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Florida is one of several states that still classifies assault and battery as two different criminal offenses. While some states have basically eliminated the crime of battery, Florida prosecutors continue to pursue one or both of these charges depending on the facts of the case. If you have been charged with either one of these offenses contact South Florida assault and battery lawyer Benjamin Herbst immediately to find out what defenses may be available to you. Assault and battery cases often have few or no unbiased witnesses, and many times the only evidence in the state’s case comes from the testimony of the victim. Benjamin has successfully represented hundreds of clients in assault and battery cases, and does whatever it takes to have the charges dismissed prior to court, or during trial. He was won numerous jury trials for charges ranging from aggravated assault to felony battery, and is standing by to fight for you in the courthouses in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie Counties. Benjamin is available to meet at his Fort Lauderdale and West Palm locations or anywhere else that is convenient. He can also speak to you about the case on the phone 7 days a week at (954) 543-0305.
The main difference between assault and battery under Florida law is that battery typically requires an actual touching, while assault only requires a threat. More specifically, the crime of battery occurs when a defendant actually and intentionally touches or strikes another against their will. The touch or strike does not have to produce an injury, which means the state never has to establish that a physical injury occurred in a misdemeanor battery case. Battery can also be established by proving the defendant intentionally caused an injury by means other than an intentional touching or striking. If the defendant has a prior conviction for battery the charge elevates from a misdemeanor to a felony. A defendant who causes a serious bodily injury to another, uses a weapon or strikes a pregnant woman can face an aggravated battery charge, which is classified as a second-degree felony. Domestic battery by strangulation occurs when a person impedes the normal breathing of their domestic partner by applying pressure to the neck or otherwise blocking the airways. This offense is considered a third-degree felony under Florida law, and does not require the state to prove the victim lost consciousness.
Assault only requires that the state prove the defendant made a threat of violence on another, and created a well-founded fear of carrying out the threat. An experienced South Florida assault lawyer may be able to argue for the dismissal of charges based on lack of evidence that the threat was credible. There is often no physical evidence in basic misdemeanor assault cases, which means they are often winnable at jury trial. Aggravated assault occurs when a defendant uses a deadly weapon to threaten another person. This is a common offense in Florida, and is classified as a third-degree felony. Just like its misdemeanor counterpart, there is often little or no physical evidence in an aggravated assault case and the state often relies on testimony alone. Benjamin knows that consequences of an aggravated assault charge can be severe, and he has the skill and knowledge to expose biased victims and other witness during cross examination. Never speak to the police and never agree to plead guilty to any type of assault charge without consulting with a lawyer first.
There are numerous other common offenses listed in Chapter 784 of the Florida Criminal Code, and all can have serious consequences if not handled properly. Simple assault and battery can be elevated to a felony if the victim is a law enforcement officer, emergency medical provider, firefighter or any person over the age of 65. Elderly assault is actually more common than people think, and often the defendant had no idea the victim was over the age of 65. Culpable negligence is another common crime that serves as a catch-all for any act that injures another person (such as leaving a loaded firearm around), but does not meet the requirements of battery. Benjamin is an experienced South Florida culpable negligence lawyer, who has successfully negotiated dismissals in these cases. Contact Benjamin anytime at (954) 543-0305 to go over your case in detail and discuss your options before you step into a courtroom.