Although assault and battery are commonly linked, they are actually two distinct crimes. While an assault refers to a threat of harm that leads to the victim’s fear of imminent harm, a battery requires actual physical contact. In other words, an assault is a threat and a battery occurs when the physical touch actually occurs. If you have been charged with battery in Florida, it is crucial to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Herman Law, P.A. has successfully handled thousands of criminal cases, including many battery cases. Prior to entering private practice as a criminal defense lawyer, Attorney Ron D. Herman started his legal career as an Assistant State Attorney in Fort Lauderdale. Mr. Herman rose quickly through the ranks and served as a division lead in the Domestic Violence and Felony Units. As a result, Mr. Herman knows the strategies that prosecutors will employ which allows him to always be a step ahead in your defense.
Types of Battery Charges
Battery charges in Florida can be charged in one of three ways: simple battery, felony battery, and aggravated battery.
Simple battery is charged when there are no aggravating factors or enhancements involved (such as the use of a weapon, serious bodily injury, or domestic violence). Simple battery is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine not to exceed $1,000. It is important to note that it is not necessary for the victim to be injured in the battery; as long as the touching was unwanted, you can be charged with simple battery.
Felony Battery, on the other hand, requires the victim to suffer a significant injury. Felony battery can lead to a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine up to $5,000. Often the minimum sentence for felony battery is longer than 19 months. Because the minimum will vary in every case, it takes a skilled criminal defense attorney to defend you against the potential penalties you face.
Aggravated Battery, is the most serious way a battery can be charged and carries with it the stiffest penalties. To be charged with aggravated battery the state must show you (1) used a deadly weapon, (2) the victim suffered great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement, or (3) the victim was pregnant and you knew it. Additionally, even a simple battery, if committed against a pregnant woman, can be charged as an aggravated battery, even if no injury occurred. Aggravated battery carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine.
Commonly Used Battery Defense
At Herman Law, we have the skills and experience to assert a number of defenses against battery charges.
Your Intent Matters
Intent is a required element of a simple battery charge. This means that you must have intended to strike the other person. You cannot accidentally commit battery. If the contact was accidental or incidental to other activity, you cannot be convicted of a battery.
If you are engaged in mutual combat or a fistfight, you likely have a strong defense against a battery charge, provides that you did not initiate the fight and/or you were not the primary aggressor or initiated the fight.
Self Defense/Defense of Others
If you were defending yourself, your property or another person when the battery occurred, you have a strong defense to the charges against you. Self-defense is recognized as an affirmative defense against battery charges. Having an aggressive attorney by your side to show your actions constituted self-defense is crucial.
Another important issue in every battery case is that the battery must be against the person’s will. If the alleged victim consented to the contact but later regretted it, a jury would be unable to convict you of the charges against you. Every case is different, and you should discuss your case thoroughly with your attorney to find your best defense.
Contact Our South Florida Battery Defense Attorney
If you are facing a battery charge you need to make sure your rights are protected, your defenses investigated and the best possible outcome is achieved given the facts of your case. For over twenty years, Ron D. Herman has provided exceptional legal service to Floridians. Ron brings inside knowledge of the police and prosecution’s tactics and aggressive strategies to his criminal defense practice – knowledge that can only be attained through prior experience as a prosecutor. Due to his passionate defense of the accused and exceptional trial skills, Mr. Herman has been recognized as one of South Florida’s Top AV® Rated Lawyers, one of Florida’s Super Lawyers® Rising Stars℠, and as one of the “10 Best” by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys. If you have been accused or charged with assault or battery in West Palm Beach, please contact our offices as soon as possible for a free consultation.