Assault has known detrimental impacts on a victim. Unbeknownst to many, it also negatively affects those charged with assault. The consequences could be worse for school employees, even if they are later on acquitted.
Assault Versus Battery In Florida
In most states, assault and battery are designated as a single crime. In Florida, however, assault is a separate and distinct crime from battery. According to the Florida criminal statute, assault and battery differ in the following manner:
Assault refers to an intentional and unlawful threat of imminent force or harm to another person, which creates a well-founded fear in the victim. It does not include actual physical contact between the offender and the victim.
Assault is characterized by:
- An intentional threat made by the offender
- The threat consists of a word or an act to inflict violence
- The offender possesses apparent ability to perform the threat
- It creates a well-founded fear that the violence is imminent
Battery, on the other hand, refers to an offensive touching, striking, or harming another person. Offenses of sexual nature are also embraced in the crime of battery.
Battery may be committed in two ways:
- Actual and intentional physical contact with the victim against his will
- Intentional bodily harm upon the victim
Assault Charges and School Employees
At present, there are two instances when school employees may be involved in assault charges: 1) as the victim, and 2) as the accused.
School Employee as Assault Victim
Teachers, school officials, and other school employees are considered as special victims of assault. Chapter 784.081 of the Florida Code provides that if the victim is a school official or employee, the defendant shall be liable for the following penalties if he knew of the official or employee’s status when he committed the crime:
First-degree demeanor if the crime is assault:
- In Florida, first-degree demeanors are the most serious misdemeanors. The penalty for which is imprisonment of up to a year and payment of a fine of up to $1,000.
- Felony of a second degree if the crime is aggravated assault
- The punishment for a felony of a second degree is a jail term of up to 15 years and a fine not exceeding $10,000.
School Employee as Assault Offender
The consequences are grim when you are a school official or employee with assault charges. When convicted, a teacher may lose his teaching certificate in addition to being fired, while an employee may also lose his job.
However, even if there be an acquittal, an assault charge carries with it enduring harm to the reputation of a school employee. A criminal charge is permanently retained on a person’s record. For a school employee whose job entails righteousness, the damage is critical. Future employers may have access to such records and could hinder employment. Besides, being arrested for assault can also indirectly deter teaching promotions.
Contact a State Criminal Defense Lawyer for Legal Advice
An assault charge is a serious case. Its impact on one’s reputation and career cannot be underestimated. When confronted with a charge of assault or other similar felonies, reach out to a criminal defense attorney. As the charge affects character perception, the case must be proactively handled from beginning to end. Contact Piotrowski Law today at (305) 204-5000 for a free, no-obligation consultation.