Tips to De-Escalate Before an Assault or Battery Charge

Assault and battery are serious charges that can come with jail time and steep fines. Although it might not seem like a big deal, threatening or physically harming someone can impact your job prospects and family for years to come. If you find yourself in a situation where you are facing a physical or verbal altercation, learning methods to de-escalate the situation can be your biggest help in avoiding assault and battery charges.

In this brief article, we spoke with an experienced assault and battery lawyer in Tampa from our team at The Rickman Law Firm to learn tips to de-escalate a stressful situation, as well as common defenses if you were charged with assault or battery.

Definitions of Assault and Battery Charges

Before we can talk about how to de-escalate or defend against assault or battery charges, we have to first talk about what they are.

An assault is a threat in the form of words, a gesture, or an intimidating act of harm to a person. A case of assault is established when it is confirmed that there was intent to commit a violent act, there was ample opportunity to commit the act at the time of the threat, and the threat of the act caused the victim to fear imminent harm. Types of assault include simple, aggravated, and felony, and the severity of penalties are determined by a number of factors including whether there was an intent to kill or if the act was against a minor or police officer. Penalties for assault can be anywhere from 60 days to five years in prison, six months to five years of probation, and anywhere from $500 to $5000 in fines.

Battery on the other hand is defined as the unlawful physical harming of another person against their will or consent. A battery case can be established if it is proven that a victim was intentionally touched or struck in an attempt to cause serious bodily harm. Types of battery include simple/misdemeanor battery, aggravated battery, and felony battery. Penalties range from one to 15 years in prison, one to 15 years of probation, and between $1000-$10,000 in fines depending on the severity of the crime.

Think of it this way: assault is often a threat, while battery is a physical act.

Tips to De-Escalate a Situation

The best way to defend yourself against an assault or battery is to not be involved in one to begin with. Of course, that’s far easier said than done, especially when another person is attacking you, your family, or your property.

A few tips to help de-escalate assault and battery situations while protecting yourself include:

  • Exiting the area or walking away
  • Attempting to film or have someone else film the situation, even if you can’t see anything in the video but can hear it. Sometimes assault charges are a matter of “he-said she-said” and a recording may help your case (but only video per Florida law).

If the person is still agitated and you are unable to walk away, it’s important to keep yourself safe. If you’re not in imminent danger, you may also want to try to deploy the LOWLINE system:

  • Listen to what the issue is and the person’s concerns.
  • Offer reflective comments to show that you have heard what their concerns are.
  • Wait until the person has released their frustration and explained how they are feeling.
  • Look and maintain appropriate eye contact to connect with the person.
  • Incline your head slightly, to show you are listening and give you a non-threatening posture.
  • Nod to confirm that you are listening and have understood.
  • Express empathy to show you have understood.

Common Defenses for Assault and Battery

The most common defense against an assault or battery charge is mutual consent. This defense establishes that both parties acted violently in the situation and that the attack was not one-sided. Self-defense, defense of others, and defense of property are other common defenses that can help reduce your punishment or eliminate it all together.

If you’ve been charged with assault and/or battery, you shouldn’t have to handle it alone. A Tampa assault and battery attorney with The Rickman Law Firm can help you navigate your rights during an assault and battery charge, and will help you understand the best defense for your specific case.

For a free consultation with a Tampa assault and battery attorney, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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