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Orlando Verbal Assault Attorney

When you hear the expression, verbal assault, you may think of one person calling another person names or yelling at them. However, the definition of verbal assault is a bit more detailed. It can include any written or oral statement that induces another person to be fearful of bodily injury or harm. It can also entail the use of offensive language that can spur a reasonable person into violent action. If you have been accused of verbal assault, contact Parikh Law for a robust defense of your rights.

Is verbal assault a crime?

In Florida, verbal assault such as defamation, libel, or extortion is considered a second-degree felony. Florida has a legal definition of extortion that includes:

  • Threats of injury to another person.
  • Extortion (the threat of exposing another person.)
  • Threatening to force someone to do something against their will.
  • Threatening to take money from a person.
  • A threat to a school building.

If you have been accused of verbal assault, it is very important to hire Orlando criminal defense attorney to help secure your freedom. You may think that there is not enough evidence to convict you or that if you are convicted, you will not get any jail time. However, misdemeanor verbal assault can carry a sentence of up to a year, and you can get even more time if the assault is considered a felony.

What is the difference between verbal assault and verbal abuse?

The term verbal assault can be very ambiguous. Certain circumstances must exist for a situation to be actual verbal assault. When people speak of verbal assault, they are often talking about verbal abuse.

When two people have a relationship, whether it is romantic, familial, or professional, they may say things to one another that would be considered verbal abuse. Verbal abuse may involve shaming and degrading the other person. However, it is not considered assault unless it threatens a person with some type of action.

When a person is accused of verbal assault, a prosecutor will try to prove that they had every intention of following through with the threat or at least that the person being verbally assaulted had reason to believe that the threat was real. They also must establish that the person accused of assault could reasonably follow through on their threat. 

Photo of a person screaming

Examples of Verbal Assault 

The first thing a judge or jury will look at is the level of seriousness with which a statement that is perceived as threatening is made. For example, if a supervisor at a company tells a salesperson that they will get their butt kicked if they do not make their sales quota, the salesperson probably knows that they are speaking figuratively and not literally. However, if that supervisor has a history of actually striking employees, it might be considered verbal assault. 

When one person tells another person they are going to kill them, they are unlikely to be arrested for verbal assault. However, they might be arrested if they make the threat while holding a weapon.

Suppose a person is denied admission to a business because they are inappropriately dressed and then says they will blow up the building. In that case, a prosecutor may have a difficult time proving that the person had the means or knowledge to make a bomb or any intention of actually doing it. 

If a person finds out their neighbor is having an affair, they may decide to take advantage of the situation. They may tell their neighbor that they will tell their spouse about the affair if the neighbor does not provide them with money. This would be considered extortion which is a felony.

Sometimes verbal assault charges can be brought against a person for a practical joke that has gotten out of hand. The defendant would have to show that their actions were meant to be humorous instead of harmful. For example, if a person approached their friend from behind, held a bottle to their back, and said, “give me all your money,” the friend might think it was real. They might have a panic attack or even a heart attack. A criminal attorney would have to prove that the case was not a crime because the person who played the practical joke meant no harm.

Essentially a verbal threat becomes a crime when the speaker says they are going to harm a person or the person’s family.

How Prosecutors Prove Verbal Assault

Verbal assault is hard to prove. However, there are several things prosecutors may use to build their case, like written documents or tape-recorded conversions. If a person posts messages on social media stating that they are going to hurt someone, this may be used as evidence if they hurt the person they threatened. In some cases, a third party may post a video of a person making threats on social media, which can be used as evidence.

Can you get sued for verbal assault?

If someone is harassed or defamed, they can sue the perpetrator in civil court whether or not the assault resulted in criminal charges. They can sue if they have documentation of the abuse or there were witnesses who saw or heard the verbal assault.

Why You Need a Domestic Violence Attorney

If you are accused of verbal assault, Parikh Law will do everything we can to get the charges dropped, get you a favorable plea deal, or get a verdict of not guilty. We will ensure that all of the evidence against you was obtained legally. We will interview witnesses to find out if they believe your words were meant to be taken seriously and will research cases that are similar to yours to understand the best way to argue your case. Domestic Violence attorneys of Parikh Law have years of experience in courtroom litigation. We will work tirelessly to defend you.

If you have been accused of a crime, your priority should be your freedom. We understand that people often say things they do not mean. Parikh Law is committed to our clients and their right to a fair trial.