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How Are Assault Charges Defined In Florida?

Assault is defined in Florida as an active threat to do violence either by word or by act by a person who has the apparent ability to carry out the threat, creating fear in the victim’s mind that violence is about to take place.

What Is The Difference Between A Simple And An Aggravated Assault?

Many people combine assault and battery. In Florida, they are separate charges. Simply put, an assault is putting someone in fear that violence to their person is imminent. For instance, an individual with balled up fists coming close enough to strike another person and threatening by further action or words to punch. In simplistic terms, battery can be thought of as a successful assault. When someone is actually physically harmed, unlawfully touched or unlawfully battered, that is a battery.

Aggravated assault occurs when there is a threatened immediate harm to a person while using a deadly weapon. For example, pointing a firearm at another.

How Does The Intent Of The Perpetrator Impact An Assault And Battery Charge?

Intent is everything. Without intent, there is no assault or battery. There has to be an intentional and unlawful threat to do a deed of violence. If a person is not intentionally putting someone in fear of pending violence, then no assault occurs; likewise, if there is not an intentional touch or strike, then no battery. If one opens a closed door and the door strikes someone on the other side while opening, if the person opening the door did not know there was another person on the other side, it is an unintentional touching or striking, and therefore not a criminal battery. (Although not criminally responsible, the person opening the door and striking another may still be civilly liable, if the act of opening the door was negligent, i.e, performed in a careless manner likely to cause harm.)

Does That Often Work In The Favor Of The Defendant In An Assault Case?

That might be the case if an individual with an item in hand is taking a legitimate action with the item, and someone thinks they’re about to be struck, or is actually hit. For example, a fellow about to hit a baseball moving the bat behind him in readiness to swing without realizing someone else is present, It is not an assault, even if the other person feels being struck is imminent. Why not? Because it is an unintentional act: the individual with the bat did not know of someone standing behind and out of view. In those kinds of circumstances, without more, it is hard to imagine that a criminal charge would be pursued.

How Does The Degree Of Injury Affect Assault Charges?

Generally, assault or aggravated assault does not have injury because there is no physical impact. Although, arguably, there could be mental injury, post traumatic stress, for example. Assault does not require an injury.Although one also can imagine a scenario where a person is threatened and due to the threat is injured trying to move or get to safety, such as falling down stairs, running into a roadway and being struck by a car, etc. In Florida, if the victim is injured and the defendant is charged and convicted of a felony, the Uniform Sentencing Guidelines and Uniform Punishment Code is applied. If someone is injured as a result of trying to escape an aggravated assault or aggravated battery, for example, then arguably the injury would increase the severity of the sentence meted out by the court. Again, however, there is no injury requirement for the crime of assault, just the requirement that an individual is placed into fear that physical violence is about to take place.

How Does The Degree Of An Injury Impact Battery Charges?

Battery is committed by the unlawful (read “unwanted”) touching of another, so simply laying a hand on another could be a battery. To progress from battery to aggravated battery, the suspect is doing great bodily harm to an individual, or harm that creates permanent disability or permanent disfigurement. Also, if there is use of a deadly weapon and injury, an aggravated battery has occurred. In aggravated battery cases, which are felonies, the sentences are enhanced by the severity of injury caused a victim.

For more information on Assault Charges In Florida, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (772) 467-2601 today

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