What is Simple Battery?
Simple battery, or misdemeanor battery in Florida is defined under Florida Statutes § 784.03. In Florida, battery is defined as (1) any actual and intentional touching or striking of another person against that person’s will (non-
If Battery is committed on a law enforcement officer, it will jump from a First Degree Misdemeanor to a Third Degree Felony.
“Dating violence” battery is basically just a regular misdemeanor battery case, but between people in a romantic relationship. The following factors help make the determination of whether you will be charged with Dating Violence rather than simple battery:
1. A relationship existing within the past 6 months
2. Relationship involved affection or sexual involvement between the parties
3. The length of time and continuity of the relationship
What is Aggravated Battery?
Aggravated Battery in Florida is defined under Florida Statutes § 784.045(1) intentionally or knowingly caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the alleged victim, or (2) used a deadly weapon, or (3) battered a person who was known or should have been known to be pregnant. Aggravated Battery is defined as (1) a person committing a battery; and (2) in doing so intentionally or knowingly caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the alleged victim, or (3) used a deadly weapon, or (4) battered a person who was known or should have been known to be pregnant. In an Aggravated Battery case, the defendant knowingly and intentionally causes the harm, or uses a deadly weapon in causing the harm.
The term “deadly weapon” has been found to be strictly construed as being a question of fact to be determined by a jury when taking into account size, shape, material and the manner in which the object was used. Duba v. State, 446 So.2d 1167, 1169 (Fla. 5th DCA 1984).
Davis v. State, 565 So.2d 826 (Fla. 5th DCA 1990) (evidence that a defendant used a hand or foot in a battery is insufficient to establish aggravated battery).
Dixon v. State, 603 So.2d 570 (Fla. 5th DCA 1992) (en banc) (bare hands are generally not deadly weapons).
Vincente v. State, 669 So.2d 1119 (Fla. 3d DCA 1996) (screwdriver constituted deadly weapon where Defendant used it to stab the victim).
Coronado v. State, 654 So.2d 1267 (Fla. 2d DCA 1995) (sticks used to repeatedly strike victims found deadly weapons).
What is Felony Battery?
Felony Battery in Florida is defined under Florida Statutes § 784.041. Felony Battery occurs where a defendant actually and intentionally strikes a person (without the person’s consent) and, in doing so, “causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement” to the alleged victim. Felony Battery is different from Aggravated Battery above because in a Felony Battery case, the accused does not necessarily intend to cause the great bodily harm. But in an Aggravated Battery case, the defendant knowingly and intentionally causes the harm, or uses a deadly weapon in causing the harm. Also, the amount of harm inflicted is usually much more serious and significant.
** Keep in mind, simple misdemeanor battery may be enhanced to felony battery when the alleged victim was pregnant or over the age of 65.
Battery can also be charged as a Felony Battery even in the absence of great bodily harm if the accused has had a previous battery offense on their criminal record. Under Florida Statute § 784.03 “A person who has one prior conviction for battery, aggravated battery, or felony battery and who commits any second or subsequent battery commits a felony of the third degree.”
What Penalties Should I Expect To Face?
Under Florida Law, a Simple Battery (or Misdemeanor Battery) is classified as a First Degree Misdemeanor Level 7 offense severity ranking under The Florida Criminal Punishment Code and you could be sentenced to the following penalties if adjudicated guilty:
- Up to a maximum of one (1) year in prison
- Up to a maximum of one (1) year supervised probation
- Up to a maximum of a $1,000 fine
Under Florida Law, Aggravated Battery is classified as a Second Degree Felony with a Level 7 offense severity ranking under The Florida Criminal Punishment Code. You could be sentenced to the following penalties if adjudicated guilty:
- Up to a maximum of fifteen (15) years in prison
- Up to a maximum of fifteen (15) years supervised probation
- Up to a maximum of a $15,000 fine
- Restitution to the victim for any medical bills or expenses incurred (but restitution may exceed medical bills)
Under Florida Law, Felony Battery is classified as a Third Degree Felony with a Level 6 offense severity ranking under The Florida Criminal Punishment Code, and you could be sentenced to the following penalties if adjudicated guilty:
- Up to a maximum of five (5) years in prison
- Up to a maximum of five (5) years supervised probation
- Up to a maximum of $5,000 fine
- Restitution, Community Service, Batterers Intervention Program (DV cases), Counseling, etc.
What Are My Defenses?
Every case is factually and circumstantially different. The Modarres Law Firm will sit down with you and analyze the facts of your case to determine the best possible defense to assert in your particular case. Some defenses that are commonly asserted to charges of battery in Florida include:
- Defense of Others (if you battered someone to protect a 3rd party)
- No deadly weapon (agg. battery charge).
- Mutual Combat or Consensual Fighting
- Alibi or Mistaken Identification
- Circumstantial Proof of Intent (Where the only proof of guilt is circumstantial, no matter how strongly the evidence may suggest guilt, a conviction cannot be sustained unless the evidence is inconsistent with any reasonable hypothesis of innocence. C.B. v. State, 810 So. 2d 1072, 1073 (Fla. 4th DCA 2002)).
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