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West Palm Beach Assault and Battery Attorney Josh LeRoy Answers 20 Top Questions on:

Assault & Battery and Related Charges

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An experienced West Palm Beach Assault and Battery attorney can make all the difference in the world when it comes to your final sentence – potentially years of your life. A few of the most common charges in the Assault and Battery category are detailed below.

What is the difference between assault and battery in Florida?

Assault and Battery charges are not the same, but they are also not mutually exclusive. They can often coincide, but one or the other can happen independently. Sentencing for these offenses is given accordingly and ranges from a misdemeanor to felony charges.
Assault is a threat of violence that creates fear in the alleged victim. Battery is the physical touching of another person against their will. For instance, an Assault is warning someone that you are about to hit them, while a Battery is actually hitting them.

What is the penalty for assault and battery in Florida?

West Palm Beach Assault and Battery Attorney
West Palm Beach Assault and Battery Attorney

The two are sentenced separately. Assaults range from second-degree misdemeanors, with 60 days in jail, to third-degree felonies, with five years in prison, depending on the allegations. On the other hand, batteries range from first-degree misdemeanors, punishable by one year in jail, to second-degree felonies, which can be enhanced to be punishable by life imprisonment.

What are the elements of assault and battery in Florida?

Yes. There are varying degrees of Battery or Assault, depending on the allegations. Aggravated Assault is a third-degree felony, which includes using a deadly weapon. Felony Battery is the striking of someone that causes serious bodily harm or permanent disability and is a third-degree felony.

Aggravated Battery is the intentional infliction of severe bodily harm or permanent disability to another and is a second-degree felony. If a firearm is used in either an Assault or a Battery, mandatory prison sentences of 3 years or 10 years, respectively, apply. If a firearm is discharged in an Assault or Battery case, the mandatory penalties continue to increase.

  • VIDEO: Assault vs Battery (summary)

  • I have been charged with Misdemeanor Assault: F.S. 784.011. How will a West Palm Beach Assault and Battery Attorney help me?

    What is considered an assault?

    In Florida, a misdemeanor Assault is an intentional threat to do immediate harm to another person. An Assault includes actions or words that make a person afraid of possible violence.

    Speaking in an angry tone, threats of violence can constitute Assault, while actual physical contact, including violence (punching, kicking, slapping, or even touching), is defined as the crime of Battery. Sometimes, in the heat of a disagreement, a person says things that they do not mean. Anger or emotions can sometimes take over.

    What is the punishment for assault in Florida?

    West Palm Beach Assault & Battery Attorney
    West Palm Beach Assault & Battery Attorney

    The penalties for Assault, a second-degree misdemeanor, are up to 60 days in jail, a $500 fine, or probation of up to 180 days.

    If the victim of the Assault is a “special victim,” the possible punishment increases. Some of these “special victims” include law enforcement officers, medical providers, security officers, and employees at detention facilities.

    In most cases, these victims must currently perform those employment duties to be considered special victims.

    Furthermore, suppose the victim is over 65, an employee of the Department of Children and Family (DCF), a school employee, an elected official, or a visitor in jail, and the defendant had reason to know of the victim’s employment status. In that case, they are also considered “special victims.”

    Often, verbal disputes are mistaken for assaults. In those cases, law enforcement is called and routinely misinterprets the facts, resulting in a criminal charge of Assault for one person.

    When a client is charged with simple Assault, depending on a client’s history and the particular facts of the case, a dismissal of the charges is possible. It is possible for a similar outcome for felony charges, but typically much more difficult to obtain. Reach out to Josh, he is a talented West Palm Beach Assault and battery attorney with over a decade of experience in Palm Beach County courts. He will listen to your story and give you an honest assessment of your best option.

  • VIDEO: What is considered Assault by Florida Law? (summary)

  • What should I know about the difference between Assault vs. Aggravated Assault (F.S. 784.021+)? How will a West Palm Beach Assault Attorney help me?

    What is aggravated assault in Florida?

    An Assault charge is an action or verbal threat meant to make someone fearful of violence. Simply verbally threatening to harm someone immediately is an Assault. You don’t have to lay a finger on them! Sticks and stones may break their bones, and your words won’t hurt them, but they can certainly hurt you.

    Aggravated Assault - F.S. 784.021+
    Aggravated Assault – F.S. 784.021+

    A simple Assault, meaning an Assault not involving a deadly weapon or gun, is a second-degree misdemeanor.

    Aggravated Assault takes that one step further and involves using a deadly weapon to threaten or make someone afraid – i.e., holding a knife out at someone to make them afraid.

    Or, in an Aggravated Assault, the defendant’s intent to commit a felony is what it boils down to. It must be proven by the circumstances involved or verbal statements made by the defendant that that was the case.

    What is the punishment for aggravated assault in West Palm Beach?

    The consequences for Aggravated Assault are a maximum of 5 years imprisonment or probation and a maximum of a $5k fine. The importance of finding a skilled West Palm Beach  Aggravated Assault attorney cannot be understated. An experienced Assault and battery lawyer like Josh can save years of your life from prison.

    What are the defenses for aggravated assault in West Palm Beach?

    A possible defense in a charge of Aggravated Assault is self-defense or the defense of another person. It is difficult to prove the mindset of either the defendant or alleged victims during the incident (i.e., whether or not the victims had a reason to feel afraid or whether the defendant had intentionally committed the felony).

    In the heat of a disagreement, we may all say things we do not mean. Anger or emotions can sometimes take over. In stressful situations’ losing your cool is a natural human reaction – and we are all human. It is a mistake we make. Just don’t aggravate that mistake with an Aggravated Assault on your record!

    Any Assault is considered a crime of violence. You do not want a conviction for it.

    There are many defenses to an Aggravated Assault case, and if you have been charged, you must say nothing until you consult a good aggravated assault defense lawyer. A conviction has harsh consequences if the proper steps are not taken to ensure you present the best possible defense.

    What’s the Statute of Limitations to record a claim for Aggravated Assault in Florida?

    Three years.

    What are “permanent disability” and “great bodily harm”?

    Bodily harm is any damage more severe than minor or slight damage, for example, small wounds. It could incorporate injuries that have bled seriously and need suturing, injured bones, and wounds needing surgery.

    What’s a Deadly Weapon?

    An item that is innately destructive or hazardous, for example, a gun, blade, or unsafe toxic substance, is a deadly weapon. An article that is not characteristically dangerous but that a guilty party uses or deliberates to use in a way liable to bring about death or great bodily harm is likewise viewed as a dangerous weapon.

    Suppose a boot is big and steel-toed, for instance, and the individual wearing the boots kicks or intends to kick somebody in outrage. In that case, the activity could be charged as a Battery or an attack with a dangerous weapon because the wrongdoer utilized the boots as part of a way that could bring about real damage or even murder the victim.

  • VIDEO: Assault vs Aggravated Assault (summary)

  • I have been charged with a Misdemeanor Battery charge: F.S. 784.03. How will a West Palm Beach Battery Attorney help me?

    What is the Charge of Battery?

    A Battery is defined as the intentional touching of another person against their will or intentionally causing physical harm to another person. Battery is a first-degree misdemeanor.

    Battery is charged as a “Domestic Battery” when the parties involved in the case are family members, spouses, former spouses, persons with children in common, persons who live together like a family, and persons dating.

    Despite also being a first-degree misdemeanor, “Domestic Battery” is a crime that prosecutors take very seriously and is prosecuted more harshly than a simple Battery.

    Is battery a felony in Florida?

    Misdemeanor Battery – F.S. 784.03
    Misdemeanor Battery – F.S. 784.03

    If a person has a prior conviction for Battery, a misdemeanor Battery can be charged as a third-degree felony, FELONY BATTERY.

    Is it still considered a “Battery” if the other person was not hurt in Palm Beach County?

    Yes. A Battery charge only requires an allegation of touching another person, or “victim,” against their will.

    What is an example of battery?

    Whether the “victim” is actually injured or hurt is not a necessary element of the misdemeanor charge. The question is simple, “Was the victim touched, and did he/she want to be touched.”

    The question regarding the severity of the injuries suffered by “the victim” differentiates a misdemeanor Battery charge from the felony charges of AGGRAVATED BATTERY or FELONY BATTERY.

    The key to defending a misdemeanor Battery charge is to examine whether the touching was intentional as opposed to accidental and/or was the touching justified, i.e., an act of self-defense.

    Additionally, throwing objects and/or spitting at “the victim” can be considered a Battery.

    Are the charges the same regardless of who the victim is?

    Like an Assault charge, a Battery charge can be enhanced from a misdemeanor to a felony if the Battery is toward certain “special victims.” These victims include law enforcement, those over 65, and children.

    What is the difference between a “simple Battery” and a “domestic Battery” in West Palm Beach?

