Whether it's voicing frustrations to a customer service representative over a series of billing errors or muttering angrily after being cut off by another driver, the reality is that as much as people want to remain collected at all times, their emotions can sometimes get the best of them.
While the majority of the time these emotional flare-ups are relatively harmless in the grand scheme of things, there are times when they may cross the line from understandable (or perhaps even embarrassing) to illegal.
Indeed, it's possible that a person who fails to exercise the necessary restraint could find themselves under arrest for simple assault and/or battery.
While these terms may seem indistinguishable at first glance, they are actually quite different in the eyes of the law.
Florida law defines an assault as any combination of intentional actions or words against another person meant to convey the threat of potential violence and which "creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent."
By way of illustration, consider a scenario in which a person threatens to beat someone in a fit of anger, perhaps screaming or raising their fist, leading the person being addressed to reasonably believe that they are indeed going to be struck.
One important thing to understand about simple assault is that, as we said earlier, it must be intentional. This means that those scenarios where a person is clearly making a joke or their actions are otherwise accidental likely won't rise constitute a criminal offense.
As for the possible punishment associated with simple assault, it's charged as a second degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by a maximum of 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
We'll continue this discussion in our next post, examining what Florida law has to say about simple battery.
If you've been arrested and charged with any sort of violent crime, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible as your freedom, your reputation and your future are at stake.