Know the Difference Between Assault and Battery

Written by:Julian Stroleny PortraitJulian Stroleny

Assault and Battery

The crimes labeled as assault and battery are commonly charged throughout the country and have different meanings in various jurisdictions.  In most jurisdictions assault and battery are two separate crimes and in other jurisdictions the crimes are lumped into one.  In Florida, and Miami-Dade County specifically, the crimes of assault and battery are two very different and distinguishable crimes.

What is Assault?

Assault occurs when a defendant:

  • Intentionally threatens, verbally or by physical act, another person;
  • The defendant has the apparent ability to carry out the threat; and
  • The threat creates a well-founded fear in the person that such violence is “imminent.”

A classic example of assault would be a situation where a defendant is standing in front of another person, threatens to punch the person in the face and then throws a punch in the direction of the person but misses because of bad aim.  In this situation even though the person was never actually struck by a punch, the defendant committed the crime of assault.

What is Battery?

A battery occurs when a defendant:

  1. Intentionally touches or strikes a person; or
  2. Intentionally causes bodily harm to a person.

The definition of battery is much simpler to understand than assault and so is the example. Take the example given for assault above but instead of threats and missed punches, for a battery to take place all that has to happen is the defendant walks up and intentionally punches the person.

Misdemeanor or Felony

So far in the examples we have discussed both crimes would be considered misdemeanors in Miami. However, assault and battery can easily be charged as felonies if severe bodily injury is caused, a weapon is used, or if the contact is sexual in nature, such as sexual battery.  If you have been accused of assault or battery contact a criminal defense attorney to discuss your options.  Assault and battery cases should be taken seriously to ensure your criminal record does not end up limiting opportunities later in life.

Miami Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been accused of assault or battery, contact our law office for a free consultation, (305) 615-1285. Our assault attorney in Miami will aggressively defend all violent crimes in both state and federal court.

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