When facing assault or battery charges in Florida, there are many things that can shift how you are charged under the law. The slightest factor in your case can mean the difference between a misdemeanor and fines or a felony with a lengthy prison sentence.
When facing any sort of assault charge like this, it’s important to discuss the details with a defense attorney to know exactly what you are up against.
Under Florida assault laws, assault is the most minor charge and aggravated battery is by far the most serious.
Florida Assault Laws & Penalties
The basic assault charge in Florida is classified as a second degree misdemeanor and carries a potential sentence of 60 days in jail and fines reaching $500.
You may be facing this charge if you are accused of intentionally threatening someone (by word or action) with physical harm. Whether or not you follow through on the threat, it must be possible and put the victim in fear that it is about to happen.
Ref: Fl. Statute §784.011
Aggravated Assault Laws in Florida
One step above assault is aggravated assault. This offense is an assault (as defined above involving a threat) which is committed with a deadly weapon or which is committed or with the intent to commit a felony.
This is a third degree felony charge and carries a potential five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
Ref: FL. Statute §784.021
Florida Battery Laws & Penalties
The crime of battery is different from assault in that it involves physical contact and not just threats of harm. You may be charged with this offense if you are accused of intentionally striking or touching someone without their consent, or if you intentionally cause bodily harm to another.
This is generally considered a first degree misdemeanor with a potential penalty of up to 1 year in jail and fines reaching $1,000.
However, if this isn’t your first battery charge, you could be facing a 3rd degree felony and up to 5 years in prison.
Ref: FL. Statute §784.03
Florida Aggravated Battery
The most serious of basic assault charges under Florida law is aggravated battery. This is considered a felony of the second degree which carries a potential 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
You could be facing this very serious criminal charge if it’s believed you
- Caused great bodily harm or permanent disfigurement to someone in the commission of a battery or if you used a deadly weapon to commit a battery, or
- Committed a battery against someone who was pregnant and you knew of the pregnancy.
Ref: FL. Statute §784.045
There are other factors that can influence the assault charge and potential sentence. If the victim is in law enforcement or health care, for instance, the penalty might be increased.
If you’re facing any assault charges in Florida, contact us to speak with a local criminal defense attorney.