Assault and Battery
Jacksonville Attorneys Representing Criminal Defendants Throughout Northeast Florida
Ellis &amp; Bryant is a Jacksonville based firm with defense attorneys experienced in the field of assault, battery, and other violent crimes. . We take an aggressive approach to defending the people whom we represent. That means starting as early in the process as possible to gather witness testimony, documentation, and other evidence. We are seasoned trial lawyers who understand how to build strong defenses for our clients based on the facts of their situation and the nuances of the law. Our Jacksonville assault defense lawyers are also skilled negotiators who explore every opportunity to limit the impact of a potential conviction in the plea bargaining process. We guide clients through the criminal justice system with experience, compassion, and personal attention, whether they are facing an assault charge, a drug charge, or another type of allegation.
The Difference Between Assault and Battery
Although assault and battery are often lumped together, they are actually two different crimes. An assault generally occurs when a person “threatens by word or act” to harm another person. Battery is the intentional touching or striking of a person against his or her will. A person charged with assault may also be charged with battery, but prosecutors need to prove each crime beyond a reasonable doubt, and a conviction for each crime carries separate penalties. To understand the details of the specific charge that you may be facing, you should consult an assault defense attorney in the Jacksonville area who has handled many of these cases and can thoughtfully analyze your circumstances.
The specific penalties for assault and battery vary based on the circumstances. A simple assault is a second-degree misdemeanor that comes with up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. An aggravated assault can be charged when a person uses a deadly weapon or intends to commit a felony. Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and as much as $5,000 in fines.
Battery, on the other hand, is a first-degree misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines. Battery becomes aggravated when the contact involves an intent to do serious bodily harm or to use a deadly weapon. Aggravated battery is punishable by up to 15 years behind bars and $10,000 in fines.
Additionally, if a firearm is possessed or used during the commission of a violent crime in some circumstances minimum mandatory sentencing may apply. See the Gun Crimes page for more details.
Intent Questions in Assault and Battery Cases
There are a number of possible defenses available for anyone charged with assault or battery, or both, in Florida. For example, a Jacksonville assault defense attorney might argue that prosecutors cannot prove that a person charged with one of these crimes had the specific criminal intent required under the law. In simple assault cases, for example, prosecutors need to prove that the person charged intended to threaten the victim. In aggravated battery cases, they need to prove that the person charged intended to inflict serious bodily harm on the victim or to use a deadly weapon. Since it is difficult to get inside any person’s head at the time that the crime was allegedly committed, prosecutors tend to rely on evidence related to the circumstances of the crime to prove intent, but this can often be challenged.
Seek Legal Guidance and Advocacy in Fighting an Assault or Battery Charge
At Ellis and Bryant, we have represented clients in assault and battery and a wide range of other cases, including DUI and drug crimes. Founding Partners Gary Bryant and Samantha Ellis are a former Assistant State Attorneys with extensive criminal trial backgrounds. We understand how judges and juries look at these cases, and we know how to build solid defenses for the people whom we represent. As assault defense lawyers serving the Jacksonville area, we work aggressively to get charges dropped or reduced whenever possible and to fight charges at trial when needed. Our firm represents defendants in Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Orange Park, Middleburg, and other communities in Duval and Clay Counties during their times of need. Call us at (904) 551-4120 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with a lawyer.