What is considered Battery?
Battery is the “intentional” touching or striking of another against the will of that person. Put simply, you cannot even touch someone who does not consent to being touched. Thus, if you kiss a pretty girl you like and she did not consent, technically you could be charged with Misdemeanor Battery.
Of course, many non-consensual touchings may, in the prosecutors discretion, not be charged but some will. For instance, as a former Prosecutor, I had a case wherein a brother was charged with throwing a plastic cup full of water and hitting his sister in the head with it. Since the sister wanted to prosecute, the State filed charges. Most of the time, a Battery occurs when someone is punched by another person. Often these situations are domestic involving a husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend.
The next higher level of Battery is “Felony Battery” which is a third degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison. The difference between a regular misdemeanor battery and felony battery is the extent of the injury to the alleged victim. If the State alleges great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement as the result of a battery, one can be charged with Felony Battery.
The next higher level of Battery is “Aggravated Battery” which is a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. This occurs when the person intentionally and knowingly causes great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement or disability, or uses a deadly weapon. A deadly weapon is considered anything that is likely to cause death if used against another person. Thus, the weapon does not have to be a knife, a bat or something held by the assaulter. For example, it can be a car trying to run someone over.
Penalties for Protected Classes of Victims
There are other types of Battery charges which are specific to the person who is battered which become felonies when they normally would have only been misdemeanors. A battery against a police officer, school board employee, pregnant woman, fire fighters, first responders, medical care providers, bus drivers, and detention officers all become third degree felonies simply because of who the person is.
Stand Your Ground Law
If you are charged with any type of battery, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer who has successfully defended battery charges especially in light of Florida’s relatively new “Stand Your Ground” law which can be utilized to dismiss the charges before the case ever goes to trial.
If you’ve been charged with a crime or have been brought in for questioning, call the office of Ray Lopez at 813-221-4455.