Van Elswyk Law provides clients in Sarasota and the surrounding area with aggressive defense strategies against assault and battery charges. These are distinct crimes under Florida law that can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges and result in severe penalties, including fines and imprisonment.
Founding attorney Brice Van Elswyk has comprehensive knowledge of the applicable criminal statutes and a proven history of achieving positive outcomes. Although he is committed to winning an acquittal, he will assess the strength of the case against you and advise you of your best options. Contact Van Elswyk Law today to discuss your case in confidence with our assault defense lawyer.
About Assault and Battery in Sarasota
Unlike states that consider assault and battery a single crime, Florida law has separate definitions for each:
- Assault is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or an act of violence from one person to another that places the victim in reasonable fear of imminent harm
- Battery occurs when a person actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against their will, or intentionally causes bodily harm to another person
This means the state can file assault charges regardless of whether the victim has been harmed. Suppose you only threaten to hit someone but put them in fear of imminent harm. You can be charged with assault in this situation.
Additionally, battery charges can be filed independently of assault. For example, punching another person in the face without threatening that person can result in battery charges. Finally, both assault and battery can be charged if you threaten someone with violence, carry out an attack, and cause bodily harm.
Assault and Battery Classifications
Florida law includes the following classifications of assault and battery.
Simple assault involves three elements:
- An intentional threat by word or act to commit violence against another person
- The apparent ability to do so
- Acting in a way that places the alleged victim in reasonable fear of imminent violence
Simple Assault is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail, 6 months probation, and a maximum $500 fine. Penalties will be enhanced if the alleged victim is a public servant (e.g. law enforcement officer or first responder).
Aggravated assault includes the three elements of simple assault as well as (1) the use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument (e.g., firearm, knife, beer bottle, car) or (2) the intent to commit another felony or serious crime. This offense is a third-degree felony, punishable by 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.
Simple battery occurs when a person actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person, causing bodily harm. This offense is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in prison and a maximum fine of $1,000.
Felony battery is a serious offense that involves:
- Actually and intentionally striking another person
- Causing the victim great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement without the intent to cause such harm
Felony battery in the third degree is punishable by up to 5 years in prison or 5 years probation and a maximum fine of $5,000. The court may also order the defendant to pay restitution to the victim, participate in community service, and undergo psychological evaluations and counseling.
Aggravated battery occurs when a person (1) actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person and (2) intentionally or knowingly causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement or (3) uses a deadly weapon. This offense is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Defenses Against Assault and Battery in Sarasota
Van Elswyk Law has extensive experience handling assault and battery cases. As a former prosecutor, Brice Van Elswyk has insight into the tactics the state uses to gain convictions and will choose the best line of defense.
The key element in these cases is intent: the state must prove you had the requisite criminal intent to commit assault and battery. Brice Van Elswyk may be able to assert that you did not intend to commit an assault or cause bodily harm. Depending on the circumstances, he may also be able to prove that you acted in self-defense to protect yourself or another person from bodily harm.
You can depend on Van Elswyk Law to protect your rights and work to win an acquittal. At the same time, Brice will weigh the strength of the evidence against you and advise you of your best options. Above all, he will work in your best interests and stand by you every step of the way.
Contact Our Experienced Sarasota Assault and Battery Defense Attorney
Being charged with assault and battery can jeopardize your freedom and your future, so having aggressive representation is essential. Contact Brice Van Elswyk today to get started on your defense.
Van Elswyk Law defends clients against assault and battery charges in Sarasota, Bradenton, Charlotte County, Hillsborough County, and Manatee County.