Unlike assault which I explained on a separate page of this Website, battery is the completion of an act which began as an assault but concluded when one individual deliberately committed an unlawful act of violence against another, or a group of others by directly attacking them with a part of their body such as a hand (ex: fist or open) or foot (ex: kick), or an inanimate object.
To be considered simple battery, a person only has to touch or strike someone else, as long as the act is non-consensual. It is not required by a prosecutor to demonstrate that a victim was physically injured or experienced any cuts or bruises to their body for the crime to result in a possible conviction. Battery is further defined as the intentional harming of another person with the intent of causing bodily harm. In the State of Florida battery is a first degree misdemeanor
For battery to be proved by the prosecution they must demonstrate that intent existed in the mind of the defendant. In the case of a trial by jury, the judge will explain this imperative element before deliberations begin but are not required to explicitly explain to the jury that touching, which was accidental in nature, does not establish an actual battery under Florida's standard jury instructions.
A conviction for simple battery can result in imprisonment of up to one year in jail served in the locality of the crime's occurrence and a fine of up to $1000. A term of up to one year of probation may also be considered in a best case scenario when a conviction occurs.
For a first time offender it is important to retain qualified counsel as prosecutors will often pursue jail time for a charge of this sort depending on the defendant's earlier criminal record as well as injuries sustained by the victim, among other factors. The victim's input and testimony to the court during a trial may also influence a judge's decision when they conclude what sentence should be imposed, although their testimony does not influence prosecutorial decisions such as dismissing the case because the victim has changed their mind about pressing charges.
Additionally, if a person is convicted of misdemeanor battery which involved a family member or domestic partner they would be barred from possessing or owning any firearms or ammunition from that point forward.
When a conviction for the crime of simple battery occurs by a person who was previously convicted of the same crime, the State of Florida has a more severe set of penalties. This is the case whether adjudication was withheld in the first case or a penalty imposed.
A second conviction for the crime elevates its classification to a third degree felony. Felony battery will also be charged if the victim of the crime endures permanent or long-lasting disfigurement or disability as well as any great bodily harm due to the attack. This would be the case even if the victim's physical condition, which was the result of the violent act was unintended by the actions of their assailant. A prosecutor will have the discretion to charge a defendant with felony battery or aggravated battery which is a more serious charge which will be explained below.
The main difference between a simple battery and felony battery is the amount of physical damage sustained by the victim.
Unlike misdemeanor battery, a conviction for felony battery can carry a sentence of up to five years in state prison as opposed to a simple battery conviction which is normally served in a local correctional facility such as a county jail. A probationary sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $5000.00 can be imposed.
Aggravated Battery is a second degree felony which differs from the third degree felony charge based on either of one of two significant supplementary elements or both. In addition to the aspect of the attack causing great bodily harm, grave disfigurement or disability to the victim it also takes into account the use of a deadly weapon. The other differing factor is when a battery affects a pregnant woman when the accused had knowledge of the pregnancy or should have known that the victim of their attack was pregnant.
Aggravated Battery is a serious charge. Penalties for a conviction escalate substantially from the third degree felony battery charge including a mandatory minimum sentence of twenty-one months that a judge is required to enforce and may impose sentences of up to fifteen years in state prison as well as a fine of up to $10,000 or both. Probationary sentences of up to fifteen years of supervised release also remain a possibility based on the circumstances and the discretion of the judge.
As clearly explained above a conviction for any classification of battery can result in punishing consequences which can include prison time as well as costly fines. If you or someone you know or care about is charged with this offense and needs a criminal defense attorney that will fight all charges and defend your rights call me at any of the phone numbers listed on every page of this Website. Through my experience as a former Assistant State Attorney for Broward County, I have previously been on the other side of cases like these for the prosecution, giving me an edge as a criminal defense attorney who now successfully defends clients fighting charges such as these.
To find out more about my experience and learn how you should proceed if a charge of battery, felony battery or aggravated battery has been alleged, click here.