In Florida, aggravated assault and battery convictions can result in prison, steep fines, and the loss of everything you worked to achieve. Even misdemeanor charges and convictions on your record could mean the loss of your gun rights, difficulty finding a job or housing, or other serious consequences.
However, there are instances where the use of force is allowed. Self-defense and Stand Your Ground laws pertain to situations where you felt that force was necessary to protect yourself or those around you.
Defining Aggravated Charges in Florida
While they are commonly phrased together, aggravated assault and battery are separate violent offenses according to Florida Statutes.
What Is the Difference Between Aggravated Assault and Battery?
- Assault refers to the threat of physical harm. So, if you threaten someone with bodily injury but do not act upon your threat, you have committed assault.
- Battery refers to the act of physical harm. So, if you strike someone by surprise, it is considered battery since the victim did not have time to fear bodily harm.
Penalties for Aggravated Assault and Battery Charges
Most simple assault and battery charges in Florida are misdemeanors. Simple assault is a second-degree misdemeanor with imprisonment for up to 60 days and fines of up to $500. Simple battery is a first-degree misdemeanor with up to a year in prison and fines of up to $1,000.
However, factors like using a deadly weapon, the level of injury sustained by the victim, or having a prior criminal record can push them to aggravated charges. These charges can also be increased if they happen during a case of domestic violence.
Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony. You can face a prison sentence of up to five years and fines of up to $5,000.
Felony battery is a third-degree felony. You can face a prison sentence of up to five years and fines of up to $5,000.
Aggravated battery is a second-degree felony that requires the intent to cause great bodily harm. If convicted, you can face a prison sentence lasting up to 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Possible Defenses for Florida Aggravated Assault and Battery Charges
Florida law does have instances in which force is justified, including the use of deadly force.
State law says that you are justified in the use of non-deadly force in self-defense when you believe that it is necessary to defend yourself or someone else against another person’s imminent use of unlawful force. This can be in your home or vehicle, and you are not expected to retreat or abandon where you are.
Stand Your Ground Law
Under this statute, you are justified in using deadly force when you believe it is necessary to defend yourself or someone else against imminent death or great bodily harm. So, if you believe someone is about to commit violence against you or someone with you, you are not legally required to retreat and can protect yourself or those around you.
Contact a Tampa Violent Crimes Lawyer for Help
Whenever there are assault and battery charges, there can be many contradicting statements about what happened. That’s why you need a good Tampa violent crimes lawyer to represent you when you have been charged with a violent crime. They will know how to gather all the evidence required to present the best defense for you in court.
If you have been unjustly accused of assault and battery or feel that you acted in self-defense, attorney Metcalf Falls, Criminal Defense Attorneys, P.A., is ready to defend you. Contact him at 813-258-4800 or use the online form to schedule a free consultation.