Hollywood Assault and Battery Defense Lawyers
Having disagreements and arguments is a normal part of life, but if an argument spirals out of control, it could result in criminal charges filed against one or both parties. And these charges can have significant, life-changing penalties if you’re convicted. Find out what you need to know about assault and battery charges and how Magilligan Law can help below.
If you’re facing assault and battery charges, call the team at Magilligan Law to find out what your options are. We have extensive experience working with clients accused of violent crimes and can help you fight back against your charges.
What Is the Difference Between Assault and Battery?
You’ve probably heard assault and battery used together or interchangeably quite a bit, but these are actually separate charges under Florida law. You can think of assault as a preparation of sorts for battery or a failed attempt at battery. Assault is when you threaten to harm someone or purposefully act in a way that causes that person to fear for their safety. Assault can also be charged if you attempt to physically harm someone but miss, such as if you were to attempt to strike someone with a bat but didn’t actually make contact. Battery, on the other hand, is when you actually physically harm someone. Battery can be through direct hand-to-hand contact or via an object, such as a stick or rock.
Both assault and battery require that you intend to cause fear or harm to the other person, which can be an important factor in defending against these charges. There are also different types of charges for both assault and battery. Simple assault or battery is less serious than a charge that’s been elevated to aggravated. It’s also possible to be charged with sexual assault or sexual battery as well.
Are Assault and Battery Misdemeanor or Felony Offenses?
Both assault and battery can be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies under Florida’s statutes. Which type of charge you could be facing depends on several factors. Simple assault and simple battery are both misdemeanors. However, both of these charges can be elevated to felonies. Aggravated assault is a felony, as is aggravated battery. If you have a previous charge of simple battery, a subsequent charge could also be elevated to the felony level.
What’s the Difference Between Simple Assault and Aggravated Assault?
In general, it’s the intensity of the crime, the type of victim, and whether a weapon was involved that can all factor in to result in an aggravated assault charge. For example, waving a knife around while threatening to kill someone would be aggravated assault, and if the victim was a minor or a member of a vulnerable group, such as the elderly or disabled, this could also increase the charge.
What Can I Be Sentenced to If I’m Convicted?
Sentences for assault and battery can vary widely based on the charge and degree. Misdemeanor charges have a potential jail sentence of up to 1 year, but felony charges can carry much stiffer penalties. Aggravated battery, for example, is a second-degree felony in Florida and can include a sentence of up to 15 years in state prison and a fine of $15,000.
How Does Florida’s Three Strikes Rule Apply?
The state of Florida has a three-strikes rule, which means that those who have been convicted of two prior violent felonies have the potential to be sentenced to life in prison if they are convicted of a third. Aggravated assault and battery fall into this category, so it’s especially important to have a strong defense strategy if you’re facing these charges. If you have a previous criminal record of violent felony convictions, your attorney may talk to you about a plea deal that could reduce your current charges to a misdemeanor or plead guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence to avoid life in prison.
Even if you don’t have any previous felony convictions, it’s important to be aware of the three-strikes rule and how it could apply in the future. Just one felony conviction is one-third of the way to the possibility of being sentenced to life in prison for future offenses, so you need to take every criminal charge seriously. If you’re not sure if you should be worried about the three-strikes rule or whether it might apply to your case, talk with a Florida criminal defense attorney.
What If It Was Self-Defense?
If you were charged with assault and battery as a result of defending yourself, talk to an attorney about your options. You do have the right to use reasonable force to protect yourself and your property from the threat of harm, but you would need to be able to show that you had a reason to fear for your safety and that the amount of force you used was reasonable for the threat. It’s also possible to show that you were acting in defense of another person. For example, if the other party was assaulting your partner and you stepped in to defend them, that could be a reasonable use of force and a solid defense strategy.
Call Our Hollywood Assault & Battery Defense Lawyers Today!
Every case is different, but no matter the circumstances, the legal team at Magilligan Law can offer legal counsel and representation if you’ve been accused of assault and battery. We help clients in Hollywood, Broward County, and the surrounding area understand what they’re up against and how they can protect their rights and interests. Call 954-866-8058 today to speak with a member of our team and find out how you can schedule a free 15-minute case evaluation.