Assault and battery are two of the most common kinds of violent offenses. They are far from trivial charges, however. In Florida, an assault or battery conviction can mean imprisonment, fines, and a damaging criminal record. In many instances, defendants face fabricated or exaggerated charges after a mutual altercation, in cases with a vindictive ex, or in instances of self-defense.
Defendants will need a strong defense to beat the charges or mitigate the penalties. The team of aggressive defense lawyers at Goldman Wetzel can help. If you are facing accusations of assault or battery, call Goldman Wetzel to discuss your case. We can explain your defense options and begin working to get your charges dropped or reduced. Call 727-828-3900 today for a free consultation with an assault and battery lawyer in Pinellas County.
What Constitutes Assault and Battery?
Some states group the two terms and use the phrase “assault and battery.” Florida, however, differentiates between the two types of charges, classifying and penalizing for them differently.
Florida Statute 784.011(1) defines assault as “an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.”
In other words, assault means threat of harm, not actual physical contact. To qualify as assault, however, the threat must have been obvious and the defendant must have had the means to make good on threat. For instance, if you yell, “I want to push you out of a moving car,” it does not qualify as assault unless you and the other person are sitting together in a car.
Unlike assault, battery involves actual physical harm. Florida Statute 784.03(1)(a) provides that battery occurs when the defendant “actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other, or intentionally causes bodily harm to another person.” If the victim sustains extreme bodily harm, a permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement, or the offender uses a deadly weapon, the offense escalates to an aggravated battery and carries stiffer penalties.
What Types of Assault and Battery Cases Does Goldman Wetzel Accept?
Our defense lawyers can manage all types of criminal cases, from misdemeanors to felonies. We can help defendants with various types of assault- and battery-related violent crime charges, including:
- Assault and aggravated assault;
- Battery, felony battery, and aggravated battery;
- Cyber harassment;
- Domestic battery by strangulation; and
- Assault or battery on protected persons, such as firefighters, law enforcement officers, emergency medical care providers, public transit employees or agents, health services personnel, code inspectors, and prisoners.
What Are the Penalties for Assault and Battery in Florida?
The potential penalties depend on the nature of the offense, prior convictions for similar crimes, the severity of the incident, and the presence of any aggravating circumstances. When we review your case, we will explain exactly what you are up against, as well as the best- and worst-case scenarios in your case. Below are a few examples of penalties for assault and battery charges:
- Simple assault is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine;
- Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine;
- Simple battery is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine; and
- Aggravated battery is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
How Can Goldman Wetzel Help Fight My Assault or Battery Charges?
Our team of attorneys has decades of combined experience in both defense and prosecution. We can handle your pre-trial negotiations, as well as litigation. If you enlist in our help at the onset, we may try to get the case dismissed or the charges reduced well before trial. With our investigation skills, we might be able to identify weak or damaging evidence, and file motions to dismiss or suppress.
Another tactic we sometimes use is to negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce the charge, such as from a felony to a misdemeanor. In domestic situations, we may speak to the alleged victim and see if they want to drop the charges. While the prosecutor gets the final say in whether to move forward with the case, the victim’s input can make an impact.
Of course, if your assault or battery case goes to trial, attorneys Summer Goldman and Maribeth Wetzel will go to court armed with a strong defense strategy. We will work together to develop a defense that best suits your case. For assault and battery charges, we may employ defenses such as:
- Actual innocence, in cases of mistaken identity or false accusations;
- Defense of another person; or
- Defense of property.
We understand the anxieties that come along with criminal charges, and we do our best to empower you with knowledge. We will walk you through each step of the process and involve you in the decision-making, so you are never in the dark.
What Happens After an Arrest for Assault or Battery?
If police arrested you for assault or battery, the officers will book you at the local station. There, you will await your first appearance with the judge, which usually occurs within 24 to 48 hours. When the investigators try to ask you questions, politely inform them that you wish you to have your attorney present. If you do not have an attorney yet, call Goldman Wetzel at 727-828-3900 for immediate assistance.
At your first appearance, the judge will determine if there is just cause to hold you and decide on the terms of bail. We can accompany you at this hearing and discuss your next steps.
The next phase of the criminal process is the arraignment, where we enter your formal plea of guilty or not guilty. We will continue working in the interim on your behalf, speaking with the prosecutor’s office, collecting evidence, and doing whatever else is necessary to build a strong defense.
Goldman Wetzel Can Help You Fight Assault and Battery Charges in Pinellas County.
With assault and battery charges, your freedom, future, and reputation are on the line. Let the tenacious defense attorneys at Goldman Wetzel fight for your best interests. Contact us today at 727-828-3900 for a free consultation.