Simple Assault Defense Lawyers in Central Florida
Defending You Against Criminal Charges
In Florida, a simple assault charge can result in significant criminal penalties. Although there is no actual physical contact involved in a simple assault, it is still charged as a misdemeanor offense. Misdemeanors can carry penalties like hefty fines, probation, jail time, and a permanent criminal record that follows you around for life.
Simple assault charges are sometimes downplayed due to the fact that no actual contact occurred during the alleged crime. However, simple assault charges are detrimental to your life, and a conviction could mean losing your job and damaging your personal and professional life.
Our team at The Defense Group has years of experience defending clients from all manners of criminal charges, including simple assault. We will review the facts of your case and create a personalized legal strategy that’s right for you. If you are facing assault charges, don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact our law office today for a free consultation by calling 407-743-8430.
What is Simple Assault?
In Florida law, simple assault is defined as an intentional threat by word or an act of violence to another person. An individual must have the apparent ability to carry out the threatening words and be doing an act that causes the alleged victim to reasonably believe that violence is about to happen.
For instance, if you are in a verbal argument with someone and you threaten to do bodily harm while also stepping toward them, you could be charged with assault. Even though no physical contact happened, the alleged victim’s fear and the unlawful threat are enough to warrant a simple assault charge.
The phrase “assault and battery charges” is common and can lead to confusion around simple assault. Florida law stipulates that assault is separate from battery. While the two can be combined, you do not have to be charged with battery charges to face assault charges.
Battery charges are typically assigned to those who actually touch or strike another person against their will, intentionally causing bodily harm to someone else. Essentially, assault occurs when an individual threatens another person, while battery happens when someone actually touches another person. If you threatened an individual and then followed through on that threat, you could be facing assault and battery charges.
What Are the Penalties for Simple Assault?
Simple assault charges are typically classified as a second-degree misdemeanor. The maximum penalties for a second-degree misdemeanor include the following:
- 60 days in jail
- Six months of probation
- $500 fine
You may face increased penalties if the alleged victim is a public servant, like a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or emergency medical care provider. Typically, simple assault against a public servant carries up to one year in jail, up to one year on probation, and a fine of $1,000.
You may be charged with aggravated assault if you used a deadly weapon without the intent to kill or if you had the intention to commit a felony. Aggravated assault is a more serious crime and usually comes with more severe penalties.
How Does the Prosecution Build a Case for Simple Assault?
When you are charged with simple assault, the prosecution does not need to prove that you intended to carry out the threat that you made. Instead, for an assault conviction, prosecutors must show that the defendant appeared able to carry out the threat and that the alleged victim feared imminent violence.
Essentially, what matters is whether you intend to make the alleged victim fear that you would hurt them, not whether you intended to hurt the person. The threatening act must also be willful and known, meaning that you knew what you were doing and willfully threatened another person. Accidentally or unknowingly threatening another person is typically not enough to be convicted of simple assault.
What Are the Main Defense Strategies for Simple Assault Charges?
Your specific defense strategy will depend on the nature of your charges and the circumstances surrounding your arrest. However, there are some common defense strategies our team often uses for simple assault charges.
Below are the main defense strategies:
If the alleged assault was a threat of violence that was conditional and not specific, that is not an assault. To be classified as assault, the victim must fear imminent violence in the very near future. A vague threat could be considered disorderly conduct but not assault.
If a threat is made without a physical action that justifies the victim’s belief that the threat would be carried out, that is not assault. For instance, if you make a verbal threat without a threatening gesture, our team could argue that you were not assaulting anyone.
Victims must prove that they reasonably believed they were in actual danger. If the fear was not reasonable or justified, then the act was not assault.
It is important to note that self-defense is typically not a valid defense strategy for simple assault charges.
Should I Consult a Defense Attorney?
While simple assault charges are less severe than other assault charges, a conviction can still carry severe criminal penalties. Probation, fines, and jail time are all possibilities if the prosecution can prove you threatened someone, even if no physical contact was made. The best way to protect yourself against a criminal conviction is by working with a team of experienced defense attorneys.
At The Defense Group, we are committed to protecting our clients from criminal penalties. We are confident that by working with us, you can reduce or remove the charges you are facing. For more information about our services and to receive a free consultation, contact us today by calling 407-743-8430.