    The relationship between the two parties involved in the Battery determines whether it is charged as a Battery or a domestic Battery. A domestic Battery has far-reaching consequences beyond immediate punishment, including prevention from ever being able to own a firearm.

    What is the penalty for battery in Florida?

    In Florida, Battery is a misdemeanor of the first degree. The penalties include up to twelve (12) months in the county jail or on probation, in addition to a $1,000 fine.

  • VIDEO: What is considered Battery by Florida Law? (summary)

  • How serious is an Aggravated Battery charge (F.S. 784.045)?

    What does aggravated battery mean in Florida?

    An Aggravated Battery charge differs from a regular misdemeanor Battery in that a Battery is touching or striking another person without them wanting you to. Whereas, aggravated Battery is when the person struck suffers a permanent disability, permanent disfigurement, or great bodily harm. The use of a deadly weapon or striking a woman who is pregnant also constitutes Aggravated Battery.

    What’s the definition for aggravated battery?

    To be convicted of Aggravated Battery, the State must prove either, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the alleged victim was intentionally struck by the accused and was intentionally harmed by the accused or that the accused used a deadly weapon, i.e., a knife, pipe, crowbar, wrench or firearm to strike the other person.

    If a firearm is used, there is a minimum 10-year prison sentence. If the gun is discharged, there is a mandatory 20-year prison sentence; and if a firearm is discharged and causes injury to the victim, there is a mandatory 25-year prison sentence.

    One of the strongest defenses to any battery charge is SELF-DEFENSE If the accused felt that his/her life or someone else’s life was threatened, that harm was imminent and subsequently attempted to defend himself/herself or others, then the actions may be justified. The accused may be entitled to immunity.

    What is the punishment for aggravated battery in Florida?

    There are severe consequences for a conviction of Aggravated Battery. Aggravated Battery is a 2nd-degree felony, the consequences of which are a maximum of 15 years jail time and a maximum of $10k in fines. The involvement of a weapon, the degree of injuries suffered by the victim, and a person’s criminal history play a significant role in your case.

    To discuss the allegations and any possible defenses to an Aggravated Battery charge, make sure you contact a good assault and battery attorney with experience in the Palm Beach County court system.

    Aggravated Battery – F.S. 784.045+
    Aggravated Battery – F.S. 784.045+

    Did the object used to create the offense constitute a “deadly weapon”?

    The Florida Jury Instructions for §784.045(1)(a) state, “a “deadly weapon” is any objection that will likely cause death or great bodily harm if used or threatened to be used in the ordinary and usual manner contemplated by its design and construction.” Additionally, “[a]n object not designed to inflict bodily harm may nonetheless be a “deadly weapon” if it was used or threatened to be used in a manner likely to cause death or great bodily harm.

    What type of injury is considered “great bodily harm”?

    “Great bodily harm” is different from slight, trivial, minor, or moderate harm and does not include bruising. Whether a victim suffered “great bodily harm” is usually up to the jury to decide. Thus, a defense to an Aggravated Battery Charge is that the victim didn’t suffer “great bodily harm” meaning the victim did not suffer any form of permanent injury or the victim required no medical care to treat his/her injuries.

    Isn’t it a defense if a person was acting in SELF-DEFENSE or the DEFENSE of another?

    YES. Self-defense is an affirmative defense. The accused may be entitled to statutory immunity, meaning a dismissal of all charges by the judge, if that person was acting in SELF-DEFENSE or the DEFENSE of another. A person is permitted to defend themselves. A person is also permitted to defend another person. When self-defense or defense of another is asserted by the accused, the State Attorney has to prove that the accused was not acting in self-defense or the defense of another. Often, that is hard for the State Attorney to do.

    What is Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Law?

    Recent Florida statutes changed a person’s obligation to retreat before using force to defend themselves or others, including the use of deadly force. “Stand Your Ground” permits the accused to challenge the legality of his/her use of force pre-trial. A Motion to Dismiss must be filed, and a hearing must be held before the judge to determine if the accused was justified in his/her use of force.

    We have filed numerous Motions to Dismiss arguing Stand Your Ground for clients.

  • VIDEO: What is the difference between Simple Battery vs. Aggravated Battery?

  • VIDEO: Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law

  • What can a West Palm Beach Assault and Battery Attorney do for a Battery on a Pregnant Person charge?

    Florida law describes the crime of Battery on a Pregnant Person as the commission of a Battery on a woman who is pregnant, whom the perpetrator knew, or should have known that the woman was pregnant. (“Battery” is intentionally touching or striking someone against their will).

