If you have been accused of assault and battery, you need legal help right away. Aside from possible jail time, a violent act on your record can affect every aspect of your life. But an assault and battery lawyer can make all the difference and help get your life back on track. Whatever the situation, an attorney can help you navigate the process and pursue the best possible outcome.
If you have been charged with a violent crime, hiring an experienced assault and battery lawyer in Tampa is the most effective way to reduce your charges or secure a dismissal. Contact attorney Brett Metcalf today to discuss your options and how we can help. Call (813) 258-4800 or reach out online for a free, initial consultation.
What is Assault and Battery?
Assault and battery are actually two separate crimes in Florida. Assault refers to the threat of physical harm, while battery refers to the unwanted touching of another. They may often go hand in hand, but you can have one without the other.
For example, striking someone by surprise is considered battery, but not assault, as the victim did not have time to fear bodily harm.
If you threaten someone with bodily injury, but do not act upon this threat, that is assault, but not battery.
Assault and Battery Penalties
The severity of assault and battery charges largely depends on the circumstances involved.
Simple assault and simple battery are both misdemeanors in Florida, but aggravating factors can easily increase the severity of the case. Assault with a deadly weapon, for example, is aggravated assault and carries a greater chance of jail time and increased fines than simple assault.
- Simple assault is a second-degree misdemeanor. If convicted, you face imprisonment for up to sixty days and a up to $500 in fines.
Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony. If convicted, you face a sentence of up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
- Simple battery is a first-degree misdemeanor. You face up to a year in prison and fines up to $1,000 if you are convicted.
- Felony battery is a third-degree felony. You face imprisonment for up to five years and up to $5,000 in fines.
- Aggravated battery is a second-degree felony that requires the intent to cause great bodily harm. If convicted, you may face a sentence of imprisonment lasting up to fifteen years and a fine up to $10,000.
Aggravating factors include use of a deadly weapon, level of injury sustained by the victim, or having a prior criminal record.
You may also see the severity increase if the victim was a protected individual or the situation was considered an act of domestic violence.
Steps to Take After Being Charged?
You may not expect an argument or altercation to go to court, but when you are arrested or become aware of criminal charges, it can be upsetting and confusing. Here are some steps to take after being charged with assault and battery.
- Contact or request a lawyer: You may be taken into custody or issued a summons. It’s very important that you contact a lawyer before taking any action.
- Exercise your right to remain silent: Wait until your lawyer can give you advice before speaking to anyone about your charges. Do not sign anything or give a confession without an attorney.
- Don’t share details about the case: You may want to take to social media or call a friend, but this can cause a lot of problems. You and your attorney have a confidentiality agreement, but your family does not. It’s important not to let any careless remarks come back to haunt you in court.
- Stay out of trouble: It’s important not to give the court any reason to look on you unfavorably. Showing responsible behavior can help you avoid making matters worse.
How an Attorney Can Help
Dealing with assault and battery charges can be complicated, and a misstep can cost you time, money, and your freedom.
Individuals who try to handle things alone or without a lawyer (pro se) are far less likely to receive favorable results than people with representation An attorney can help you understand your charges, build your defense, and reach out to witnesses and experts to help your case.
It’s unlikely that you can negotiate to have the charges dismissed or reduced because there are flaws in the case. But an attorney with a background in assault and battery cases can articulate the legal issues involved and communicate them to the court. This could the difference in reducing your sentence or seeing the charges dismissed. In addition, a lawyer can explain your rights, your odds of success in court, and help you understand if a plea is in your best, long-term interests.
Contact Metcalf Falls, Criminal Defense Attorneys, P.A.
Attorney Brett Metcalf has been working in the criminal justice system for over 10 years. As a former prosecutor, he knows how to find flaws in assault and battery cases. If we can’t get the charges dismissed, we can often get felonies reduced to misdemeanor charges. We can also present evidence that could result in a much lesser sentence than you could have received otherwise.