Charged with Assault, Battery in Fort Lauderdale?
The greater Fort Lauderdale area has a large population and an active night life, which draws visitors from across the country. Sometimes, heated arguments, threats, and fights break out in the heat of the moment. Often they quickly pass and don’t seem like a big deal but they can result in criminal charges for assault and/or battery, two separate crimes.
What Are Assault and Battery?
Florida Statutes Chapter 784 defines the crimes of assault and battery. An assault occurs when a threat of harm is made by someone with the intent to carry out the harm. A swing and a miss is the classic example of assault.
A battery occurs when an actual harmful or offensive touching takes place, whether or not there was an injury. For example, if a person pushes another person, a battery has occurred, even if there was no injury to the second individual.
Simple assault and battery are misdemeanors but can become felonies if certain aggravating factors are present. Aggravating factors include use of a weapon, intent to commit a felony, prior convictions, and causing severe injury. Aggravated assault, a felony, occurs when a deadly weapon was used or where the aggressor intended to commit a felony. Felony battery occurs in a few situations including when the battery was committed by a person with a prior battery conviction and when the battery results in severe harm or disfigurement. Aggravated battery, also a felony, occurs if the battery involved use of a deadly weapon or the batterer intentionally caused severe harm or disfigurement.
How to Handle These Charges
Every assault and/or battery is different and the best approach to defending a case varies. In some cases, it can be shown that the crime wasn’t committed because all elements weren’t present. For example, battery requires intent, so if a person accidentally hits another person, the crime isn’t committed. Even where all of the elements of the crime are met there are defenses that may be applicable. One common example is consent. Think of boxing, where both boxers consent to contact by their opponent, which would otherwise be battery. Self-defense, defense of others, and in rare cases, defense of property, are also common defenses. Contact our Fort Lauderdale assault & battery attorney for further explanation into the laws.
Punishments for assault and battery range from up to 60 days in jail and a fine of $500 for a simple assault to up to 15 years imprisonment and a fine of $10,000 for aggravated battery. Additionally, even if the criminal case is unsuccessful, the alleged victim may attempt to bring a civil case for assault and/or battery in an attempt to recover money. In some cases, the potential punishment may be reduced through negotiations with the state and by entering into a plea bargain. Such an agreement could result in a reduction of charges (for example, aggravated assault to simple assault) or a lesser punishment than might result if the case went to trial (for example, no jail time).
Don’t let your future unfold without the help of a skilled litigator. Contact Fort Lauderdale assault & battery attorney Mark S. Lowry today for help in your criminal case.