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What’s the difference between assault and battery charges?

On Behalf of | Apr 27, 2022 | Criminal Defense

When you hear the term “assault and battery,” you may think the two are one and the same. After all, it’s rare to hear one term without the other when it comes to criminal charges. 

However, the fact is, these are two separate charges in Florida. While these are two separate charges, they both carry significant penalties and consequences on their own; however, the specifics depend on your situation.

How assault and battery differ

Contrary to popular belief, assault does not require physical contact or harm. You can be guilty of assault for just making a credible threat to the victim in such a way that they believed you intended to harm them or had a real fear of violence from you.

A battery charge occurs when the perpetrator actually harms or makes contact with someone else. Sometimes, battery charges are more straightforward because physical contact actually occurs, but it’s important to understand that a battery can occur without actually causing physical harm. Offensive, unwanted contact is still a battery – even if the victim isn’t injured by it.

What are the penalties for these charges?

The penalties you face depend on the situation and the specific charges you are facing. For example, you may be charged with assault, just with battery or assault and battery. It’s important to note, though, that while the consequences will vary, you can receive both misdemeanor and felony charges for these crimes. 

Protecting your rights

Because of the seriousness of the charges, it’s best to explore what legal options you have to fight them. While understanding these charges is a good first step, it’s a good idea to protect yourself by knowing your rights.