Battery Defense Attorney in Tampa, FL
Battery is one of the simplest and most common crimes in the Florida court system. That does not mean, however, that the consequences of a battery conviction are not serious. They are, and they can include substantial jail time and fines. It is important to have experienced legal representation when responding to battery charges.
If you or a loved one are facing battery charges in the Tampa, FL, area, call Armando Edmiston, an experienced Tampa battery criminal defense lawyer, today.
Battery and Its Penalties in Tampa, FL
Battery is often lumped together with assault, its close relative. Assault involves a credible threat to cause imminent bodily harm to another person. Battery carries the threat a step further. It is battery in Florida to intentionally touch or strike another person against that person’s will, or intentionally cause bodily harm to another person. This is also known as simple battery because it is the most basic type. Very little force or touching is necessary to establish a battery charge. A light push or grab is often enough. Battery is a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida, punishable by as much as one year in jail. But a defendant with a prior battery conviction who is convicted of a subsequent battery offense is subject to as many as five years in prison.
Enhanced Penalties for Battery in Tampa, FL
Penalties are more serious for other types of battery. Aggravated battery is battery that intentionally or knowingly causes great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement; battery with a deadly weapon; or battery against a pregnant woman where the alleged offender knows or should know the woman is pregnant. This is a second-degree felony, with punishments that include as many as 15 years. Felony battery is battery that causes great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement. Domestic battery by strangulation is any act of strangulation against a family member, household member or person whom the alleged offender is dating where the strangulation causes or risks great bodily harm. Both felony battery and domestic battery by strangulation are third-degree felonies punishable by a maximum of five years in prison. So is battery on on-duty police officers, correctional officers, juvenile probation and detention officers, juvenile facility health workers, emergency medical providers, firefighters, public transit employees, and staff at detention facilities for violent sexual predators, among other public employees. This includes the throwing of bodily fluids at correctional officers. Battery against a person over 65 is likewise a third-degree felony with the same maximum sentence, as is battery against a school, sports, child welfare or health official; battery by an inmate against a visitor or fellow inmate; and battery against a code inspector. Throwing bodily fluids on a child is also a third-degree felony and carries a maximum five-year sentence. Battery becomes a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of five years where it is committed on the grounds of a religious institution while the victim is on the property to participate in religious services.
Battery Defenses in Tampa, FL
There are a couple possible defenses to battery charges. Since battery requires touching of another person against that person’s will, it is a defense if the other person consented to the touching. This is the case, for example, in athletic contests. Though the courts have not sanctioned this as a defense in the case of consensual fights outside athletic events, jurors may be able to consider it in that context anyway. Self-defense is another common and obvious defense to battery charges. For a self-defense argument to hold water, the alleged batterer must be responding with non-deadly force to the imminent use of unlawful force by the other person.