying the threat out.  To secure a battery conviction, the prosecutor must show that the defendant intentionally touched the victim in a harmful or offensive manner.

There are different classifications of each offense, ranging from a simple offense to an aggravated offense or felony offense.  Each offense carries with it a different potential punishment.  For example, simple assault can result in imprisonment up to 60 days and a fine up to $500 while felony battery can lead to a sentence up to 15 years and a fine up to $10,000.  To avoid the negative consequences of conviction, it is important to contact a criminal defense lawyer to learn about possible defenses that may apply.

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