Under Florida law, an assault occurs when you threaten another with harm and that person is afraid that you will cause them imminent harm. In other words, you do not necessarily have to touch another, or come in physical contact with them in order to be charged with assault. However, in order to be convicted of assault, the state must be able to prove that you had the intent to threaten the victim, the intent to cause the victim to be afraid, and the intent to go through with a violent act. In addition, the state must prove that you threatened the victim in some overt way, such as by use of an intimidating act, gesture, or simply words. Finally, the state must be able to show that you let the victim think you had the ability to follow through with the threat and that the victim was in fear of imminent harm. While even a simple assault charge in Florida should not be taken lightly, as punishment for a conviction can result in jail time and fines, under Florida law, there is a separate aggravated assault offense, where the penalties are even more severe. If you or a loved one has been charged with assault in Florida or any violent crime for that matter, be sure to consult with an experienced Florida Assault and Aggravated Assault Attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.
It is important to note that battery is also a separate offense under Florida law. To be convicted of battery, unlike assault, you must make actual physical contact with the victim. In the case of battery, the state must be able to prove that you had the intent to touch or strike the victim against the will and without the consent of the victim.
The penalties for an assault conviction typically depend on the severity of your case or the actual offense with which you are charged. If you are convicted of simple assault, which is considered a second-degree misdemeanor, you can face up to sixty days in jail and a fine of up to $500. On the other hand, penalties for an aggravated assault conviction, which is considered a third-degree felony, can include up to five years in jail, and a fine of up to $5,000.