Personal injury claims often have to do with accidents. These claims can do with someone slipping on a poorly cared-for floor, etc. Assault and battery refer to more violent personal injury claims, which have to do with one person harming another. These terms often used – and tried – together. It’s difficult to understand the difference between the two because they seem like such similar terms. People also often use them interchangeably in everyday conversation. But legal terms have very exact definitions, and these terms have distinct differences. Those differences are really important when filing and defending a claim. Sometimes different jurisdictions will have differences in definitions and penalties, so we will concentrate on what the definitions are in Florida.
Assault refers to an unrealized but convincing threat of an unlawful deed. So when filing a claim for assault, if you want to prove in court that it happened, you should concentrate on a few things:
- That the person you’re filing against intentionally threatened, either through words or actions, to commit violence against you.
- The person seemed capable of carrying this violence out. For example, if they are threatening to shoot you, they should have also appeared to have a gun.
- The threat should have created a legitimate fear in the victim that the violence was about to take place.
In Florida, assault is a second-degree misdemeanor. You can get up to sixty days in jail or six months of probation. It can also include a five hundred dollar fine. Aggravated assault is much more punishable, with harsher penalties.
Compared to assault, battery includes ACTUAL touching or violence against the other person without their consent. It includes bodily harm, but also includes milder touching or striking, even if it doesn’t result in harsh injury. There also does not have to be direct contact – throwing an object or using a weapon also qualifies as battery. For this charge to be accurate, there must be these elements:
- Intent – the person must have intended to cause this damage.
- Lack of consent – The victim must not have consented to the action. Simple battery is a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida, and can involve up to a year in jail.