Fort Lauderdale Assault and Battery Attorney

Image of a man being assaulted

Have the Fort Lauderdale or Broward County police arrested and charged you with assault or battery? Violent crimes like these have serious consequences under Florida law, and you need experienced legal counsel to help you face the criminal justice system.

A Florida assault defense lawyer from Phillips | Tadros, P.A., can advocate for your rights and help you pursue a favorable outcome in your criminal case. With over 50 years of combined legal experience, our attorneys have a reputation for providing clients with excellent legal counsel, personalized attention, and detailed case preparation. When you choose us to help you resolve assault or battery charges, our team will be by your side throughout the process and available to provide updates and answers to your questions.

After an arrest on battery charges in Florida, you need a dedicated attorney who can look out for your rights and interests. Contact Phillips | Tadros, P.A., for an initial case review. Learn how an assault and battery lawyer will fight to achieve the best possible result on your behalf.

Why You Need an Assault and Battery Defense Attorney

Facing prosecution for assault or battery can feel like an isolating, stressful experience. Thankfully, you don’t have to go through the criminal justice system alone. A Fort Lauderdale assault and battery defense attorney can guide you through your case and help you fight for a favorable outcome by:

  • Independently investigating the charges to find all available evidence
  • Reviewing the facts of your case to identify potential defense strategies
  • Helping you understand your charges, the potential outcomes, and your legal options
  • Vigorously pursuing a fair result for you, even when that means going to trial so you can fight your charges

What Are the Differences in Battery vs Assault in Florida?

Although many people use the terms assault and battery interchangeably, Florida law treats these crimes as distinct offenses. The main differences between assault and battery under Florida law include the presence or lack of physical touching or injury in the commission of the crime. Assault merely involves the threat of offensive touching, violence, or injury. Battery requires that an assailant make physical contact — whether with their body or by using a weapon — with the victim or intentionally injure the victim.

What Are Common Forms and Charges for Assault and Battery?

Some of the most common examples of assault and battery offenses under Florida criminal law include the following:

Simple Assault

Under Florida’s assault penal code, a person commits the crime of simple assault when they make an intentional, unlawful threat to inflict violence on another person, coupled with an apparent ability to carry it out, and the victim develops a well-founded fear of imminent violence as a result. Simple assault is typically a second-degree misdemeanor offense, although an assault committed in furtherance of a riot is a first-degree misdemeanor.

Aggravated Assault

Florida law defines aggravated assault as an assault with a deadly weapon without an intent to kill or assaulting a person with the intent to commit a felony. Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony offense.

Simple Battery

Florida’s battery penal code defines battery as intentionally striking or offensively touching someone against their will or without their consent or intentionally injuring someone. A simple battery offense is a first-degree misdemeanor.

Felony Battery

Florida defines felony battery as intentionally touching or striking someone against their will and causing severe injury or permanent disability or disfigurement. A battery offense in Florida can rise to the level of a felony when a defendant has a second or subsequent battery conviction. A person who commits battery in furtherance of a riot will also be charged with felony battery. Florida grades felony battery as a third-degree felony offense.

The law also grades the offense of battery by strangulation or domestic battery by strangulation as a third-degree felony offense. This offense involves knowingly or intentionally impeding someone’s breathing or circulation against their will and creating a risk of severe injury or harm by applying pressure to their neck or throat or blocking their nose or mouth. Domestic battery may involve battery against a family or household member or person with whom the assailant has a dating or intimate relationship.

Aggravated Battery

Florida defines aggravated battery as intentionally or knowingly causing severe injury or permanent disability or disfigurement or using a deadly weapon to commit a battery. A person may also face charges of aggravated battery after committing a battery against a pregnant victim. Aggravated battery is a second-degree felony.

What Are the Differences Between Simple Assault vs. Aggravated Assault?

Simple assault primarily differs from aggravated assault by the presence or lack of deadly weapons or the lack of intent to commit a felony upon the alleged victim. Simple assault merely requires a person to make a threat of injury or violence and have the apparent ability to carry it out, such that it puts the victim in fear of imminent violence. However, aggravated assault requires a perpetrator to carry out an assault while possessing a deadly weapon or with the intent or purpose to commit another felony upon the victim.

What Are the Penalties for Assault in Florida?

Criminal penalties for an assault conviction in Florida depend on the grading of the offense. Courts can also enhance a convicted defendant’s sentence if there are aggravating circumstances in the case. Examples include committing an assault or battery on a protected person (e.g., first responders, health services personnel, public officials, senior citizens) or prior convictions for violent crimes.

Standard penalties for felony assault charges include up to five years in prison and a potential fine of up to $5,000. A simple assault charge typically carries a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a potential fine of up to $500. However, if prosecutors upgrade a simple assault charge to a first-degree misdemeanor, maximum penalties can reach one year in jail and a fine of $1,000.

What Are the Penalties for Battery in Florida?

Penalties for a battery conviction also depend on the grading of an offense. The law classifies simple battery as a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a fine of $1,000.

The law grades felony or aggravated battery as felony offenses. Felony battery constitutes a third-degree felony offense, which carries a maximum penalty of five years of prison plus a potential fine of up to $5,000. Aggravated battery constitutes a second-degree felony offense, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a maximum potential fine of $10,000.

What Are Potential Assault and Battery Defenses?

Depending on the facts of your case, you may have one or more defense strategies available to fight your assault or battery charges. Common legal defenses to assault and battery include:

  • Self-Defense or Defense of Others – Some of the most common defenses to assault or battery charges include the doctrines of self-defense or defense of others due to an actual or perceived threat of harm.
  • Defense of Property – Another potential defense strategy is to claim you were defending your property from invasion or theft.
  • Accident – You might defend against a battery charge by arguing that you accidentally touched or struck the alleged victim and thus did not have the required criminal intent to commit battery.
  • Mistaken Identity – You might contest assault or battery charges by challenging the reliability of the victim’s or other eyewitnesses’ identification of you as the perpetrator.
  • Alibi – An alibi defense requires you to prove that you were somewhere other than the scene of the crime when the alleged assault or battery occurred.
  • Consent – Because assault or battery requires you to act against the victim’s will, you might contest a charge by proving that the alleged victim consented to your actions. You could argue that you and the alleged victim agreed to engage in physical combat against one another or, in a battery by strangulation case, that the alleged victim consented to the strangulation (including as part of consensual sexual activity).

A defense strategy in an assault or battery case may also involve contesting the admissibility of the prosecution’s evidence when law enforcement obtained that evidence in violation of your civil or constitutional rights. For example, suppose the police detain or arrest you and begin asking you questions without advising you of your Miranda rights (the right to remain silent and the right to legal counsel). In that case, the court may suppress or exclude statements you made during the police questioning. The court may also suppress any evidence the police discovered based on your statements.

Similarly, when police obtain physical evidence from your person, vehicle, or home without a search warrant or probable cause, your attorney may contest the admissibility of that evidence. If the court suppresses critical prosecution evidence, you might file a motion to dismiss your charges on the grounds of insufficient evidence to bring you to trial.