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How Battery Is Prosecuted in Florida

Battery is one of the most common criminal charges that appears in Florida courts. Knowing how battery is defined and prosecuted in Florida can help you avoid battery charges, or if you're already charged with battery, understand what's in store next for your case.

If you're facing a criminal charge such as battery, you should contact an attorney immediately. At the Law Offices of Jason K.S. Porter, P.A., our Jacksonville battery attorney can help you navigate your case.

Fill out our contact form or give us a call at (904) 701-0591 to schedule your free, one-hour consultation.

What's the Difference Between Battery and Assault?

Battery and assault are often conflated, but they're actually separate offenses. Here's an easy way to understand the difference:

  • Assault occurs when someone fears they'll suffer immediate harm as the result of a threat.
  • Battery occurs when somebody is touched or struck against their will and without their consent.

So, if you threaten to splash boiling water in someone's face, you're committing assault. If you actually follow through with the threat and do pour boiling water on someone, you're committing battery.

Florida distinguishes several different kinds of battery and assault. For example, ordinary assault (a threat which makes someone else fear they're in danger of immediate harm) is a second-degree misdemeanor. In contrast, aggravated assault (which involves a weapon used to enhance the threat of violence) is a third-degree felony. Aggravated assault with a firearm is even more serious than aggravated assault and requires a mandatory three-year prison sentence for the offender.

What Are the Different Kinds of Battery?

Florida Statutes 741.28, 784.03, 784.041(1), 784.041(2), and 784.045(1)(a) all cover a variety of definitions for battery, as well as different kinds of battery charges.

There are a few types of battery you should be aware of:

  • Simple battery – Simple battery occurs any time a person touches or strikes another individual without that person's consent or against their will; or if a person intentionally causes bodily harm to someone else. Something as minor as touching another person's armor without their consent could technically qualify as battery, but acts like intentionally throwing a rock at someone are considered battery too. Simple battery is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
  • Felony battery – Felony battery has the same definition as simple battery, but results in severe bodily harm such as a permanent disability or disfigurement. For example, if you knock someone out, but they suffer no adverse effects, you've committed simple battery. On the other hand, if you knock someone out and they suffer brain damage, trauma, a broken bone, or another significant bodily injury as the result of the battery, you've committed felony battery.

The following types of battery (domestic violence battery and domestic violence battery by strangulation) are both prosecuted as felony batteries. Felony battery is considered a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

  • Domestic battery by strangulation – This form of battery occurs when someone intentionally impedes the airflow or circulation of a family or household member or significant other by strangulation.
  • Domestic violence battery – If a simple battery is directed against a family or household member, or significant other, it qualifies as domestic violence battery.

What About Aggravated Battery?

Aggravated battery has the same definition as simple battery, but a deadly weapon must be used to commit the battery and cause significant bodily harm. Battery against a pregnant individual is also considered aggravated battery.

Aggravated battery is the most serious form of battery and is considered a second-degree felony by the state of Florida. It's punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Is Battery a Felony?

It depends. Simple battery is only a misdemeanor. However, the other types of battery we've covered in this article are all felonies.

Generally, misdemeanors have less harsh penalties than felonies, which often carry mandatory fines and prison sentences as punishment. Misdemeanors are also easier to seal or expunge from a criminal record, which obviously has a lasting effect on how severely an offense will impacts a person's life. It's almost always better to be charged with a misdemeanor than it is to be charged with a felony.

To convict someone of a battery, the prosecution must prove they're guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Attorneys commonly use defenses such as self-defense, use of force in defense of property or others, or stand your grand laws to dispute battery charges.

If you're charged with battery, you need to contact a battery defense lawyer immediately. Our Jacksonville battery attorney will work with you to create a personalized legal strategy for your case that leverages your unique circumstances.

Schedule your free one-hour consultation at the Law Offices of Jason K.S. Porter, P.A. Contact us online or by phone at (904) 701-0591 today!.

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