A criminal charge or arrest for Battery is a serious accusation, and the consequences may be severe. Whether it's a simple misdemeanor or a 2nd degree felony, a violent crime on your record can drastically affect your job, relationships, and more. You may be wondering, “What's the difference between Assault and Battery in Lake Worth?” or “Do I need an attorney for a misdemeanor battery?”
At Bottari & Doyle, we understand that a criminal charge can change your life in an instant. Don't make the mistake of representing yourself or entering a plea deal without consulting a lawyer. You may have a defense to your criminal case. Consult with the assault and battery attorneys at Bottari & Doyle today to start building your defense.
Battery and Aggravated Battery in Lake Worth
To prove the crime of Battery, the State must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt.
- The Defendant intentionally touched or struck the victim against his or her will, or;
- The Defendant intentionally caused bodily harm to the victim.
Battery is a first degree misdemeanor in Florida. First degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to 1 year in the county jail, however we may be able to get the charge dismissed, reduced or negotiate with the prosecutor for only probation. Frequent conditions of probation include completing an anger management program, refraining from contact with the victim and paying up to $1,000 in fines.
A felony battery is a battery that causes greater injuries to a person than a misdemeanor battery, but less severe injuries than an Aggravated Battery. Felony Battery is a 3rd degree felony punishable by any combination of the following:
- 5 years in prison
- 5 years of probation
- $5,000 fine
If a person who has one prior conviction for battery, aggravated battery, or felony battery commits any second or subsequent battery, it is automatically considered a third degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in state prison. For enhancement purposes, a “conviction” occurs even if a person received a withhold of adjudication on the prior battery, felony battery or aggravated battery.
Aggravated Battery occurs when a person:
- Intentionally or knowingly causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to another person, or
- Uses a deadly weapon during the battery, or
- Commits a battery on a person who is pregnant.
Aggravated Battery is a second degree felony. As a Level 7 offense under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code, a person convicted of Aggravated Battery must serve a minimum of 21 months in prison and up to a maximum of 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation and a $10,000 fine.
Defenses to Battery and Aggravated Battery in Lake Worth
Common defenses to Battery and Aggravated Battery include, but are not limited to:
- Defense of Others
- Consent / Mutual Combat (A situation where two or more people agree to fight.)
- Lack of Intent
- Insufficient injuries
A criminal defense attorney will thoroughly investigate the case from all angles. When we defend Battery or Aggravated Battery cases, we typically assess the following questions:
- What are the relative physical capabilities and capacities of the defendant and the victim?
- Does the victim have a reputation for being violent and dangerous
- Does the victim want the charges dropped?
- What is the relationship between the defendant and the victim?
- Is there a motive for the victim to lie, such as allegations of infidelity or child custody issues?
Battery and Aggravated Battery: FAQs
Does the Defendant have to act intentionally?
Yes, if a Defendant accidentally touched someone then a battery did not occur. Additionally, a Defendant does not commit a battery by experiencing involuntary arm or leg movements that strike the victim. Such movements may be due to a medical problem and would not be intentional. Intent is ultimately a question for a jury to determine.
Does the touching have to be against the victim's will?
Yes. For example, in a situation where two people agree to fight, known as mutual combat, a Battery does not occur because the touching is not against the victim's will. He or she consented to the touching.
What if a Defendant indirectly contacts the victim?
A Battery occurs if a Defendant intentionally throws an object at a victim and that object hits the victim.
Do the charges get dropped if the victim wants the charges to be dropped?
Many people believe that the victim decides whether to “drops charges.” This is incorrect. Only the prosecutor assigned to the case has the power to drop the charges. The prosecutor may consider the participation of a victim at a trial, but ultimately the decision to keep or drop the charge rests with him or her. If a particular defendant has a history of violence, the prosecutor is very likely to proceed to trial with only an independent witness (police officer, friend, family member etc.) to the battery.
Do the charges get dropped if the victim refuses to testify?
Not necessarily. In many cases, the prosecutor may feel that he or she can prove the charge if there were other people who witnessed the battery.
What if the Battery is on a Law Enforcement Officer or Police Officer?
Florida Statute 784.07(2b) criminalizes Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer. However, if the officer is determined as having used excessive force, not performing a legal duty, or not on the job, it is possible to obtain a not guilty verdict. Speak to a South Florida battery lawyer at Bottari & Doyle for more information.
Why choose Bottari & Doyle as your Lake Worth criminal defense lawyer?
At Bottari & Doyle, we understand the emotional and stressful impact that a violent crime accusation can bring. We are committed to doing everything possible to keep clients out of jail and prison. We will read the police officer's report, the witnesses' statements, view photographs of the victim's injuries, listen to 911 audio, file any appropriate motions in limine or stand your ground motions, and take your case to trial if necessary. If your case does go to trial, we will fight for every single advantage at every possible moment.
If you have been arrested or charged with Battery or Aggravated Battery, contact the Lake Worth criminal defense law firm of Bottari & Doyle today.