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What is the Difference Between Battery and Assault?

In the state of Florida, a person is often charged with assault and battery at the same time, making it appear as though they are the same offense. However, assault and battery are two very different crimes, with completely different consequences. At PLM, we want you to have all the facts on assault and battery, as being informed could mean the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony.

What is Assault?

Assault is the lesser of the two charges. It is defined as threatening an act of violence against another person. In the state of Florida, a person cannot be charged with assault unless they seem physically able to carry out their threat of physical harm. The victim must also have been fearful of the threat to be charged with assault.

While assault is a misdemeanor charge, it can quickly turn into a felony. A misdemeanor assault becomes a felony assault (aggravated assault) when the threat of violence includes the use of a deadly weapon without the intent to kill. If the threat of violence includes intent to kill or leads to physical interaction, then more serious charges are often filed.

What is Battery?

A person is often charged with battery when they intentionally touch, strike or hit another person against their will. Even simply pushing another person can land you with a battery charge. However, without physical contact, there can be no battery charges. So if you swing and miss at a person, this would simply be a charge of assault.

Aggravated battery occurs in Florida when battery leads to great bodily harm, a deadly weapon is used, or if the offender knew the victim was pregnant. Aggravated battery is the most serious of assault and battery charges and can lead to some serious felony charges.

Why Assault and Battery are Charged Together

Many people are charged simultaneously with assault and battery, which causes confusion about the differences between the two charges. This is because, generally speaking, most people are not arrested until they have already caused bodily harm to another person (battery). It is rare for someone to commit battery without first threatening violence (assault). So while you do not need to commit assault to commit battery or vise versa, the two normally go hand in hand.

It you have been charged with assault, battery, or both, contact the experienced attorneys at PLM. We have the knowledge and skills to defend any of your criminal charges. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

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