Miami Assault and Battery Attorneys
Serving Clients Accused of Assault or Battery Throughout Florida
Although assault and battery are typically linked, the two crimes are actually distinct offenses under Florida Law. In any event, assault and battery can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies and convictions can result in severe penalties, including fines and imprisonment. This is why it is essential to have an aggressive criminal defense attorney fighting for your rights.
Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC has a proven track record of successfully defending clients against violent crimes charges like assault and battery in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and throughout the state of Florida. Well-versed in the applicable criminal statutes, we routinely handle these cases and work to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients.
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What is the difference between assault and battery in Florida?
Although assault and battery are considered a single crime in many states, they are separate under Florida law. Assault is generally defined as an intentional, unlawful threat by word or an act of violence from one person to another. Battery occurs when a person intentionally touches, strikes, or causes bodily harm to another person.
As such, the definition of assault under Florida law means no touching or harming of the other person has to have occurred for you to be charged. So if you threaten to hit your neighbor, have a present ability to do so, which puts that person her in fear of imminent harm, you can be charged with assault. Similarly, battery can occur independently of assault. As an example, blindsiding another person with a punch to the back of the head without making a threat first can lead to a battery charge. Obviously, assault and battery can also be charged simultaneously if you threaten someone with violence and then carry out an attack that causes bodily harm.
Florida Assault and Battery Classifications
There are a number of classifications of assault and battery, including:
- Simple assault — Involves three elements, an intentional threat by word or act to commit violence towards another person, the apparent ability to carry out the threat, and acting in a manner that places the alleged victim in reasonable fear that such violence is imminent. Simple assault is considered a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail or 6 months probation, and a maximum fine of $500. Enhanced penalties apply if the alleged victim was part of a special class, such as public servants like a law enforcement officer or first responder, or elderly above the age of 65.
- Aggravated Assault — Involves the same elements as simple assault, but also involves the use of a deadly weapon, firearm, or the intent to commit another felony or serious crime. A deadly weapon is broadly defined to include any object designed or intended to be used to inflict death or great bodily harm.. Aggravated assault is charged as a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine up to $5,000.
- Simple Battery — Involves actually and intentionally touching, striking or causing bodily harm to another person, without “aggravating factors” such as use of a weapon, serious bodily injury, or domestic violence. This definition also includes offensive touching of another person. Simple battery is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine up to $1,000.
- Felony Battery — Involves actually and intentionally striking a person and causing the victim great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement, without the conscious intent to cause such harm. Felony battery is classified as a third-degree felony, penalties include up to five years in prison or five years probation, fines up to $5,000, restitution, community service, psychological evaluations and counseling.
- Aggravated Battery — Involves actually and intentionally touching or striking another person and intentionally or knowingly causing great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement, or using a deadly weapon, or battering a woman the defendant knew or should have known was pregnant. Aggravated battery is classified as a second-degree felony, penalties include up to 15 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
- Battery on a Public Servant/Law Enforcement Officer — Unlawful threats or touching a law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical care provider, et.al.
It is worth noting that enhanced penalties apply for all assault charges if the defendant has prior felony convictions, has committed multiple offenses, or has been found to be a career criminal by the court.
Experienced Assault and Battery Defense Throughout Miami-Dade County
Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC has extensive experience defending clients against all types of assault and battery charges. Knowing that a conviction can lead to the loss of your freedom and lasting damage to your reputation, we will develop the best line of defense.
Defenses for these types of cases may vary depending on the circumstances. Asserting there was a lack of intent to commit the crime is a potential defense. Our experienced attorneys have secured acquittals on these types of cases by showing a client acted in self-defense, or that the complaining witness fabricated the entire case. Because the government ultimately has the burden of proving its case beyond all reasonable doubt, they regularly call on unreliable eyewitnesses which opens the door to a possible defense of mistaken identity.
Regardless of the circumstances, we will take the time to thoroughly understand the facts of your case and work to have the charges dismissed or to win an acquittal. We will also give you an honest assessment of the strength of the case against you, and may recommend seeking a reduction of the charges or entering into plea negotiations. Above all, we are committed to securing your freedom and protecting your rights.