Assault / Battery
When it comes to violent crime in Florida, assault and battery are often confused as the same offense. Actually, the two charges are very different and therefore come with very different penalties. Though assault is perceived as the actual act of violence, simply put, it is only the threat of imminent violence whereas battery is the actual act of violence.
Having a conviction for assault or battery on your record may result in you receiving a violent offender classification in addition to the jail or prison times and fines – which can severely affect your future. An experienced West Palm Beach violent crime defense attorney can fight to protect your rights and future from an assault or battery conviction in Palm Beach County.
West Palm Beach Assault and Battery Defense Attorney
Understanding your specific alleged offense is important when facing charges of assault or battery in the West Palm Beach area. If you have been arrested for assault or battery anywhere in Palm Beach County, including West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Greenacres, Jupiter, Lake Worth, Palm Beach Gardens, Riviera Beach, Royal Palm Beach, and Wellington and are considering an attorney, it is best to contact your experienced West Palm Beach violent crime defense lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest.
Andrew Stine has over 10 years of experience helping criminal defense clients like you, including time spent passionately helping those most in need as a public defender. Additionally, as a former army medic, he has a militant attention to detail and ability to think quickly on his feet that could be an asset to your Palm Beach County assault or battery case. To find out how Andrew D. Stine, P.A. might be able to help your Boca Raton area assault or battery case, call 561-832-1170 today and schedule your free initial case consultation.
Florida Definitions and Penalties for Assault and Battery
Because assault and battery are sometimes used interchangeably in common language, the legal definitions for assault and battery in Florida can sometimes come as a surprise to an alleged offender. According to Fla. Stat. § 784.011, assault is an illegal and intentional threat through words or action to commit violence on another person with the obvious ability to follow through, which causes a reasonable amount of fear in the recipient. Assault is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and/or up to $500 in fines.
Battery is what most people think of as assault, and is governed by Fla. Stat. § 784.03. This law defines battery as when a person actually and intentionally strikes or touches their victim against the victim's will. It is also considered battery when a person intentionally causes bodily harm to another person. In Florida, battery is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up a year in jail and/or $1,000 in fines. Both assault and battery are serious charges for which a conviction can seriously impact your future. An experienced Palm Beach County violent crime attorney can fight to protect your rights and work for a favorable outcome in your case.
Reclassification of Assault and Battery Due to Certain Circumstances
There are some circumstances in Florida assault and battery cases that reclassify the offense to a higher degree. These upgraded charges are important to consider, because certain circumstances can make an otherwise simple assault or battery charge a more punitive misdemeanor or felony offense with more elements to defend against. Working with an experienced West Palm Beach violent crime defense lawyer is highly recommended if your assault or battery case includes any of the following circumstances:
- Assault or battery of a law enforcement officer: Fla. Stat. § 784.07 – Includes assault or battery on a firefighter, police officer, emergency medical technician, and other law enforcement or emergency personnel. Assault becomes a first-degree misdemeanor and battery becomes a third-degree felony.
- Assault or battery on a staff member of a sex offender detention facility: Fla. Stat. § 784.074 – Assault on personnel engaged in his or her job duties at a detention center or commitment facility for sex offenders is a first-degree misdemeanor. Battery under these same circumstances becomes a third-degree felony
- Battery on juvenile detention center employees: Fla. Stat. § 784.075 – Includes battery committed on juvenile probation officers and health services personnel like psychiatrists and psychologists employed by the detention center. Battery in these circumstances is upgraded to a third-degree felony
- Battery of corrections officer or corrections employee with bodily fluid: Fla. Stat. § 784.078 – Battery is reclassified as a third-degree felony when an inmate of a corrections facility threatens, alarms, or causes an employee of the jail or prison (such as a prison guard) to come in contact with blood, partially-digested food, saliva, semen, urine, or feces through throwing, expelling, or any other means.
- Assault or battery on victim 65 years of age or older: Fla. Stat. § 784.08 – When the victim of assault or battery is 65 years old or older, assault is reclassified as a first-degree misdemeanor and battery is reclassified as a third-degree felony.
- Assault or battery on certain officials and employees: Fla. Stat. § 784.081 – Assault and battery are reclassed as a first-degree misdemeanor and third-degree felony, respectively, if the victim of the assault or battery is specified by this statute. This law includes assault and battery on umpires, referees, teachers, principals, school counselors, professors, DCFS investigators, and health inspectors.
- Assault or battery by an inmate on a visitor or another inmate: Fla. Stat. § 784.082 – When an inmate of a corrections facility such as a prison or jail commits assault or battery on another inmate of the facility or on a visitor to the facility, assault is upgraded to a first-degree misdemeanor and battery is upgraded to a third-degree felony.
- Assault or battery on a code inspector: Fla. Stat. § 784.083 – Assault is regraded as a first-degree misdemeanor and battery as a third-degree felony when it is committed on a code inspector. A code inspector is an authorized agent or employee of the city or county who is responsible for checking for code compliance, such as a building code inspector or safety code inspector.
- Battery of a minor or child with bodily fluid: Fla. Stat. § 784.085 – When battery is committed on a child or minor under the age of 18 through causing or attempting to cause that minor or child to come into contact with blood, semen, urine, or feces by throwing, tossing, projecting, or expelling it at or on the child or minor, the offense is increased to a felony of the third degree.
Andrew D. Stine, P.A. | Assault and Battery Defense Lawyer in Palm Beach County
If you have been arrested and charged with assault or battery anywhere in Palm Beach County, including West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Greenacres, Jupiter, Lake Park, Lantana, North Palm Beach, Pahokee, Palm Beach, Palm Springs, Tequesta, and the surrounding areas, contact Andrew D. Stine, P.A.. Experienced violent crime defense attorney Andrew Stine knows what it takes to help clients like you defeat assault and battery charges in Palm Beach County, and is passionate about it. Your first consultation with Andrew D. Stine, P.A. is free, so call 561-832-1170 today and schedule yours.