Assault and Battery are two very serious criminal charges that can often mean hefty fines and jail time for those who are convicted. It is important to note that while these two charges are often lumped together, there are distinct differences. Assault occurs when one party threatens another party with harm to the extent that the threatened party has cause to fear for their safety. Battery refers to instances in which the threatening party physically touched the victim without the victim’s consent.
In Florida, when someone is accused of assault, the prosecution must prove the defendant did in fact threaten the victim, had the ability to act upon the threat, and caused the victim genuine fear. When accused of battery, prosecutors must prove that physical contact was made between the two parties, and that the contact was made against the victim’s will. These two factors allow for a few defenses against assault and battery charges.
Defendants who are accused of assault or battery can defend their innocence by proving that the incident was an accident, or that they were given consent to physically touch the victim. Self-defense is also a plausible defense for why the defendant might have struck the other party.
If you are accused of assault or battery, it is very important that you act quickly to mount a solid defense that can prove your innocence. The consequences of being convicted can range from $500 fines and 60 days of imprisonment to $10,000 and 15 years of imprisonment. Of course it always helps to have the opinion of a legal expert, and consulting with an attorney could be the difference between conviction and acquittal.