Under Florida Statute 784.03, battery is defined as a crime that occurs when a person “actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other; or intentionally causes bodily harm to another person.” There are different types of battery charges one could face in Florida, but simple battery and aggravated are the most basic charges one should be familiar with when one has been arrested for a violent crime.
Simple Battery in Florida
A conviction of simple battery in Florida is a first degree misdemeanor crime, which is why simple battery is also sometimes referred to as “misdemeanor battery.” In simple battery, the state of Florida must prove actual and intentional touching or striking occurred against the alleged victim’s will.
Intent and non-consent are both required elements and are often difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. The jury must determine if these indeed occurred based on the facts of the case. Injury and direct contact are not required elements of battery. A person may be convicted for a battery crime by throwing an object that struck the alleged victim, or even from coming into contact with objects that are close to the alleged victim’s person, such as a handbag or clothing.
The main factor that separates a simple battery crime from aggravated battery is the omission of an aggravating factor, such as the use of a weapon, serious bodily harm, and domestic violence.
Penalties for Simple Battery
Simple battery is a first degree misdemeanor crime in Florida, which means one could face up to a year in jail or no more than twelve months’ probation, and a fine of up to $1,000. The crime is more serious than simple assault, which is the threat of harm that leads another to fear imminent harm. Prosecutors often seek jail time or probation for a first time battery conviction.
Aggravated Battery in Florida
Aggravated battery is one of the most serious battery charges. Section 784.045 of the Florida Statutes defines aggravated battery as “intentionally or knowingly causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement.” Aggravated battery also includes the use of a deadly weapon. A person has also committed battery if “the person who was the victim of the battery was pregnant at the time of the offense and the offender knew or should have known that the victim was pregnant.”
A deadly weapon can be any object that was used or threatened to be used in a way that would likely cause death or great bodily harm.
Penalties for Aggravated Battery
Per the statute, aggravated battery is a felony of the second degree. Punishment includes:
- Up to 15 years in prison or 15 years’ probation.
- Fines of up to $10,000.
Penalties are substantially enhanced in cases where a firearm was used. Mandatory minimums as per Florida’s 10-20-Life law are observed.
- A minimum of 10 years imprisonment for possessing a firearm during the incident.
- A minimum of 15 years for possessing a semiautomatic firearm or machine gun during the incident.
- A minimum of 20 years for discharging a firearm during the incident.
- A minimum of 25 years for discharging a firearm and causing death or great bodily harm.
When you are charged with a violent crime such as assault or battery in Florida, no detail is too small and any detail can mean the difference between facing misdemeanor or felony charges. You need a headstrong and experienced attorney such as Brian Gabriel of The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel to tackle your case. Mr. Gabriel serves Palm Beach County with over 25 years of experience defending the criminally accused. Call 561-622-5575 for a free case evaluation today.