In Florida, aggravated battery occurs when:
A person intentionally or knowingly causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement; or when a “deadly weapon” is used. A weapon is “deadly” when it is used or threatened to be used in a way likely to produce death or great bodily harm.
A simple battery can be “aggravated” when the victim is pregnant and the suspect knew or should have known the victim was pregnant.
Aggravated Battery is a Second Degree Felony – Florida Statute 784.045
Up to 15 years incarceration
Up to 15 years probation
Up to a $15,000 fine
Facing Aggravated Battery charges?
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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:
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 cannot 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 cannot 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 falls 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.
The crime of assault occurs when someone without legal justification intentionally threatens violence towards another person. The threat can be by words or by an action. The State must prove that the person who initiated the threat had the actual ability to carry out that threat. They must also prove that the victim had a “well-founded fear” in his or her mind that the violence was about to take place.
An example would be raising one’s hand to another acting as if they were going to hit the other person, but no contact actually takes place.
What consists of a “well-founded fear”? Florida law says that actual fear does not have to be shown; if under the circumstances a reasonable person would have ordinarily had a well-founded fear in their mind, that element of the crime is satisfied.
Simple Assault is a Second-degree Misdemeanor – Florida Statute 784.021
Up to 60 days jail
Up to 6 months probation
Up to a $500 fine
Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, or Firearm
Aggravated Assault occurs when a deadly weapon was used, or if there was a conscious intent to commit a felony on the victim. A deadly weapon is any object that is likely to produce death or great bodily harm.
If a firearm was used in the assault, there is a 3 (three) year minimum mandatory prison sentence. This sentence can only be waived by the prosecutor. This is a very serious offense, however, there are ways to defend this type of charge.
Up to 5 years in prison
Up to 5 years probation
Up to a $5000 fine
Other serious sentencing enhancements can apply!
Firearm enhancement: 3 year minimum Mandatory
Law Enforcement Officer Victim: 5 year minimum mandatory
If the Gun was fired during the incident: 20 year minimum mandatory – This enhancement is part of the 10, 20, Life law in Florida
You can Fight your assault charges!
There are several different ways to defend accusations of assault.
Victim is Lying
Justifiable Use of Force in Defense of Property
Necessity or Duress
Lack of Proof / Insufficient Evidence
Victim’s fear not justified
Conduct does not qualify as a defense
“It wasn’t me”
Representative Assault Cases: (also found on Case Results page)
State v. AC (Juvenile Case) – Aggravated Assault with a Firearm
- Client was driving and was engaged by a highly aggressive driver. The driver got out of her car and verbally assaulted my client, then claimed he pulled a gun on her. The Defense was able to uncover highly suspicious circumstances surrounding the alleged victim and was able to convince the State that the case was not appropriate for prosecution.
Dismissed by State prior to trial
State v V.B. 59-2013-001483CFA – Aggravated Assault with a Firearm
- This was a Road Rage incident where client acted in self-defense. Through depositions, we were able to show the alleged victim had fabricated certain parts of his story. The charges were reduced charge and the client received probation with no jail time.
State v D.B 48-2012-CF-016764-O – Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon
- The client was charged with Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon and was accused of pulling a knife on an enraged driver at a gas station. The accuser was extremely aggressive and after investigating the incident further, we were able to convince the State Attorney’s Office to drop all charges against my client. The case dismissed prior to formal charges being filed.
State v D.A. 48-2012-CF-010591-O – Aggravated Assault with Firearm and Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon on Law Enforcement Officer
- Client accused of pulling a gun on a law enforcement officer and firing the gun in the presence of a lay person. The case was facing several years in prison. The State would not negotiate a non-prison plea deal so we took the case to trial. At trial, we were able to show that the police officers stories conflicted. Mid-trial the State offered a plea deal with a reduced charge and no jail time whatsoever.