In Florida, a battery occurs when someone intentionally touches or strikes another person against his or her will, or where someone intentionally causes bodily harm to another person. Fla. Stat. § 784.03.
There is only one lesser included offense which is Attempted battery, Florida Statute § 777.04(1).
Possible Defenses to an allegation of Battery include:
- Self Defense
- Defense of Others
- It did not happen
- It happened but it was not you
- It happened but it was an accident (not intentional)
- Lack of evidence – ie the State can not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt
A simple battery charge is a misdemeanor. This means that the maximum punishment you can receive if found guilty or if you take a plea deal is one year in jail, or up to one year of probation. Though it is unlikely that you would receive jail time on a first offense, it is possible. Taking a plea deal, even if it is a no contest plea, can result in adverse consequences that can affect the rest of your life. That is why you should consult with an attorney before ever accepting guilt or pleading no contest.
In some cases the alleged victim may not want to go forward. In these cases the alleged victim will sometimes sign a formal document called a declination of prosecution. When done properly this can be a helpful tool for the defense and can sometimes lead to a dismissal. Most of the time defendants can not have any contact with an alleged victim. That is just one reason to have an experienced attorney working on the case.
Please keep in mind that no outcomes can be guaranteed by an attorney.
A battery charge can be much more serious if the alleged victim has significant injuries, if she was pregnant, if the case involved a weapon, or if the victim was elderly.
A battery can be a felony when serious bodily injury occurs, the victim fall into a special category such as over 65 years old, a pregnant person, someone physically helpless, or when the defendant has been previously convicted of a prior battery offense. If a person has a prior battery for which they had adjudication withheld, that prior offense still counts towards the enhancement.