Generally, a person charged with assault has been accused of a violent attack on someone else. Most of us think of an assault as shoving, hitting, kicking, biting or tackling, or else striking someone with a weapon.

Actually, in Florida law, what most of us think of assault is called battery. Battery is any type of intentional touching of the victim without the victim’s consent. This can range from touching someone on the back with your hand to causing serious injury to the other person with a deadly weapon. Obviously, the potential penalties for the lowest form of assault (simple assault) are much lower than for the most serious assault crimes, which are felony assault and aggravated assault. But they all fall under the same category in the criminal code.

Charged with battery over a hamburger

For example, a Pinellas County woman was recently arrested and charged with domestic battery after allegedly striking her boyfriend in the ear with a hamburger. Police say the woman was upset that someone had closed a window in her bedroom. It does not appear that the boyfriend suffered any injuries.

The fact that an assault was relatively minor, such as in a case like this, may not matter. The fact that the incident occurred between intimate partners likely factored into the police officers’ decision to make an arrest. If the prosecutor moves forward with the charge, the woman could face at least 10-15 days in jail, depending on if she has any prior convictions and if any children under 16 witnessed the incident.

Take your rights seriously

Stories like this one show that if you are ever arrested, you must take action to protect yourself, even if the crime you are charged with does not seem serious. A criminal record can follow you for years and be difficult to erase. But using an experienced defense attorney to help you may result in the charges being dropped or reduced.