People often think of assault and battery as synonymous and that they are often linked, but they are actually separate offenses and mean different things. In Florida, battery is often considered to be more severe than assault, and violent offenses may constitute either assault, battery or both.
According to Florida assault statutes, physical violence is not always necessary to constitute an assault. Instead, there only needs to be a credible threat of harm.
In Florida, there are three distinct types of assault: simple, aggravated and felony assault. As the name implies, simple assault is the least serious and is always a misdemeanor. To be charged with simple assault, prosecutors only need to prove that someone intentionally threatened another party and possessed the means to follow through.
Aggravated assault is a “wobbler” offense. This means it can be categorized as either a misdemeanor or a felony. To convict someone of aggravated assault, a prosecutor must prove the person attempted to inflict serious injury.
Felony assault is the most serious. Prosecutors must prove that serious physical injury did occur. Battery is more serious than assault. Physical contact is required to constitute battery. Battery charges in Florida include simple, felony and aggravated battery with aggravated battery being the most serious.
People facing assault or battery charges, regardless of the degree, are looking at possible jail time. Punishments range from up to 60 days for simple assault to 15 years for aggravated battery. The best thing people can do in this position is to consult a lawyer to handle their case. Experienced criminal defense attorneys can often negotiate with prosecutors for better plea deals or fight for acquittal in a trial.