    Battery on a Pregnant Person is regarded by Florida law as a form of Aggravated Battery, a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. A defendant convicted of this offense faces a mandatory minimum sentence of a year and a half in state prison. The term only increases if the perpetrator has any prior convictions.

    However, if the defendant’s lawyer can prove certain “mitigating” factors, the judge may be able to “depart” from the mandatory term and impose a lesser sentence.

    Battery on a Pregnant Person, F.S. 784.945(2)(b)
    Battery on a Pregnant Person, F.S. 784.945(2)(b)

    Is it a defense if I did not know the victim was pregnant?

    Yes. It would be a defense to the charge if you did not know the victim was pregnant at the time of the incident.

    Unless the defendant knew the victim (and so should have known she was pregnant) or the victim showed visible signs of her pregnancy, it could be difficult for the State to prosecute this offense successfully.

    In other words, if you did not know the victim was pregnant, the legal question becomes, should you have known?

    Are there lesser offenses I could plead to avoid a prison sentence?

    As with many criminal offenses under Florida law, sometimes the State will allow a defendant charged with Aggravated Battery to plead guilty to a lesser charge to resolve the case.

    In this way, the State obtains a desired conviction yet eliminates the extraordinary work, and risk of loss, that a trial imposes. Whether the State does so or not depends upon certain variables: the facts of the particular case, as well as the disposition of the assistant state attorney assigned to prosecute the case.

    Aggravated Battery, at the choice of the State, can be reduced to felony Battery, a third-degree felony, or misdemeanor Battery, a first-degree misdemeanor.

  • Related Cases


      • The Incident: The client allegedly robbed a pain clinic after being denied medication.
      • The Accused: The client signed into the clinic as a patient that morning and paid the visitation fee in cash. After waiting to be seen, the clinic refused to see him. He had been accused of doctor shopping, alleging that my client attempted to obtain multiple prescriptions for the same pain medicine from multiple clinics. After an extended period, he left, swearing that he would get his money back.
      • The Evidence: The Incident was captured on video. My client was clearly present on the video in the waiting room before the robbery. He repeatedly approached the front counter to inquire about the delay in being seen by the doctor. The client left the clinic. A short time later, the video surveillance shows that a man wearing a dark sweatshirt carrying a revolver entered the clinic. He kicked down the door separating the waiting room from the examination rooms. He fought with the doctor, repeatedly hitting him with the gun, pointing it at him, and pulling the trigger; the gun did not fire. The man entered the front office, where a nurse was hiding behind the door, and grabbed a pile of cash and a bank deposit bag before fleeing. The man ran out the back door into a trailer park behind the business. Thereupon, two women standing in their kitchen watched as the man removed the hoodie and hid it under an abandoned trailer before being picked up by a silver car. The woman called 911 and gave the license plate information. The vehicle was tracked to a local apartment building, where soon after, a SWAT team surrounded the building and ordered the occupants out. When ordered out by SWAT, the other males complied, but my client refused. However, eventually, he was taken into custody. The women from the trailer park were brought to the scene and identified the client as the man who had removed and hidden the hoodie earlier. The nurse also identified my client as the man she saw in the office taking the money. Inside the apartment, police located the bank deposit bag from the clinic, cash, and a revolver.
    • The Charges: Robbery with a Firearm, Burglary while Armed with a Firearm, Aggravated Battery with a Firearm
    • My Counsel & Defense: I argued before the jury that the client was obviously upset that he was refused medical care but had no part in the crimes, which another person committed.
    • The VERDICT: Upon the jury returning The VERDICT of Not Guilty, the remaining charge of being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm was dismissed. – NOT GUILTY

    related laws:
    Aggravated Battery


    • The Incident: The client’s third offense was when a firearm was discharged at a home.
    • The Accused: I was hired late in the case to take over for the client. He was clearly the car’s driver involved in the shooting and may have also fired a gun.
    • The Charges: Aggravated Assault with Discharge and Shooting into a Building. He was facing a mandatory sentence of twenty (20) years in prison because the case involved the discharging of a firearm.
    • My Counsel & Defense: Within months of taking over, I negotiated a settlement agreement whereby my client pleaded to the lessor charges of Aggravated Assault with a Weapon and Discharging a Firearm in Public.
    • The VERDICT: My Client was sentenced to a total of 365 days in the Palm Beach County Jail, leaving him about two weeks to serve from the date of the plea.

    Related laws:
    Discharging a Firearm in Public

  • VIDEO: Assault Case Outcome

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