Although assault and battery are considered one type of violent crime in many states, they are two different offenses in Florida. Assault is defined as the threat of imminent harm, while battery means making physical contact.
To be convicted of assault, the prosecution must prove that you intended to threaten the alleged victim using intimidating actions, words, or gestures and caused the victim to be afraid for their life. For a battery conviction, on the other hand, the State must demonstrate that you intentionally harmed the alleged victim and the physical contact was committed without the victim’s consent.
The following are five common defenses to assault and battery in Florida:
- Self-defense – If you reasonably believe it was necessary to harm another person to defend yourself against imminent use of unlawful non-deadly force, you will not be convicted of assault or battery. Additionally, there is no duty to retreat before exercising your self-defense right and anyone who unlawfully or forcefully enters or attempts to enter your home or vehicle is automatically considered doing so to intentionally commit a violent crime.
- Defense of others – If you reasonably believe it was necessary to harm another person to defend someone else against imminent use of unlawful non-deadly force, you will not be convicted of assault or battery.
- Defense of property – If a person was trespassing or other on your property (i.e. home or vehicle) without your consent and you reasonably believed the use of non-deadly force was required to prevent or stop someone else’s wrongful actions, you won’t be charged with assault or battery.
- Lack of intent – People often jokingly insult, threaten, or even hit each other. If there was no intent to threaten with imminent harm or physically harm someone else, then you cannot be charged with assault or battery.
- Consent of physical contact – For instance, if two people agree to a sparring match and one person suffers an injury, the individual who caused the injury cannot be charged with battery because the alleged victim provided consent for the fight.
If you have been accused of assault or battery in Miami, The Hoffman Firm can help you avoid serious criminal penalties or even get your entire case dismissed. Attorney Evan Hoffman has more than 20 years of experience handling complex and high-file criminal cases in Florida.
Contact us today at (305) 928-1669 and schedule a free initial consultation to learn about your legal options.