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Assault vs. Battery: What is the Difference?


You may have heard the term “assault and battery,” but what exactly is it? If you’re like many people, you may think it’s just one crime. It’s actually two different crimes — assault and battery — but people are often charged with both at the same time.

Under Florida law, you may be charged with one or both. Assault is verbal in nature, while battery is physical. For example, if you tell someone you will slap their face, you have committed assault. If you do actually slap the person’s face, you have engaged in contact with the person and committed battery.

Assault and battery are typically misdemeanors, but can be felonies in aggravated forms. In any case, you can face serious penalties that can affect your life in many ways. Here’s what you need to know about these crimes.

What is Assault? 

Assault refers to the act of causing someone to reasonably fear for their lives. This must be a verbal threat or something a reasonable person would foresee as threatening to them. In its basic form, assault is a second-degree misdemeanor. It is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Assault becomes aggravated if a person uses a weapon with the intent to commit another felony offense, such as robbery or home invasion. Even if the person simply displayed a weapon without using it, it can be aggravated assault. Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony. Punishment may include five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

 What is Battery?

Battery occurs when the perpetrator causes bodily harm to another person. Even making physical contact without the victim’s consent can be considered battery. For example, inappropriate touching of a person’s breasts, buttocks, or genital areas would be considered sexual battery.

Battery does not have to lead to serious injury. Any type of touching that the victim considers harmful or offensive can be considered battery. For example, if a person pours a mug of hot water on someone, this could be battery. A situation that does not result in pain or injury is when the perpetrator spits on the victim. This is offensive conduct that can be charged as battery.

Battery is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Aggravated battery occurs when the offender uses a weapon or intends to inflict significant bodily harm, disability, or disfigurement. If the victim is pregnant,this is also considered aggravated battery. This is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Contact Us Today

Some crimes can be confusing, so if you are being accused of one, make sure you know what you’re facing. Assault and battery is not one crime, nor are assault and battery the same thing.

A conviction can lead to serious penalties. Get a solid defense from the Florida criminal defense lawyers at Linkhorst Law Firm, P.A. Reach out to us today to see what we can do to help. Schedule a consultation by calling 561-626-8880 or filling out the online form.



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