Florida acts as a desirable destination for many people. Older individuals often retire to the state to relax in the sunshine for as many years as possible, and younger people commonly head here to party during spring break or to have vacations with their families. Though you may have only planned to be in the state for a short amount of time, your situation may have changed if police charged you with a crime.

You may have been seemingly minding your own business while having a night out with friends only to wind up in an altercation with another person. The situation may have escalated, and authorities came to the scene. As a result, police officers took you, and possibly others, into custody on criminal charges. Are you facing assault charges, battery charges or both?

Differences in charges

Many people mistakenly think that the terms “assault” and “battery” are interchangeable. However, they refer to two different criminal acts. If authorities charge you with assault, they believe that you threatened someone in a manner that caused that person to believe that he or she would suffer harm. In cases of assault, physical contact does not take place.

If you face a battery charge, police officers believe that you physically, and intentionally, hit or touched another person in a threatening or non-consensual manner. You could also face assault and battery charges together if others accuse you of making verbal threats before acting out physically.

Classifications of the crimes

Assault and battery can also fall under different classifications. For instance, state law deems simple assault a second-degree misdemeanor and considers aggravated assault a third-degree felony. Both of these charges could come with jail time and fines if a conviction occurs.

Florida state law has three classifications for battery. Those classifications include a first-degree misdemeanor for simple battery, a third-degree felony for felony battery and a second-degree felony for aggravated battery. Again, these allegations could result in penalties, including jail time and fines after a conviction.

Creating a defense

Once you understand the exact charge or charges that you face, you may have a better chance of effectively addressing the allegations. Gaining information on your possible defense strategies may help you decide how you would like to move forward when it comes to mitigating the negative outcomes of your case as best as possible. Working with a defense attorney who understands these charges may also be in your best interest.