Battery occurs when one person touches or strikes another without consent. Battery may be considered a felony or misdemeanor depending on the extent of the damage and the status of the injured party. The intent of the assailant is also an important consideration when determining charges and penalties.
The laws defining what constitutes battery, what charges assailants face when accused of battery, and which penalties are assigned may differ from state to state. However, battery is considered a crime in all states. Some states may also charge assailants with one charge that includes assault and battery, while other states may separate assault and battery into two separate charges.
Florida Battery Laws
Florida defines assault and battery charges separately, defining the initial threat of harm as assault and the actual act that is intended to harm as battery. While an injury is not necessary for a battery charge, prosecution must prove that an action was taken with the intention of harming the victim. This action can be a direct contact by the assailant, or can be contact with an object or weapon wielded by the assailant.
Types of Battery Charges in Florida
Misdemeanor or simple battery is unwanted contact that produces little harm. The accused may have seized the victim’s shoulder or thrown something that hit the victim. In some cases, grabbing a person’s clothing or other objects that are directly in possession of the victim may constitute battery. Other types of battery charges that assailants may face include aggravated battery, domestic battery, and felony battery. These charges may change and warrant stricter penalties if the victim is a minor, elderly, pregnant, a law enforcement agent, a medical care worker, or a firefighter. The type of battery may also affect the charges.
Florida Battery Penalties
If convicted of misdemeanor battery, a defendant can face jail time, fines, and probation. Misdemeanor battery typically elicits one year or less of jail time, but more severe battery charges can warrant prison terms up to and including life sentences. Assailants may also be held responsible for any medical costs resulting from the incident.
Battery is a violent crime, so a conviction of battery may have severe consequences for defendants. Many places of employment will not hire someone that has any history of violent crime. Having a battery charge may also make people wary of developing personal relationships with a defendant.
Battery Criminal Defense Lawyer Orlando
Criminal defense lawyers understand the damaging effect that a battery charge can have on an individual. An experienced lawyer will be able to provide the best advice for defendants, and help defendants to gather the evidence and information necessary to support the defense. Having a solid defense can make all the difference in fighting a battery charge.
An individual cannot be accused of battery if it is determined that the individual acted in self-defense, defended others, or defended property. Only reasonable force can be used in self-defense to stop the threat, however. An attorney can help a defendant gather the information or testimony necessary to prove that the defendant acted in self-defense and only used reasonable force within the scenario.
Since battery must involve unwanted contact, victim consent can cause a battery charge to be dismissed. A victim is considered to have given consent in professional sports or other organized events where it is understood that bodily harm may result. Depending on the jury or judge, a victim may also be considered to have given consent in the case of a mutual fight.
If there is little evidence to support a battery charge, the case may be dismissed. Insufficient evidence of intent is often used to defend against battery charges. This defense may be used in a case where a person attempts to provide assistance for another that does not desire assistance, or where a person accidentally strikes, bumps into, or hits another person with limbs or an object. Insufficient evidence of injury and lack of testimony to support the victim’s story may also constitute insufficient evidence.
If a defendant was provoked, it will typically not be a viable defense to have charges dismissed. However, if it is determined that the victim engaged in heavy provocation, charges may be lessened in some cases. Provocation is not often used as a defense, but may be helpful in cases where charges and penalties may be severe.
“Assault and battery.” LII / Legal Information Institute. Cornell University Law School, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 23 May 2014.
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“Statutes & Constitution: View Statutes: Online Sunshine.” Statutes & Constitution: View Statutes: Online Sunshine. The Florida Legislature, 23 May 2014. Web. 23 May 2014.
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