Florida Assault and Battery Defense
Assault and Battery are two separate offenses. They can occur together. Most people are confused on the actual meaning of each. These are defined under chapter 784 of the Florida statutes.
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Assault - Threat of Violence
An Assault is an intentional unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to another with the apparent ability to carry out the threat. The "apparent" ability to being able to carry out this threat is whether the victim believed it - not whether it was factually possible. If the victim is put in fear the apparent ability exists. Note that assault does not involve any actual contact. Also note that the threat can be by "word." The raising of a fist in a striking motion is an act. A threat by word is more indefinite. This is the gray area of the assault statute. An assault is a Second Degree Misdemeanor.
Aggravated assault is an assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, or with the intent to commit a felony. An example of this could be raising a baseball bat in a threatening manner or threatening a person in an effort to steal a fire extinguisher. Aggravated assault is a Third Degree Felony.
Battery - Unlawful Touching of Another
Battery occurs when a person intentionally touches or strikes another person against their will or intentionally causes bodily harm to another person. Note that "touching" is a battery. It does not require force. Defenses include consent or contact that occurs in the normal course of living. A battery is a First Degree Misdemeanor.
A simple battery can become a felony if a person has any other type of battery as a prior, or a simple battery causes great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement. Filing a battery as a felony is a decision made by the State Attorney's Office. Felony battery is a Third Degree Felony. Remember great bodily harm is determined by the injury to the victim not the action taken by the accused.
Felony Battery: Domestic Battery by Strangulation
This type of battery incorporates the domestic violence definitions of family or household member. A person commits domestic battery by strangulation if the victim is a family or household member and the accused has intentional touched the victim against his or her will in such a way as to impede the normal breathing or the normal blood flow through the neck. Understand that impeding the normal breathing can include pinching the nose shut. This is a Third Degree Felony.
Aggravated battery is the most serious battery offense. It occurs when a battery causes great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement (note the similarity to felony battery), or is a battery with the use of a deadly weapon (e.g., stabbing with a knife), or is a battery against a person known to be pregnant. Aggravated battery is a Second Degree Felony.
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