Finding yourself in a heated situation can cause you to feel a variety of emotions. You may feel afraid because the incident has escalated more quickly than anticipated, and you may also feel uncertain as to the best way to handle the predicament. Unfortunately, heated arguments or other incidents can sometimes turn dangerous or violent, and the authorities could become involved.
If you end up facing criminal charges as a result of such an event, you may wonder how the exact charges could affect your situation and how you could potentially handle those charges. In cases of suspected violent incidents, assault and battery charges typically come about. However, you may not know the difference between these two crimes.
You likely hear the term assault more commonly than battery, but many people may not use the word entirely correctly. When police file assault charges, they must suspect that a person tried to harm another person. This type of harm can come in the form of physical or verbal actions. In fact, assault charges could come about even if no physical contact takes place.
Of course, some type of criminal action must still have allegedly occurred in order for assault charges to apply. Plus, the act must have caused an individual to fear for his or her safety. In most cases, verbal assault charges typically do not apply unless the accused party also made other threatening actions that resulted in the other person feeling fearful of harm.
You may worry that you could face charges if you accidentally harm another person, but accidental harm does not constitute assault. Assault must involve the intent to carry out the actions that caused harm.
In order for battery charges to apply, you must have made intentional physical contact with another person without that individual's consent. However, the intent does not have to involve the intention to cause harm, only to make contact. Therefore, if you intentionally touch a person and that touch causes harm or offense, you could potentially face battery charges. In some instances, even seemingly minor incidents could result in battery charges if the person took offense to your touch.
Charges for assault, battery, or both assault and battery could have serious consequences if a jury convicts you of such charges. Therefore, you may wish to explore what criminal defense options may best suit your circumstances. A legal professional could help you navigate the waters of your case, and as a result, you may want to consult with an experienced Florida attorney.