Battery vs Assault

What’s the Difference?

If you are facing charges for either, it is very important to know the difference between the two so you know your rights.


An assault is an intentional threat or attempt to cause injury to someone. Physical contact does not need to be made only the ability to do so which causes the victim to become apprehensive. Florida law recognizes three types of assault and they are simple assault, aggravated assault, and felony assault.

An assault is not only a crime but also a civil wrong (tort). As a result, both civil and criminal charges might be faced by the assailant. Criminal assault charges carry a fine, imprisonment, or both. However, the victim might be entitled to financial compensation in civil assault cases.

Awarded damages could be nominal damages which is a small financial award whether or not the victim sustained injuries, punitive damages which is extra financial compensation, or compensatory such as to take care of associated medical bills. Aggravated assault has a maximum prison term of 5 years, up to $5 000 in fines, and 5 years of probation.


Battery is unwarranted offensive touching or injurious physical contact. The victim’s apprehension of harm is not considered for battery. Like assault; there is simple battery, aggravated battery, and felony battery.

Misdemeanor or simple battery carries a penalty of up to one year in jail, up to one year of probation, and up to $1 000 in fines. Aggravated battery has a maximum jail time of 15 years, 15 years of probation, and up to $10 000 in fines. While felony battery has a penalty of up to 5 years in jail, 5 years of probation, and up to $5 000 in fines.

Author: Amir Ladan
A former assistant state attorney for Orange/Osceola Counties, Amir has handled thousands of cases and dozens of trials, ranging from DUI and traffic offenses to murder, in both adult and juvenile court.

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