Comparing Assault and Battery to Florida Domestic Violence Charges
There is no question that legal terminology can be complex and confusing, and this is definitely true about Florida criminal laws on assault, battery, and related offenses. There are multiple sections for different crimes, and the provisions offer no explanation as to how they impact domestic violence offenses. When you do not have a legal background, you could get bogged down by the subtleties in comparing assault and battery to domestic violence. Unfortunately, this means you are at a disadvantage when it comes to fighting for your rights.
The good news is that you will get your day in court if you have been arrested for any of these offenses, but certain factors make it especially important to retain a Florida domestic violence attorney as appropriate. An overview should help you understand a few key distinctions.
Florida Assault and Battery Laws: The terms are often used together and interchangeably, but assault and battery are two distinct offenses. Assault is a physical or verbal threat to cause harm to a victim, accompanied by the apparent ability to carry it out. Based on this definition, you can see that actual contact is not necessary to be arrested for assault. The threat is enough as long as the victim has a reasonable fear that violence is imminent. Assault is a Second Degree Misdemeanor, for which you could be sentenced up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Battery does involve a physical contact, typically in two different contexts. One is by intentionally striking someone, while the other usually involves intentionally causing harm through other intentional means. Battery is a First Degree Misdemeanor, punishable to a maximum of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Assault and battery are often mentioned together because they occur simultaneously – or within moments of each other. If you are arrested for both, you could be punished for both.
Domestic Violence in Florida: Assault and battery are closely tied to domestic violence, but the difference is the relationship between the perpetrator and victim. The act itself may qualify as assault, battery, or both, but the crime is more serious when the victim is a current or former:
- Domestic partner,
- Housemate; or,
- Family member by blood or marriage.
Two people may also be involved in a personal relationship if they share a child, regardless of marriage. When an individual commits assault or battery – including aggravated versions of these crimes – the sentence will typically include a mandatory minimum jail sentence. Plus, an accuser can also obtain a protective order against you, which does not mean punishment. However, you could be prevented from living in a home you share with the accuser, among other prohibitions.
Contact a Florida Domestic Violence Lawyer About Defense Options
Though assault and battery share some characteristics with domestic violence offenses, the stakes are higher if the misconduct involves personal relationships. For more information on how our team can assist with your defense, please contact Fort Lauderdale domestic violence attorney Kevin J. Kulik. We can set up a consultation to review your circumstances and discuss defense strategies.