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Florida Assault And Battery Charges Explained

aggravated-assaultA second man has been arrested for an alleged attack on a man in March at the Rib Roundup concert in suburban West Palm Beach.

Daniel Cavanagh, 26, of Jupiter, was arrested late Wednesday on a charge of felony battery for his alleged role in a March 9 attack that left a Cruzan Amphitheatre security employee with permanent facial disfigurement. He was released from the Palm Beach County Jail Thursday on $10,000 bond.

Cory Tharpe, 25, was arrested the night of the alleged incident. Tharpe, who was later released on bail, is also facing a battery charge.

According to a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office arrest report, a Cruzan security employee was trying to break up a fight and pull Tharpe off a coworker when Cavanagh intervened. Source

Assault And Battery Criminal Charges

Although assault and battery are often related crimes and discussed together, the two are actually distinct offenses. Florida state laws define the two crimes separately.


Assault refers to a threat of harm that leads to the victim’s fear of imminent harm. The offense does not include physical contact between the perpetrator and the victim. To establish a case of assault, a state prosecutor must prove several legal elements. First, the prosecutor must show that the defendant intended to threaten the victim, cause the victim to feel fear, or carry out a violent act. If the defendant can show a lack of criminal intent because the act was an accident or a joke, the state may encounter difficulties with the case. The prosecutor must also show that the defendant demonstrated the threat through words, a gesture, or an intimidating act. The defendant must have shown an ability to carry out the threat and the victim must have feared imminent harm.

Florida statutes establish specific offenses for simple assault, aggravated assault, and felony assault. The severity of the offense and the potential punishment depends on the type of assault charged by the state prosecutor. While each assault offense includes the same basic elements, the prosecutor must establish additional elements for aggravated assault and felony assault. For example, an aggravated felony requires an intent to commit a felony or the use of a deadly weapon.


When the defendant makes physical contact with the victim, Florida state laws allow for prosecution of the act as a battery. To prove a battery case, the prosecutor must show that the defendant intentionally touched or struck the victim. The physical contact must have been against the victim’s will and done without the victim’s consent.

As with assault, Florida law establishes several types of battery. Simple battery only requires an intentional, unwanted physical contact between the defendant and the victim. If the defendant has a previous conviction for battery, state laws permit the prosecutor to charge the defendant with felony battery for a subsequent offense. To prove aggravated battery, the prosecutor must show that the defendant intended to cause serious bodily injury to the victim or that the defendant used a deadly weapon. Source

Penalties For Different Assault Charges

The circumstances of your case are different, and should be considered when dealing with charges. If you are charged with Aggravated Assault you can face one or all of these punishments:

  • Up to five (5) years in prison.
  • Up to five (5) years of probation.
  • Up to $5,000 in fines.

The charge of Assault carries with it more lenient penalties though, and can be an alternative to Aggravated Assault if defended properly. As Assault is a misdemeanor, punishment can include one or all of these:

  • Up to sixty (60) days in jail.
  • Up to six (6) months of probation.
  • Up to $500 in fines.

With both Assault and Aggravated Assault, if you use a deadly weapon (such as a firearm), or assault a public safety officer, you can face additional charges.

Penalties For Battery Charges

If you are convicted of Misdemeanor Battery, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Up to 1 year of probation
  • Up to $1,000 in fines

A conviction of Felony Battery is punishable by any combination of:

  • Up to 5 years in prison
  • Up to 5 years of probation
  • Up to $5,000 in fines

Should your charge of Aggravated Battery result in a conviction, you will receive a minimum sentence of 21 months in prison and any combination the judge sees fit from:

  • Up to 15 years in prison
  • Up to 15 years of probation
  • Up to $10,000 in fines
West Palm Beach Aggravated Battery Defense Attorney

At the law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., in West Palm Beach, Florida, we represent people charged with aggravated battery and assault. Circumstances leading to this charge include assault or battery involving:

  • Firearms
  • Victims over the age 64
  • Victims under the age of 18
  • Severe injuries, such as broken bones, serious scars, or disfigurement

If you were charged with aggravated battery, it is important to contact a lawyer that understands the seriousness of the charge and knows how to defend against it. At Andrew D. Stine, P.A. Law Office we have extensive experience representing people charged with aggravated assault and battery. Our defense team reviews the evidence and conducts private investigations in order to find holes in the prosecution’s case.

In Florida criminal law, a motive to hurt another individual is a major factor in the prosecution’s case. If you had no motive to seriously injure another person, the charges can be reduced or dropped. Attorney Andrew Stine has handled many aggravated battery and assault cases. He can often identify the true motive behind the charge, including lying to win a child custody battle or property dispute.

Reducing the Consequences of Aggravated Battery

Aggravated battery charges result in serious penalties, including a mandatory minimum prison sentence of three years for pointing a gun at someone. If the gun is fired, the minimum sentence is 20 years. If the victim dies, our clients face life in prison.

We encourage our clients to immediately complete community service hours, enter a gun safety course and write a letter of apology to the victim. By being proactive, show the prosecution your true character and work with them to reduce some of the consequences.

Free consultation 24/7: Call West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine, P.A. at (561) 832-1170. Se habla español.

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