Distinctions Between Assault vs. Battery Under Florida Law

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When someone is arrested and charged with assault or battery, they may not understand the distinction under Florida law. Assault vs. battery can have several similar elements but have significant differences in penalties.


Anyone who is facing an assault or battery charge in Key West or other parts of Florida needs immediate defense assistance. The Law Offices of Richard Wunsch is here to help defendants mount an aggressive defense.


What is Assault in Florida?

Defined under Florida Statutes, Section 784.011, assault involves an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to another person.  To be considered assault, the person must have the ability to carry out the threat. Threats that create a fear in the other person that violence is imminent are considered assault.


There are two types of assault: simple assault and aggravated assault.


  • Simple Assault — intentional threat by word or act to commit violence and the ability to carry out the threat. The person who commits simple assault can be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor. If there is a guilty finding, they can face fines of up to $500 and jail time of up to 60 days.
  • Aggravated Assault — when someone is in possession of a deadly weapon and has an intention to commit a felony, even without an intent to kill, they could face a felony charge of aggravated assault. A guilty finding could result in fines of up to $5,000, jail time of up to five years, and/or probation for up to five years.


The penalties for assault vs. battery in Florida are serious, and any person facing these charges should seek immediate advice from a qualified assault and battery defense lawyer.


What is Battery in Florida?

Deliberately touching or injuring someone without their consent or deliberately causing harm is considered battery as defined in Florida Statutes, Section 784.03.  As with assault, there are different types of battery.


  • Simple Battery — is considered a first-degree misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one-year probation or jail time and/or fines of up to $1,000.
  • Felony Battery — when the battery results in significant harm, disability, or disfigurement of a victim, it is considered a third-degree felony. A guilty finding could result in imprisonment or probation for as many as five years and fines of up to $5,000.
  • Aggravated Battery — if someone is wielding a weapon or has the intent to cause someone severe bodily harm, it is considered a second-degree felony. This rule also applies to victims who are pregnant when the person committing the battery knew or should have known the victim was pregnant. Penalties could be up to 15 years of probation or prison time and fines of up to $10,000.
  • Domestic Battery — involves causing physical harm to a household or family member. This charge could result in the loss of the accused’s right to bear a firearm. Additional penalties and mandatory counseling could also be part of the sentencing.
  • Sexual Battery — defined as non-consensual sexual contact of any kind. This charge is very serious, and the penalties will vary depending on several factors, including the age of the victim, the use of force, and the use of coercion.


Anyone who is facing a battery charge in Key West should contact the Law Offices of Richard Wunsch immediately. The penalties for a conviction on these charges could have a devastating impact on your future.


Key Differences Between Assault and Battery Charges

While both assault and battery charges have one factor in common, namely intent, the similarity ends there. Some of the differences include:

  • Physical Harm — battery means a person was harmed in some manner, while assault charges can be a result of the threat to do harm.
  • Aggravating Factors — both charges can be enhanced if certain factors are applicable, including the use of a weapon and the person’s status, such as a law enforcement officer or pregnant person. If the perpetrator has a prior conviction, or the assault or battery occurred as a result of a hate crime, these may also be considered. There are numerous aggravating factors that can result in more serious charges or penalties.
  • Difference in Penalties — typically, battery charges without aggravating factors carry fewer penalties than assault charges. Nonetheless, someone who has been found guilty of a previous assault or battery charge could face jail time and steep fines.

If You Have Been Charged With Assault or Battery in Florida, Contact the Law Offices of Richard Wunsch

These charges should not be taken lightly. If you contact the Law Offices of Richard Wunsch immediately, we can find out what circumstances led to the charges you are facing and work on mounting a defense. Contact the Law Offices of Richard Wunsch immediately, and let us help you fight back against these serious charges.

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