In Florida, a simple assault (misdemeanor assault) per Florida Statute 784.011.
“is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.”
Unlike a battery, simple assault does not require that there be any physical contact, a mere threat with an overt act showing the ability to carry out that threat may suffice. It may be immaterial if the defendant actually intended to carry out the threat.
Where circumstances prevent a defendant from imminently carrying out the threatening word or act, an assault does not occur. Additionally, conditional threats, threatening to do something if… does not amount to an assault.
A Simple Assault is considered a 2nd degree misdemeanor in Florida and carries the following penalties:
Up to 6o days in county jail; or
Up to 6 months on probation; and
Different defenses are available depending on the facts of the case, however, not every case will have a defense. The defenses can be legal or factual in nature such as:
Defense of others;
Defense of property;
Stand your ground;
Lack of intent;
Threat not imminent;
No apparent present ability to carry out the threat;
No overt act;