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Is Assault and Battery a Felony?

When an argument or dispute spirals out of control and results in violence or threats, one or both parties involved might be arrested for assault and battery. Given their violent nature, a conviction for assault and battery in Florida leads to a permanent criminal record, fines and imprisonment. In order to avoid these consequences, consider hiring a criminal lawyer to help. 

In Florida, assault and battery are different offenses. Battery occurs when an individual deliberately touches, strikes, or causes bodily harm to another person. Assault is threatening a person to commit a violent act against him or her. Both offenses may be charged in varying degrees. Ordinary assault is a second-degree misdemeanor, while aggravated assault, one that involves a deadly weapon is a third-degree felony. If the deadly weapon is a firearm, then a distinct charge applies: aggravated assault with a firearm, a crime that carries a mandatory minimum three-year prison term. 

Simple battery is a misdemeanor in Florida and carries a penalty of up to one year in jail or 12 months’ probation and a $1,000 fine. Aggravated battery requires the intent to do serious bodily harm or the use of a deadly weapon and carries a sentence of up to five years in state prison and a $5,000 fine.

What is Felony Battery in Florida?

In Florida, felony battery is a serious criminal offense that involves causing great bodily harm or permanent disfigurement to another person through intentional battery. Battery is the unlawful and intentional touching or striking of another person against their will. 

When this type of battery results in significant injuries, it becomes a felony offense. A person who is a serial offender and has been charged with Battery on earlier occasions can also be charged with the offense of felony battery.

Felony battery charges can also arise in cases involving aggravated assault. Aggravated assault is an attempt to cause serious bodily harm or using a deadly weapon while intending to harm another person. If the aggravated assault leads to battery, it may result in a felony battery charge.

In Florida, Felony battery is the most serious of all Battery offenses with Misdemeanor Battery and Aggravated Battery being first and second level Battery offenses. Felony Battery is the third-degree Battery felony offense in terms of bodily harm caused by the defendant. A person can be charged with Misdemeanor Battery even when the victim has not sustained any bodily injury. The charge of Felony Battery is applied only when the victim has sustained significant injury because of the act of the defendant.

To prove the crime of Felony Battery at trial, the State of Florida must establish the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The defendant intentionally touched or struck the alleged victim against the alleged victim’s will; and
  2. The defendant, in committing the battery, caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the alleged victim.

Potential Penalty for Felony Battery

Felony battery is classified as a third-degree felony in Florida. If convicted, the potential penalties can be severe. Those found guilty may face up to 5 years in prison or 5 years of probation and substantial fines up to $5,000. 

Moreover, they may have a permanent criminal record, which can impact various aspects of their life, such as employment opportunities and housing prospects.

Other penalties in Florida can include the following:

  • Restitution awards (for medical bills and other losses caused to the alleged victim);
  • Community service;
  • Substance abuse evaluations and treatment;
  • Psychological evaluations and treatment;
  • Counseling;
  • In domestic violence cases, completion of a 26-29 week Batterer’s Intervention Program.

Additionally, if the offender has previous convictions or a history of violent crimes, the penalties may be enhanced, resulting in even lengthier prison sentences and increased fines.

Defenses to Felony Battery

If you are facing a felony battery charge, it is essential to understand that you have legal rights and options. There are many defenses available to fight a charge of felony battery in Florida. Some of the more common defenses raised in these types of cases include the following: 

  • Self-defense: If the accused can demonstrate that they were acting in self-defense or defending others from imminent harm, it may serve as a valid defense against the charges.
  • Consent: Since an element of Felony Battery is that the contact was non-consensual, consent to the contact is an obvious defense. Other examples where consent would be applicable as a defense are athletic events.
  • Use of force in Defense of Others: You are allowed to use force if you are intervening to protect another individual, such as a child or an elderly person who wasn’t capable of physically defending themselves. As with self-defense, your use of force must be considered reasonable under the circumstances.
  • Lack of intent: Proving that the battery was unintentional or accidental may help reduce the charges or dismiss them altogether.
  • False allegations: In some cases, individuals may be falsely accused of felony battery due to misunderstandings, personal conflicts, or ulterior motives.
  • Insufficient evidence: A strong defense attorney will assess the evidence presented by the prosecution and look for any inconsistencies or weaknesses in the case.
  • Mistaken identity: In certain situations, mistaken identity may play a role, leading to an innocent person being wrongly accused of felony battery.

Consulting with an experienced felony battery defense attorney is crucial for identifying the most suitable defense strategy for your specific case.

Consult with a Felony Battery Defense Attorney!

Felony battery is a severe offense in Florida, carrying the potential for lengthy prison sentences and significant fines. However, with the right legal representation and a strong defense strategy, it is possible to mitigate the consequences or even have the charges dismissed. 

If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of Felony Battery in Florida, contact The Anderson & Ackerman Law Group today to secure the best possible outcome for your case.

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