Crime shows, whether true or fiction, are hugely popular. But as popular as they are, some of the terminology they use can be confusing. Some words are used quite frequently, but you still may not know what they really mean. Let’s talk about the difference between assault and battery.
In the state of Florida, assault refers to any threat, whether words or actions, that causes fear of harm. This means that threatening to beat someone up, when said in a way that reasonably makes the other person afraid of being hit, is an assault. Florida considers assault a second degree misdemeanor. There are, however, certain persons against whom the assault becomes first degree misdemeanor. This would be victims such as police officers or the elderly.
In Florida, battery is any actual unwanted physical contact someone makes with either the body of another person or a secondary object connected to that person. In this state battery is a first degree misdemeanor. Additionally there are certain persons against whom the battery becomes third degree felony. We discuss who these victims are below.
Second Degree Misdemeanor
A person convicted of a second-degree misdemeanor could face penalties of up to sixty days in jail, a fine of up to $500, probation of up to 6 months, and could also be required to make restitution.
First Degree Misdemeanor
A person convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor could face penalties of up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1000, probation of up to one year, and could also be required to make restitution.
As previously stated, there are certain individuals who are considered “special victims.” When battery is committed against these victims, it increases from a first degree misdemeanor to third degree felony. These victims are those who are actively engaged in performing their duties when the battery occurs. This group includes law enforcement officers, emergency responders, parking enforcement officers, and others as listed in the statutes on battery. (Fla. Stat. § § 784.011, 784.03, 784.07, 784.074, 784.083, Fla. Stat. § § 784.08, 784.081, 784.082)
Third Degree Felony
A person convicted of a third-degree felony could face penalties of up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $5000, probation of up to 5 years, and could also be required to make restitution.
It is possible for a criminal to receive a longer sentence. If a court convicts someone with an existing criminal record of assault or battery, it could lead to a longer stay.