Understanding the Difference Between Assault and Battery

When it comes to media coverage and general communication between people, assault and battery terms can sometimes be used interchangeably. While assault and battery are certainly similar in some ways, they are very different charges. It is important for people to be educated about the distinctions because the differences between the two crimes greatly impact defense strategies and the potential outcomes in court.

What is Assault?

Assault is basically defined as the threat of harming another person. Essentially, if you are charged with assault it does not mean that you laid hands on another person. It simply means that another person was threatened or that the accused actions or verbal exchange caused the victim to fear harm.

Florida assault cases fall into the following categories:

  • Simple assault – this is the most basic charge of assault that is classified as a second-degree misdemeanor. If found guilty, a person could spend up to 60 days in jail with fines up to $500.

  • Aggravated assault – this is a more serious offense that is classified as a third-degree felony. Punishment for this crime may include up to five years in prison with a maximum of a $5,000 fine.

  • Felony assault – this category is broader and focuses on all other felony-level assault charges that range greatly in severity. The outcome for this type of case can range from several days to several years in prison.

What is Battery?

Battery differs from assault because this crime involves actually hurting another person. If you lay hands on another individual then you could be charged with battery. The battery can include domestic violence cases, but that is not a required element of the case to be charged with this type of crime. However, just like assault, the severity of the crime will ultimately determine the outcome in court. An accused individual could potentially be punished with up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The finer details of the case will be evaluated in order to determine the proper punishment. There is no clear answer for what a person should expect as far as the outcome of a battery case.


While assault and battery are similar in the way that they both focus on violent charges, they are very different. They range considerably in severity and overall crime. Essentially, assault is the threat of hurting another individual and battery is actually following through with that threat. There are a number of potential defense strategies for cases such as these and you will need guidance to help you through the legal process.

What Should You Do?

If you or someone you know is looking at an assault or battery charge then you need proper legal defense. Reach out to Scott Skier of West Palm Beach, Florida. He is a seasoned defense attorney that is ready to assist you with the ins and outs of your particular case. He has worked as a defense attorney for a number of years and has experience with various criminal cases. Call him today for a free consultation.

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