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Orlando Criminal Attorney > Blog > Criminal Defense > Five Defenses to Assault and Battery in Florida

Five Defenses to Assault and Battery in Florida

Recently, the world watched as Will Smith slapped Chris Rock during the Academy Awards. Rock stated almost immediately that he would not be pressing charges, and it does not seem as though California law enforcement is going to pursue the matter, either. Contrary to what many people believe, law enforcement can still lay charges even when the victim is not interested in doing so.  

California law is similar to that of Florida law, as both states recognize assault and battery as two separate offenses. Assault is the intent to cause harm, while battery is the actual act of causing harm without the consent of the victim. Similar defenses can be used when fighting back against these charges. 

You Were Defending Yourself 

Florida law allows for the use of self-defense if you believed it was necessary to use force to protect yourself. As such, if you inflicted physical harm or pain to someone else while defending yourself, you cannot be convicted of assault or battery. You also do not have to make any attempt to retreat before exercising your right to self-defense. Additionally, anyone who enters your vehicle or home without your permission is presumed to be doing so to commit a violent crime. You can also use self-defense in these situations. 

You Were Defending Someone Else 

Self-defense does not only apply to you, but to other people you are defending against non-deadly and unlawful force. For example, if someone did enter your home and threatened to harm your family, you could use force against them to protect yourself and your loved ones. Even if you harmed the intruder, you could not be convicted of assault or battery.  

You Were Defending Your Own Property 

 If someone trespassed on your property and you believed force was required to prevent them from engaging in wrongdoing, you also cannot be charged with assault or battery. For example, you may see someone enter your property and try to break into your vehicle. In this situation, you could use force to try and stop them.  

You Had No Intent to Cause Harm  

It is not uncommon for people to joke, insult, and even hit each other. Someone may become hurt during such contact. Without the intent to cause harm though, this cannot result in a charge for assault or battery. 


People often wonder how consent can be used as a defense in assault and battery cases. The most recent case at the Academy Awards is a good example of how consent can work as a defense. At first, many people thought the altercation between Smith and Rock was a skit, as the Academy Awards is often known for creating these types of bits. If that had been the case, Rock would have consented to being slapped and so, it could work as a defense for Smith. 

Our Assault and Battery Lawyer in Orlando Can Help with Your Defense 

If you have been charged with assault or battery, our Orlando assault lawyer can help. At O’Mara Law Group, we know how to build on the strengths of your case while pointing out the weaknesses in the prosecution’s so you have the best chance of retaining your freedom. Call us today at 407-634-6604 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. 


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