Crimes of assault, aggravated assault and battery are typically muddy. Many people confuse these crimes with one another as if they are interchangeable. However, all these crimes vary in their penalties and definitions.

Any crime that involves an attack is considered assault. Depending on the severity of the situation, the crime is then defined by the specific term. So, what’s the difference?

Assault

Under Florida law, assault is a misdemeanor and the smallest charge that one can receive in that position. Assault is an intentional act. It causes another person to fear that they will be subjected to physical harm. This doesn’t always mean that the victim will be physically harmed. To be charged with assault, the assaulter must have intent to harm them. This allows the police to step in before there is physical harm done to the victim.

Assault is a fine line because no physical harm has occurred. Assault is sometimes described as attempted battery because of the fear the assaulter evokes. Threatening someone and making them believe they are in danger translates to assault.

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault is the only crime of the three to be a felony on a first offense. This offense involves an assaulter that has the intent to commit a serious crime. Often, the assaulter will have a weapon to complete these crimes. Crimes such as murder or rape tend to branch from this form of assault.

Crimes like murder or rape are not always completed through aggravated assault. Fortunately, some victims are able to reach a safe place before those heinous crimes are followed through. The intent to complete those crimes solidifies the attacker’s guilt.

Battery

Battery is far different from assault. While assault carries the weight of the fear and threatening nature of the crime, battery carries out the intent. With battery, the assaulter must physically strike or touch the victim without their consent.

Florida law surrounding assault charges can be tricky and multi-layered. Depending on the intent and the amount of physical harm done, an assaulter could receive a misdemeanor or a felony. Connecting with an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you fully understand what is involved with assault charges and the varying degrees of severity.