Although they are frequently discussed together, contrary to popular belief, assault and battery are actually two distinct crimes. Regardless of their differences, both are taken very seriously in the state of Florida. If you have been charged with either assault or battery, you are probably concerned about spending time behind bars. The penalties for both of these crimes can be severe, with sentences ranging from sixty days to 5 years.
Sarasota criminal defense attorney Erika Valcarcel with Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. understands how an assault or battery conviction could destroy your family and your career. With time spent as both a prosecutor and a defender, attorney Valcarcel is well-versed in producing winning defenses.
Call (941) 363-7900 today to see how she can keep your record clean.
Florida Assault and Battery Laws
According to Florida law, assault is a crime that involves the threat of harm that leads a victim to fear for his or her safety. The crime only qualifies as assault if the threat of harm is real and imminent. This could involve throwing objects, yelling loudly and making threats, charging, or any number of actions that could potentially lead to violence. This crime does not involve physical contact between the victim and the accused. In order to reach a conviction, the prosecution must show that the perpetrator intended to threaten, harm, or intimidate the victim. It must also be proven that the individual made the danger known through violent actions or threats.
If assault is the threat to do harm, battery is the follow-through. As soon as the perpetrator makes contact with the victim, the crime is automatically classified as battery. In battery cases, the victim’s perception of the action is critical. Even seemingly innocent, non-harmful contact, such as poking or spitting, can lead to a battery charge. If the action was against the victim’s will and seen as harmful or offensive, a battery can be charged. In order to prove a battery case, a prosecutor must prove physical contact that the victim did not consent to.
Penalties and Collateral Consequences
Simple assault and simple battery are typically filed as a second-degree misdemeanor and a first-degree misdemeanor, respectively. The criminal penalties for these violent crimes include, but are not limited to:
- Assault: A fine of up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail
- Battery: A fine of up to $1,000 and up to 1 year in jail
There are also consequences of a criminal conviction that can haunt you for life. Finding a job once you are released from jail, for example, can be all but impossible. Not many employers jump at the chance to hire someone with a criminal record. It may also be difficult to continue your education. Colleges thoroughly vet all applicants, and most scholarships are off-limits to those with conviction histories.
Defending Against Assault & Battery Charges
By far the most effective defense in assault and battery cases is claiming self-defense. Maybe you were protecting yourself or loved ones against an attack, or perhaps you were trying to prevent someone from committing a serious crime. It might also be the case that you are the victim of mistaken identity. Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable, and people are frequently accused of crimes they did not commit. With the help of an experienced lawyer, any number of defenses can be used to get your charges thrown out in court.
Let Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. Protect Your Freedom
Sarasota criminal defense attorney Erika Valcarcel believes that constructing a winning defense is done through getting to know your side of the story. When all of the details are present, they can often paint an entirely different picture. Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. will work tirelessly to get your charges reduced or dismissed, whether that requires pointing out rights violations or conducting an independent investigation.
Call (941) 363-7900 now for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case..