Saturday, October 1, 2016

What is an Assault or Battery?

A crime of violence is a crime in which an offender uses or threatens force upon a victim. Violent crimes may, or may not, be committed with weapons. What begins as a simple disagreement, argument or misunderstanding can quickly escalate into something more if one is not careful. If convicted, you could be subjected to county jail time, state prison, community supervision, fines and mandatory anger management enrollment.

The most common violent crimes in Florida include:
  • Assault/Aggravated Assault;
  • Battery on Law Enforcement Officer;
  • Battery/Aggravated Battery;
  • Carjacking;
  • Kidnapping;
  • Manslaughter; and
  • Murder.
An “assault” is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent. Assault is a second-degree misdemeanor, which has a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. 

Battery is defined as when a person “intentionally touches or strikes another person, without that person’s consent; or intentionally causes bodily harm to another person. Battery is a first-degree misdemeanor, which has a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail and a $1000 fine. A Second Offense Battery charge becomes a felony (3rd-degree) with a penalty of up to 5 years in jail and a maximum $5000 fine. 

Aggravated assault is an assault with a deadly weapon or with the intent to commit a felony. Assault does not require an intent to injure, only the intent to cause the victim fear of an immediate attack. For example, pointing a gun at someone to scare him or her is aggravated assault. An aggravated assault is a third-degree felony, which has a maximum penalty of 5 years in jail and a $5000 fine. 

Some common defenses to a Florida Aggravated Assault charge include:
·         No ability to carry out the threat at the time it was supposedly made
·         The victim’s fear of attack was not reasonable under the circumstances
·         You did not use a "deadly weapon"

A person commits aggravated battery who, in committing battery: intentionally or knowingly causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement; or uses a deadly weapon.
Aggravated battery includes the commission of a battery against a victim who is pregnant at the time of the offense, if the offender knew or should have known of the pregnancy. Aggravated battery is a second-degree felony, which has a maximum penalty of 15 years in jail and a $10,000 fine. 

Depending on the specific circumstances surrounding your case, some defenses may be:
  • Self-defense
  • Alibi
  • Stand Your Ground
  • Defense of Others
  • Consent or Mutual Combat
  • No intent to touch or strike
  • No intent to cause great bodily harm, disfigurement, etc.
  • Lack of knowledge of status
  • Weapon cannot be considered a deadly weapon
Great bodily harm is any harm more severe than minor or slight harm, such as minor bruises, and could include wounds that bleed profusely or require suturing, broken bones, and injuries requiring surgery.
Permanent disability is an injury that leaves a person permanently unable to function in a normal manner. A permanent limp, chronic back pain that limits a person’s activities, and permanent impairment of someone’s ability to speak, write, or perform intellectual or physical tasks are permanent disabilities.
Permanent disfigurement refers to an alteration of the physical body such as a visible scar on someone’s face or other body part, loss of a limb, or a broken bone that alters one’s physical appearance, such as a broken nose or a finger that is no longer straight.

For purposes of Florida's Aggravated Assault statute, a “deadly weapon” is a weapon that is used or threatened to be used in a way that is likely to produce death or great bodily harm. Clear examples are a knife, a car, or poison. However, an object that is not inherently dangerous but that an offender uses or threatens to use in a manner likely to cause death or great bodily harm also is considered a deadly weapon. For example, if a boot is heavy and steel-toed, it could be considered a deadly weapon if the person wearing the boots kicks or threatens to kick someone in anger.

The charges may be enhanced if the victim is a:
·         law enforcement officer or firefighter
  • emergency medical care provider
  • breath test operator while engaged in testing persons under investigation for driving while intoxicated
  • public transport employee
  • parking enforcement officer
  • licensed security officer
  • employee at a detention or commitment facility for sexually violent offenders (if the defendant knew or had reason to know the victim’s employment status),
  • code inspector (if the offender knew or had reason to know the victim’s employment status)
  • employee or investigator for the Children and Family Services Department (if the offender knew or had reason to know the victim’s employment status)
  • a person over the age of sixty-five years of age (offender need not be aware of victim’s age)
  • sports official while participating in a sporting event or immediately after the event
  • school employee or elected official (if defendant knew or had reason to know of the victim’s employee status), and
  • visitor or detainee in a jail or correctional facility (if offender is a detainee of the jail or correctional facility).
Against these persons, an aggravated assault is a second degree felony and an aggravated battery is a first degree felony. If you are looking for a dedicated, knowledgeable, and experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer, then Hines & Associates Law is here for you. To learn more about the services we provide and how we will fight for your rights, contact us now at (813) 815-0291 for a Free Consultation!

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