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What are the penalties for assault and battery in Florida?

On Behalf of | Dec 13, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Perhaps a night out led to a disagreement or frustrations arose when driving down a busy stretch of road. Even relatively minor encounters can snowball into allegations of criminal wrongdoing.

In a recent example, an employee at a marina accused Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill of assault. The employee states an argument occurred while he was telling two women to get off a boat. During the argument, the marina worker claims Mr. Hill slapped the back of his neck. When police arrived the next day to discuss the alleged incident, the worker, who had no visible injuries, asked the police to pursue criminal charges.

This is just one of many examples of a heated exchange that can lead to allegations of assault. If you or a loved one is facing allegations of assault and battery, know that you are not alone. Assault and battery are two of the more common allegations of violent crime in Florida. According to the most recent data from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, over 60,000 people faced charges of aggravated assault in 2020 alone. Although the fact that you are not alone may provide some comfort, it is important to take the allegations seriously, as a conviction can come with serious consequences.

What is assault and battery in Florida?

The first step to understanding the situation and potential options is knowing more about the charges. In Florida, assault and battery are two separate offenses. An assault requires three parts:

  • Threat. An individual must make an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence.
  • Intent. The alleged victim must believe that the individual making the threat has the ability to follow through.
  • Fear. The incident must create a well-founded fear of imminent violence.

In contrast, a battery charge is defined as:

  • Contact. An individual makes actual and intentional contact with another person against their will; or
  • Harm. The individual intentionally causes bodily harm to the other person.

These offenses can range from misdemeanor to felony charges, depending on the details of the allegations.

What are the penalties if convicted of assault and battery in Florida?

Even relatively simple allegations of assault or battery can result in weeks in jail and hundreds of dollars in fines. If the charges include more serious allegations, the penalties can increase to aggravated assault or battery and may result in years of prison time and thousands of dollars in fines. These charges may be coupled with additional allegations of wrongdoing, leading to further penalties.

It is also important to note the impact of a criminal record. This can make it difficult to find housing, employment, and even seek higher levels of education. As a result, it is important for those accused of assault or battery in Florida take steps to protect their rights. An attorney experienced in this area of criminal defense can review your case and tailor defense strategies to help better ensure the most favorable outcome.