To many people, the crimes of assault and battery go hand in hand. So much so that many people may think they are one crime.
In fact, the crime of battery is separate and distinct from the crime of assault. However, because an assault often precedes a battery, people are often charged with both.
Criminal battery occurs when threats of violence escalate to physical contact with another person.
Florida defines criminal battery as “Actually and intentionally touching or striking another person against the will of the other; or Intentionally causing harm to another person.” Florida Statute 784.03.
If there are no aggravating factors, a person will most likely be charged with simple battery, a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in prison, and a fine of up to $1,000.
If there are aggravating factors, such as the use of a weapon or if the victim sustained serious injuries, charges will likely be enhanced to a felony.
In addition to simple battery, Florida recognizes other kinds of battery crimes:
Domestic violence battery occurs when the victim is a family member, household member, or domestic partner. Domestic violence battery by strangulation involves a family member, household member, or domestic partner, and occurs when pressure is applied to the neck or throat, or by blocking the nose in a manner that creates a risk of bodily harm. Domestic violence battery is punishable by up to one year in prison, and a fine of up to $1,000, plus mandatory completion of a Batterer's Intervention Program, 12 months of probation, and a mandatory 5 days in jail.
Florida aggressively prosecutes domestic violence battery charges. Therefore, it’s important that you hire a skilled and experienced central-Florida criminal defense attorney to represent you against these charges.
The crime of felony battery in Florida is defined as intentionally touching or striking another person against their will that causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement.
Felony battery is a Third Degree Felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, and a fine of up to $5,000.
The crimes of aggravated battery and battery against a pregnant person involve intentionally touching or striking another person with a deadly weapon, or intentionally causing great bodily. Both are Second Degree Felonies, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
A skilled and experienced central-Florida criminal defense attorney may be able to have your battery charge reduced, or even have the case thrown out. But it’s important that you act quickly. Delay can make it more difficult to prevail in your defense against a charge of battery.
To defend you against a battery charge, your Florida criminal defense attorney might raise the following defenses:
Intent is an essential element of a battery. Therefore, if the victim consented to the touching, no criminal battery can occur. Likewise, in the right circumstances, your attorney may be able to raise the theory of mutual combat. Under this theory, if two (or more) people mutually engage in a fight, neither should be charged with battery because they both agreed to be touched or struck by the other.
Intent to commit a battery will be inferred from the circumstances of the event. Therefore, if there are instances when a person touched another person but did not intend to cause harm, or did not intend to touch the other person, your attorney can raise the defense of insufficient intent.
Finally, if you are charged with battery you may be able to claim self-defense if you use non-deadly force to defend yourself against an unlawful attack.
If you or someone you love was charged with criminal battery, it’s important that you hire a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible. At The Law Office of Jody L. Fisher, my team of experienced criminal defense professionals is ready to aggressively defend you. I am a former prosecutor and have been practicing law in Florida since 2002.