If you are facing criminal charges for assault or battery in Tampa, Florida,
or anywhere else in the state, you could be facing serious penalties depending
on the nature of the alleged offense. In Florida, assault can be charged
as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of the case, so it
is not an offense to take lightly, especially if you
acted in self-defense.
Assault is considered a “violent crime” in Florida and so is battery. If someone gets into a physical fight
with another person, or if they somehow harm another person, they can
be charged with assault or battery under the Florida Statutes. Under Chapter
784 of the Florida Statutes, assault and battery are broken down into:
Assault under Sec. 784.011
- Aggravated assault under Sec. 784.021
- Battery under Sec. 784.03
- Felony battery under Sec. 784.041
- Aggravated battery under Sec. 784.045
Assault consists of any intentional threat or action to commit violence
against another person, coupled with the ability to carry out such a threat.
In order for a threat or act to be considered “assault,” the
actor must have done something to create a well-founded fear in the other
person that they were about to be harmed. Assault is a misdemeanor of
the second degree, punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.
Someone commits an “aggravated assault” under Sec. 784.021
when the actor intended to commit a felony, or when the actor used a deadly
weapon without the intent to kill the victim.
Aggravated assault is a felony of the third degree, punishable by up to
5 years in prison and by a fine not to exceed $5,000.
Battery and Felony Battery
In many situations, someone will get into a physical altercation and they
will be charged with battery or felony battery under sections 784.03 and
784.041 of the Florida Statutes respectively.
A person commits the offense of “battery” when they actually
touch or strike another person against his or her will. A person also
commits the offense of battery when he or she intentionally harms someone
For example, if a man gets into a fight with someone at a football game
and he punches the other man out because he let his emotions get the best
of him, he would likely be charged with battery under Sec. 784.03.
If it’s the person’s first battery offense on the books, they
would be charged with a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable by
a $500 fine. However, if the defendant was previously convicted of battery,
aggravated battery, or felony battery, then their new offense would be
a felony of the third degree.
A defendant commits felony battery under Sec. 784.041 when he or she intentionally
strikes another person against their will and they cause permanent disability,
permanent disfigurement, or great bodily harm. Felony battery is a
Felony battery is elevated to aggravated battery under Sec. 784.045 when
the actor uses a deadly weapon or when the victim is a pregnant woman.
Aggravated battery is a
felony of the second degree.
What if I was defending myself?
Often, an innocent person is attacked by another individual who is under
the influence of alcohol or drugs, in the middle of a jealous rage, or
simply mentally unstable.
In these situations, an innocent party may be attacked and when they fight
back in self-defense, they cause serious bodily injury to the person who
attacked them. Then, the innocent person ends up in jail and facing felony charges.
Sec. 776.012, people have a right to defend themselves. Under this section, “A
person is justified in using or threatening to use force, except deadly
force, against another” when he or she believes they must use such
conduct in order to defend themselves against another person’s use
of unlawful force.
If you are facing assault or battery charges after defending yourself,
we sincerely hope that you will
contact our Tampa
criminal defense firm for legal advice!