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Types of Assault

People oftentimes use the terms assault and battery interchangeably when discussing things that have happened to them.  There are important differences between the two, however. A battery requires a physical touching. An assault, however, requires a word or act that constitutes a threat, some physical act, combined with the ability to carry out that threat, all of which put the other person in fear of receiving a battery.  The classic example of a simple is someone clenching their fists, making a threat of violence, and approaching someone in a menacing fashion. Even if there is no physical contact between the two individuals, the defendant has committed the crime of assault.

A simple assault is a second-degree misdemeanor, meaning that it is punishable by up to 60 days of incarceration in the county jail. A simple assault committed against law enforcement or other classified individuals becomes a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in the county jail. If the person has a deadly weapon or has the intent to commit a felony, then the assault becomes an aggravated assault, which is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison. If the person commits an aggravated assault against law enforcement or other classified individuals, then the charge is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, with a mandatory minimum sentence of three years of incarceration.

Assault – Fla. Stat. 784.011

An “assault” is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.

Jury Instruction 8.1 (link will download)

Aggravated Assault – Fla. Stat. 784.021

An “aggravated assault” is an assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill; or with an intent to commit a felony.

Jury Instruction 8.2 (link will download)

Assault and Aggravated Assault against Law Enforcement – Fla. Stat. 784.07(2)(a), 784.07(2)(c)

Whenever any person is charged with knowingly committing an assault or battery upon a law enforcement officer, a firefighter, an emergency medical care provider, a railroad special officer, a traffic accident investigation officer as described in s. 316.640, a nonsworn law enforcement agency employee who is certified as an agency inspector, a blood alcohol analyst, or a breath test operator while such employee is in uniform and engaged in processing, testing, evaluating, analyzing, or transporting a person who is detained or under arrest for DUI, a law enforcement explorer, a traffic infraction enforcement officer as described in s. 316.640, a parking enforcement specialist as defined in s. 316.640, a person licensed as a security officer as defined in s. 493.6101 and wearing a uniform that bears at least one patch or emblem that is visible at all times that clearly identifies the employing agency and that clearly identifies the person as a licensed security officer, or a security officer employed by the board of trustees of a community college, while the officer, firefighter, emergency medical care provider, railroad special officer, traffic accident investigation officer, traffic infraction enforcement officer, inspector, analyst, operator, law enforcement explorer, parking enforcement specialist, public transit employee or agent, or security officer is engaged in the lawful performance of his or her duties, the offense for which the person is charged shall be reclassified as follows:

(a) In the case of assault, from a misdemeanor of the second degree to a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(c) In the case of aggravated assault, from a felony of the third degree to a felony of the second degree. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any person convicted of aggravated assault upon a law enforcement officer shall be sentenced to a minimum term of imprisonment of 3 years.

Jury Instruction 8.10 (simple assault on LEO, link will download)

Jury Instruction 8.12 (aggravated assault on LEO, link will download)

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