Oftentimes a person will say one has been “assaulted” when
touched by another, but such is an incorrect term under Florida law for
an actual touching. Basically, not to oversimplify things, but if you
are punched, then you have been battered. However, if someone swings and
misses you, then you have been assaulted. Knowing it is never wise to
oversimplify the law, though, let us look at this in a deeper light.
What is Battery?
Battery is defined as an intentional touching of another against the recipient’s
will. Whether the battery is a misdemeanor or felony will depend upon
a number of factors, such as the level of damage done, whether a deadly
weapon was used, the area touched, the age of the victim, or even one’s
prior history. For example, if a person has a prior misdemeanor battery
on one’s record, and commits what would normally be another misdemeanor
battery, the second battery can be waived up to a felony battery based
upon the prior underlying conviction. Of course, touching an individual
in a lewd or lascivious manner, regardless of whether there is sexual
penetration, is also defined as a battery sort of offense, such as capital
sexual battery if the victim is 12 years old or younger and the defendant
is 18 years or older. A victim’s age, in and of itself, can turn
what would otherwise be a misdemeanor battery into a felony, such as battering
an individual who is 65 years of age or older. And, of course, if you
use a firearm in the commission of the battery, then it is an aggravated
battery, punishable by up to life in prison per Florida’s 10-20-Life gun laws.
What is Assault?
Assault, on the other hand, is defined as intentionally and unlawfully
threatening, either by word or act, to do violence to the victim, and
at the time of the assault, appears to have the ability to carry out the
threat, resulting in the victim having a well-founded fear that violence
is about to take place. In other words, it is a long worded way of saying
if you swing at someone and miss, then you committed an assault. Of course,
whether the assault is a misdemeanor or felony will also vary based upon
the specific facts of the case. For example, pulling a gun on someone
can be prosecuted as an aggravated assault, with a mandatory prison sentence
per Florida Statute 775.087.
Oftentimes the injury is obvious following a battery, but it is possible
to have a battery with no visible bruising, as such is particularly common
with misdemeanor domestic violence offenses, such as a slap, a pushing
or shoving offense, etc. With an assault, however, it is common to have
no visible signs of injury or bruising, though one will often alternatively
look for signs of mental distress, anguish, etc.
Contact a Panama City Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you, or someone you know, has been accused of assault or battery, regardless
of the level of the offense,
contact my office immediately. These are crimes of violence, ones which will have a stigma that will
affect the rest of your life. Call today before it is too late to undo
the damage to your future.