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Do you need an assault & battery defense lawyer in Vero Beach, FL?

assault & battery

Although assault and battery are related crimes and the terms are often used simultaneously, the two are separate offenses under Florida law. Assault generally means the threat of imminent force, while battery refers to the unwanted touching of another person that causes bodily injury, including sexual assault.

If you are facing an assault or battery charge in Florida, you need reliable legal representation. Vero Beach Florida Attorney Susan Chesnutt has the experience to protect your constitutional rights and provide you with the most vigorous defense possible.

Assault

An assault is a credible threat of harm that causes a person to fear imminent harm but does not include actual physical contact between the perpetrator and the victim. Florida law establishes specific offenses for assault, depending on the severity of the crime:

  • Simple assault – a second-degree misdemeanor involving the “intentional and unlawful threat by word or act to commit violence against another person; with the apparent ability to carry through with the threat at the time it was made, and the threat created a genuine fear in the intended victim that the violence was imminent.”
  • Aggravated assault – a third-degree felony involving a threat made with a deadly weapon (knife, firearm, vehicle, or anything used to harm another person) or made with the intent to kill. An aggravated assault can also be a second-degree felony if the victim is a police officer, emergency personnel, licensed security officer, or transit worker acting in official duties when assaulted.

Battery

Under Florida law, when one person makes physical contact with another by intentionally touching or striking them without their consent, the crime of battery has been committed. As with assault, there are several degrees of battery in Florida:

  • Simple battery – a first-degree misdemeanor involving intentional, unwanted physical contact (even if the person being touched was not injured or hurt).
  • Felony battery – a third-degree felony when one person intentionally causes serious bodily harm, physical disability, or permanent disfigurement to another or commits simple battery against a police officer, EMT, firefighter, or probation officer.
  • Aggravated battery – a second-degree felony involving the actual and intentional touch or strike against the victim’s will involving the use of a deadly weapon, intentional great bodily harm, or battery committed against a pregnant woman.

A threat combined with unwanted contact can be both assault and battery, and the offenses can also be charged separately. Whether an assault & battery charge is a misdemeanor or a felon depends on whether a deadly weapon was used, the extent of the harm caused, and the perpetrator’s prior criminal record.

Defenses to a Florida Assault & Battery Charge

Just because someone is facing assault & battery charges in Florida does not mean that they will be found guilty. Some defenses to assault & battery charges in the state include:

  • Accidental use of force.
  • Lack of intent.
  • Consent was given for the physical contact.
  • Self-defense to defend oneself against harm.
  • Defense of another person as a means of protection.

Under Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, a defendant is immune from prosecution if they were not engaged in an unlawful activity when attacked by another. This law gives defendants the right to stand their ground and use justifiable force (including deadly force) to prevent death or great bodily harm to themselves or another person to prevent a forcible felony. Under the law, there is no duty to retreat before using deadly force and applies even if the person could have gotten away from the situation safely.

Contact an Experienced Florida Assault & Battery Defense Attorney Today

Whether you are facing assault or battery charges or both, you need skilled legal representation. Vero Beach Florida Attorney Susan Chesnutt, a lifelong Florida resident and former prosecutor has extensive knowledge of Florida criminal law. If you need help building a convincing assault and battery defense, contact our firm online or call 772-242-0524 today.