“Assault” and “battery” are separate and distinct legal terms. An assault means that you have put someone in an immediate fear for their safety. You do not have to actually follow through on a threat of physical harm to be charged with assault. A verbal threat is enough if the victim believes you might follow through. Battery, on the other hand, is a “harmful touching.” If you get into a fight and lay your hands on someone else you could be charged with battery.
Assault and battery cases are complex in Florida because according to state law, you have no duty to retreat. In other words, if you feel you have a reasonable fear for your safety, you have the right to defend yourself. This means that in many cases, the alleged victim is actually the initial aggressor. Fortunately, it also means that, many times, assault and battery cases are difficult for State Attorneys to prosecute.
As a result, it is especially important in these types of cases to have an experienced attorney investigating your case thoroughly and defending your rights vigorously. We believe that it is vital to gather as much evidence as possible as soon after the incident has taken place as possible. Delay can only weaken your case, so don’t procrastinate because of fear or uncertainty.
If you have been charged with assault or battery in the Orlando, Tampa, Sarasota, and Clearwater areas, contact us to find a local criminal defense lawyer in your area.
While some forms of assault and battery are misdemeanor charges, others are considered felonies. Felony convictions can keep you from getting a job, keeping a gun, or collecting Social Security benefits, among other far-reaching ramifications. If you are military service personnel, you could be demoted or dishonorably discharged.
An attorney should work quickly to get a copy of the 911 call and the police report as well as gather information from the people who witnessed the event. The primary goal is to prove that you were acting in self-defense and thereby have the charges dismissed. If this turns out not to be possible, then your lawyer will work hard to have charges reduced to avoid a felony conviction.
Don’t let a one-time mistake such as a bar fight or a domestic dispute that got out of hand affect your entire future. Your education, livelihood, and reputation are all at stake. Look for a firm that has dedicated their practice to criminal defense. They will work hard to help you understand your rights, what is at stake in your particular case, and answer all your questions in a way that is comprehensive and easy to follow.
Educate yourself. If you or a loved one has been charged with a criminal offense, look for a local criminal defense lawyer in our directory.