The Thin Line Between Assault and Battery in Florida

The Thin Line Between Assault and Battery in Florida

Although they’re often cited together, there is a difference between assault and battery. Both can lead to an arrest. In Florida, they can mean either misdemeanor or felony charges. It is possible to be charged with both assault and battery at the same time, depending on the circumstances of the incident.

assault and battery in florida


Under Florida Statute § 784.011, a person charged with assault has led another person to be in fear of harm through a threat and the ability to carry it out. The intended victim is fearful because they believe that they are in imminent danger.

Assault only means that a threat of violence is made and that the victim believes it could happen. No physical contact or violence occurred. This is a second-degree misdemeanor.

Aggravated assault includes a firearm or other weapon, even if it was not intended to harm, kill, or commit a felony. This is charged as a third-degree felony and can result in five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.


Battery involves actual contact and is the unwanted touching of one person by another. It does not necessarily indicate violence. Under Florida Statute § 784.03, if the individual threatening harm carries out the threat and then physically strikes the other person, they have committed battery.

The charge can be upgraded to aggravated battery if a firearm or other deadly weapon was involved, the victim was pregnant, or the aggressor intentionally inflicted permanent disability, disfigurement, or great bodily harm to the victim.

A first-time conviction of battery can lead to a $1,000 fine and one year in jail. A second conviction with a prior battery charge is considered a third-degree felony, meaning a $5,000 fine and up to five years in jail.

Aggravated battery is a second-degree felony, leading to a $10,000 fine and up to fifteen years in jail.

Battery As Domestic Violence

Domestic violence battery occurs when the victim is either a family member, a member of the household, or in a dating or romantic relationship with the aggressor. Conviction of this type of battery has a minimum jail sentence of 10 days with a one-year term of probation and mandatory completion of an intervention program.

Protected Classes

When an assault/battery victim falls under one of these classifications, the charges can be upgraded:

  • Anyone over the age of 65
  • Code inspectors
  • First responders and other public workers
  • Law enforcement
  • Sports officials
  • Visitors to a detention facility

The charges are moved to the next-highest level of severity.

Defenses Against Assault And Battery

There are defenses against both charges available to you and your defense attorney, such as:

  • Self-defense, including Stand Your Ground
  • Defense of others or property
  • Lack of intent
  • Consent to touching or fighting (mutual combat)
  • Disputes of facts
  • Entrapment

These are just some of the defenses your attorney will use to defend you against both charges.


If you’ve been arrested for assault or battery, it’s your responsibility to protect and defend yourself. The police are unconcerned with justice, only making arrests, and solving cases. We believe that you should consult with a criminal defense attorney anytime the police want to speak with you. Invoke your right to silence until you speak with us.

If you or a loved one has been arrested or accused of a crime, contact the criminal defense team of Farkas & Crowley as soon as possible. We are available 24/7, whenever you need us. Call (561)-444-9529 or contact us online to schedule your consultation.

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