Although most people use assault and battery interchangeably, they are actually two separate crimes. Under section 784.011 of the Florida Statutes, assault is defined as an intentional and unlawful action or threat that is dangerous and evokes fear in another person. In contrast, battery can be defined as the completion of an assault. In Florida, assault can be categorized as either simple assault (misdemeanor) or aggravated assault (felony) depending on the incident.
If you have been charged or you are under investigation for assault, it is important that you protect your future by partnering with the right criminal defense attorney. At Shrader Law, PLLC, our experienced criminal defense attorneys understand what is at stake when defending you against simple or aggravated assault charges. We have the dedication, skills, and expertise to examine the evidence presented against you. We will then formulate an effective defense strategy.
If you have been charged for assault, the prosecutor will need to prove all elements of the crime. Your defense attorney can counter the assault charges leveled against you if one or more of the assault elements are not satisfied. These elements include:
Intentional and unlawful threat or attempt to harm another person: For the prosecutor to prove assault actually happened, they have to prove that the defendant’s behavior was motivated by their intention to create fear in the victim. However, saying words like “I will hurt you,” does not constitute an assault, unless there was an action that evoked fear of imminent harm like picking up a weapon.
Reasonable apprehension: This means that the victim has to reasonably believe that the defendant’s conduct will harm them. Therefore, calling a person on the phone and threatening to punch them will not be sufficient. The victim has to perceive the defendant’s harmful acts are actually going to occur.
Fear of imminent harm: The victim’s fear should be a direct response to the defendant’s intentional acts or threats. This means that the defendant’s behaviors should present an imminent physical threat. For example, saying “I will harm you” and pretending to punch or kick the victim may be considered assault.
The prosecutor must present all the above elements and support them with evidence for you to be convicted of assault. However, proving whether the defendant intended to commit an assault can be difficult. Judges and juries have to consider all the evidence and determine whether the defendant’s acts were offensive and possibly harmful.
If you are facing assault charges, your criminal defense attorney will come up with a defense strategy that will show your actions in the best light. A defense to your assault charges can lead to a favorable plea bargain, a prosecutor agreeing to dismiss your case, or even being found not guilty after trial. Some of the defense strategies your criminal defense attorney will use include:
This is one of the most common defense strategies used in assault cases. To be able to establish this defense strategy, you must show:
Depending on your case, your attorney may use consent as a defense to your assault charges. If the victim willingly consented to a particular act, then it cannot be asserted to be assault. However, if the extent of the act exceeds the consent provided, then it can be used against you. Additionally, it is important to know that courts often scrutinize the consent defense strategy narrowly.
Assault charges may be dropped or dismissed if it is found that your behavior was an accident. This is only possible if there is no proof of mental intent to commit an assault. Your attorney can assert that the accident was unforeseeable. Specifically, according to Florida law, the accident has to be unexpected or unintended.
As mentioned earlier, the prosecutor must prove you committed assault by presenting proof that your actions met all the elements of an assault. Therefore, your Shrader Law, PLLC criminal defense attorney will fight to refute all elements not proven by the prosecutor.
If you are facing assault charges, the consequences of being convicted can be traumatic. Your best defense is to have an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner. At Shrader Law, PLLC, we possess the experience and skills necessary to guide you and protect your rights through all aspects of your assault case. We will determine the best possible defenses during your free case evaluation to help you get the best possible outcome. Contact us today or call 813-360-1529 to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney.