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Hit Me with your Best Shot: A Beginner's Guide to Battery Charges

It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye, or gets arrested. With the holiday season coming upon us, here’s what you might need to know about Florida Battery charges.

bat·ter·y

ˈbadərē/ (verb... also a crime) To prove the crime of Battery, the State must prove the following element beyond a reasonable doubt: Give 1 or 2 as applicable.
  1. [(Defendant) intentionally touched or struck (victim)against [his] [her] will.]
  2. [(Defendant)intentionally caused bodily harm to (victim).]
Basically, this means that person A did some type of physical act against the will of Person B OR Person A intentionally caused bodily harm to Person B. A simple Battery is a 1 st degree Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Fun Fact: In a battery case, the “person” extends to anything they are touching at the time. Can’t just go up and knock a bag out of someone’s hand thinking you’re free and clear, that counts, too.

Keeping it in the Family: A Lesson in How Bad that could be

BUT WAIT, that’s not all, folks. Let’s say Person A and Person B are either related, household members, or are in a dating/ romantic relationship. Let’s say that A and B are sitting around the table at Thanksgiving, maybe B brings up that skeleton in the Family Closet, when all of a sudden A punches B right across the turkey because B “got too mouthy.” That would be the end of Thanksgiving Dinner and also Domestic Violence. The State would additionally have to prove: (Defendant) was [a family or household member of (victim) .] [in a dating relationship with (victim) .] The State of Florida has decided that “Family or household member” means spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married. With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit. Florida defines “Dating relationship” as a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. But, does Domestic make any difference in the penalty? Yes. Yes it does. In addition to the possible penalties for a simple battery, if you’re involved in a Domestic Violence Battery case there are mandatory penalties:
  • Completion of a 26 week Batterer’s Intervention Program (BIP);
  • 12 months of probation;
  • 5 days required jail (if the defendant is convicted and there is bodily injury);
  • Additional community service hours;
  • Imposition of an injunction or ‘no contact’ order (depending on the case)
  • Additionally, Domestic Violence Battery cases are not eligible to be sealed or expunged if a person enters into a plea or is convicted at trial

The Hits keep on coming, because Battery charges are Enhanceable

If a person was previously convicted of a Battery charge (or aggravated or felony battery), the next Battery charge can be filed as a 3 rd Degree Felony. In that instance, the risks go up and the maximum penalty is 5 years of prison and a $5,000.00 fine. If the victim is seriously injured, the case can be charged as an Aggravated Battery. The seriousness comes if there is great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the victim; or if the defendant used a deadly weapon; or if the victim is a person whom the defendant knew or should have known was pregnant. Aggravated Batteries are classified as a 2 nd degree Felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000.00 fine.

The Gun Show you don’t want to see

Enhanced Battery cases also fall under the 10-20-Life scheme. Meaning that if a firearm is used during the altercation, there are some additional penalties if convicted:
  • Firearm possessed: 10 year minimum mandatory (“min/man”)
  • Semiautomatic Firearm or Machine Gun Possessed During Incident- 15 years min/man
  • Firearm Discharged During Incident- 20 year min/man
  • Firearm Discharged and Death or Great Bodily Harm is Caused- 25 year min/man
Before you let the situation get the best of you this Holiday Season, especially when showing off that Red Ryder BB gun, make sure you know the risks involved. If you’ve been arrested or are facing Battery charges, contact Colbert Law at (407) 705-3220 for a Free Consultation and to explore the Defenses, including Self-Defense, your case might have! If you have been the victim of domestic violence in Central Florida, contact the Harbor House’s 24 Hour Crisis Hotline at (407) 886-2856 or visit them online at https://www.harborhousefl.com/