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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 that fall in the assault and battery category are detailed below.

What Should I Know about Assault and Battery before Hiring a West Palm Beach Assault and Battery Attorney?

Assault and battery charges are not the same, but they are also not mutually exclusive. They can often occur simultaneously, but one or the other can happen on its own. Sentencing for these offenses is given accordingly and ranges from a misdemeanor to felony charges.

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

What is the difference between assault and Battery?

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 are the penalties for Assault & Battery in Palm Beach County?

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

Are there degrees of assault or Battery?

Yes. There are varying degrees of Battery or assault, depending on the allegations. Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony, which includes the use of 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 ten years, respectively, apply. If a firearm is discharged in an assault or battery case, the mandatory penalties continue to increase.

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

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.

Threats of violence, speaking in an angry tone, 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.

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 is increased. Some of these “special victims” include law enforcement officers, medical providers, security officers, and employees at detention facilities.

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

Furthermore, if 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, 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.

Before contacting an Assault and Battery Attorney, what should I know about Aggravated Assault (F.S. 784.021+)?

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 indeed 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. (Click here for detailed info on simple assault)

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

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.

The consequences for aggravated assault are a maximum of 5 years imprisonment or probation and a maximum of $5k fine. If a firearm is fired, there is a mandatory maximum 20-year sentence. If the firearm is not discharged but is still present, there is a mandatory 3-year jail sentence.

A possible defense in a charge of aggravated assault is self-defense or 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 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 criminal 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?

Four 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, and 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.

Should I hire a West Palm Beach Assault and Battery Attorney for a Misdemeanor Battery charge (F.S. 784.03)?

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.

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.

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/her 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”?

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 are the consequences of a misdemeanor battery charge?

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.

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

An Aggravated battery charge differs from regular misdemeanor battery in that Battery is touching or striking another person without them wanting you to.

Aggravated Battery is caused when the person who was hit suffers a disability, disfigurement, or serious bodily harm, because of your action. The use of a deadly weapon or striking a woman who is pregnant also constitutes aggravated Battery.

To get an aggravated battery conviction, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the alleged victim was caused harm by the defendant intentionally. 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.

If a firearm is used, there is a minimum of 10 years sentence. If the gun is discharged, there are up to 20 years of jail time, and if the firearm is discharged and causes injury to the victim, there is up to 25-year imprisonment.

The best defense against an aggravated battery charge is self-defense. If you felt that your life or someone else’s life was threatened, that the altercation was mutual, and subsequently attempted to defend yourself or others, that may be a justifiable defense. Intent to harm another person is challenging to prove in a court without substantial evidence.

Because of the high rate of aggravated battery charges, there are severe consequences for a conviction of aggravated Battery. The involvement of a weapon, your true intent, and whether you have been convicted of previous similar crimes play a significant role in your case. To receive the defenses you deserve, contact a criminal lawyer to find out your possible courses of action and all possible defenses to an aggravated battery charge.

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

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

Florida Juries say, “A weapon is a ‘dangerous weapon’ on the off chance that it is utilized or threatened to be utilized as a part of a plan liable to create demise or great bodily harm.”

In any case, each case is distinctive. For instance, the courts have held that a broom, a fork, an immobilizer, a B.B. weapon, a skateboard tossed at a vehicle, a window box loaded with dirt, or a blockade hurled at a victim.

If the victim endures damage, does it correspond to the standards needed by Florida law?

Courts have stated that “great bodily harm ought to be recognized from slight, unimportant, minor or even small damage.” The State should demonstrate “more than the alleged victim endured some injury.”

Our team must examine whether or not the victim looked for or obliged medicinal treatment and explore the degree or nature of the damage.

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

Florida Juries say, “A weapon is a ‘dangerous weapon’ on the off chance that it is utilized or threatened to be utilized as a part of a plan liable to create demise or great bodily harm.” In any case, each case is distinctive.

For instance, the courts have held that a broom, a fork, an immobilizer, a B.B. weapon, a skateboard tossed at a vehicle, a window box loaded with dirt, or a blockade hurled at a victim.

If the victim endures damage, does it correspond to the standards needed by Florida law?

Courts have stated that “great bodily harm ought to be recognized from slight, unimportant, minor or even small damage.” The State should demonstrate “more than the alleged victim endured some injury.”

Our team must examine whether or not the victim looked for or obliged medicinal treatment and explore the degree or nature of the damage.

What if you were acting in self-preservation or with regard to another?

It is absolutely suitable to defend yourself against someone else’s unlawful assault. It is additionally lawful to shield someone else from injury. Self-preservation is an agreed defense and constitutes a valid defense to an aggravated battery charge.

Now and again, our office can show that the assumed victim was really the starting assailant in the occurrence. You require an accomplished Florida criminal defense lawyer to consider the victim’s criminal history.

Occasionally, it is additionally necessary to raise an issue concerning the uniqueness in size and shape between the two.

Could you declare Florida’s “Stand your Ground” Law?

Various statutes took away the previous obligation to withdraw and legitimizes the utilization of lethal force in specific situations. This zone of the law is complicated and has been deciphered contrastingly all through Florida.

It is necessary to counsel with an accomplished Florida criminal defense lawyer, keeping in mind the end goal to determine whether this protection is needed in your specific case.

Will the episode be described as “mutual combat”?

Suppose both persons deliberately consent to participate in a battle or a fight. In that case, we can call attention to the fact that neither one of the individuals is qualified for a complaint about the subsequent contact or damage.

Generally, as in a round of football, the parties had each assented to the contact. We might be able to persuade a jury or judge to see your case in a substantially better light if the incident was created from an invitation to fight.

It is absolutely suitable to defend yourself against someone else’s unlawful assault. It is additionally lawful to shield someone else from injury. Self-preservation is an agreed defense and constitutes a valid defense to an aggravated battery charge.

Now and again, our office can show that the assumed victim was really the starting assailant in the occurrence. You require an accomplished Florida criminal defense lawyer to consider the victim’s criminal history.

Occasionally, it is additionally necessary to raise an issue concerning the uniqueness in size and shape between the two.

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, who 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 was showing 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 depend 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

FELONY BURGLARY, ARMED ROBBERY & AGGRAVATED BATTERY

    • 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 women 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 hid 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 were committed by another person.
  • 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:
Robbery
Burglary
Aggravated Battery

CASE: DISCHARGING A FIREARM & AGGRAVATED ASSAULT

  • 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 driver of the car 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

Charged? Call West Palm Beach Assault and Battery Attorney Josh LeRoy Because Experience Wins. Can You Afford to Lose?

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