What Are the Different Types of Battery Charges in Florida?
While some states treat the two terms as basically identical, Florida state law defines “assault” and “battery” as two different criminal offenses, with “assault” involving an intentional threat to commit violence and “battery” involving actual violent contact with another person. On top of that, Florida courts can prosecute battery allegations in several different ways depending on what the defendant stands accused of doing and the circumstances under which they allegedly committed their offense.
Understanding the different types of battery charges in Florida can be a huge help when it comes to building a strong defense strategy against a battery accusation. Here is a brief overview of the various ways courts can approach these offenses, all of which a knowledgeable defense lawyer can explain in further detail.
According to Florida Statutes § 784.03, someone commits simple battery if they either intentionally touch or strike another person against their will or intentionally cause another person to suffer bodily harm. A first offense under this statute is treated as a first-degree misdemeanor, but any second or subsequent conviction for simple battery would be considered a third-degree felony. The same is true of any act of simple battery committed during a riot.
Battery by Strangulation
If someone commits simple battery and, in the process of doing so, restricts the targeted person’s breathing or blood circulation by blocking their mouth, nose, neck, or throat, that offense may be treated as battery by strangulation under FL Stat. § 784.031. This offense is always considered a third-degree felony, whether it is the defendant’s first time being prosecuted for a battery offense or not.
As per FL Stat. § 784.041, a first-time battery offense also rises to the level of a third-degree felony if the defendant causes someone to suffer “great bodily harm” or some form of permanent disfigurement or disability by intentionally touching or striking them against their will. This statute also specifically defines battery by strangulation committed against family, a romantic partner, or household member to be a third-degree felony.
FL Stat. § 784.045 defines aggravated battery as someone intentionally or knowingly causing great bodily harm or permanent disfigurement/disability (1) through an act of battery, (2) using a deadly weapon to commit battery, or (3) committing simple battery against someone they knew or should have known was pregnant. This type of battery is considered a felony in the second degree under most circumstances, but it may be punished even more harshly if the defendant was engaged in an act of rioting.
Battery as a Domestic Violence Offense
Any act of battery or aggravated battery as defined above will be categorized as a form of domestic violence if it targets a family or household member of the defendant or someone the defendant is dating. A conviction for domestic violence battery carries a minimum 10-day jail term which may be extended under certain circumstances, as well as a mandatory one-year probation term and mandatory completion of a batterers’ intervention program.
Call a Florida Attorney to Explain Different Types of Battery Charges in More Detail
All this goes to show that one person’s criminal case for a battery allegation can be very different from what another person might face. With that in mind, you may be setting yourself up for a disappointing and potentially life-altering case outcome if you try to build a defense strategy while thinking all battery charges are alike.
Fortunately, you have help available from The Umansky Law Firm, who can make sure you understand how to handle your specific battery charge in Florida. Call us today for a free and confidential consultation.