Our criminal attorneys in Fort Lauderdale are routinely asked if there is a difference between the criminal charge of assault and battery. As a criminal attorney practicing in Fort Lauderdale for almost 20 years, I would have to say that the confusion with regard to these two criminal offenses stems from its improper use in movies and television shows.
Assault and battery lawyers in Broward County will tell you that there certainly is a difference between the charge of assault in the charge of battery. The easiest way to quickly explain the difference is this:
A battery occurs when a defendant strikes another person and contact is made.
"An assault occurs when a defendant attempts to strike another person however, no contact is made." - Attorney William Moore
Assault and battery are not normally charged to a person for the same action according to assault and battery lawyers in Broward County. To understand this, you must understand the differences between an assault charge and a battery charge. An assault is committed when you intentionally and unlawfully threaten another person by word or action to harm or do violence to the other person and it must be "coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear" that the violence in imminent to the other person (F.S. §784.011).
A battery occurs when you intentionally touch or hit another person against their will or you intentionally cause bodily harm to another person (F.S. §784.03).
If you threaten a person with a baseball bat, or swing and miss, this may be considered assault. If you actually hit him with the bat, this may be considered battery.
A charge for a violent crime such as assault and battery can be enhanced by factors such as the relationship between the accused and the victim according to Assault and Battery lawyer William Moore. Broward County is especially tough on these types of cases. At the same time, defenses to such charges are effective and common.
If you have a prior conviction for battery, including aggravated battery or felony battery, the punishment will be aggravated. A conviction means there was a determination of guilt in your previous case, even if adjudication was withheld or you entered a plea of nolo contendere. Assault and Battery lawyers in Broward County can assist you in minimizing or even eliminating your exposure to stern sentences following your arrest.
Simple assault and battery are misdemeanors under Florida law but may be aggravated to felony charges if certain facts are alleged. For more information contact Broward County Assault & Battery Lawyer William Moore.