Felony Battery Attorney in Tampa, FL
Any battery charges in Florida are serious, but a conviction for felony battery comes with much harsher penalties than the average battery conviction, including mandatory prison time in most cases. This is why it is imperative that you not try to deal with felony battery charges on your own. Qualified legal representation is essential.
If you or a loved one are facing felony battery charges in the Tampa, FL, area, call Armando Edmiston, an experienced Tampa felony battery criminal defense lawyer, today.
Felony Battery Defined in Tampa, FL
Battery, generally speaking, is the intentional touching or striking of another person against that person’s will, or the intentional injury of another person. This crime is also known as simple battery, and it is a misdemeanor punishable by as much as one year in jail. Felony battery, meanwhile, is an intentional unwanted touching or striking that causes great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement. It is a third-degree felony punishable by as many as three years in prison. Standing by itself, with no aggravating factors, this crime does not qualify for mandatory minimum incarceration. But because the crime inherently involves serious injuries, and because such injuries factor into sentencing determinations, minimum sentences are all but guaranteed. In fact, given the severity of the injuries required by the statute, the likely minimum sentence in many cases will be the same as the maximum: three years.
Felony Battery vs. Other Kinds of Battery in Tampa, FL
It is important to distinguish felony battery from other types of battery. The key difference between simple battery and felony battery is the severity of the injury. Simple battery involves intentional touching or striking. So does felony battery, but it must also include serious injury. It should be noted that the intent is the same in both crimes: to unlawfully touch or strike, not to severely injure. This level of intent distinguishes felony battery from the crime of aggravated battery, in which the offender commits battery with intent to cause serious injury or with knowledge that serious injury will result. In other words, in the case of aggravated battery the offender means to cause the injury; in the case of felony battery, she only means to touch or strike. If an offender uses a deadly weapon in the commission of what would otherwise be felony battery, the charges are upgraded to aggravated battery. Aggravated battery is a second-degree felony punishable by as many as 15 years in prison. A number of other battery offenses are considered felonies and carry the same maximum penalties as felony battery. These include domestic battery by strangulation, battery of law enforcement personnel and other public employees, battery against elderly people, battery by inmates against fellow inmates or visitors, and battery against children by throwing bodily fluids.
Enhanced Penalties for Felony Battery in Tampa, FL
Felony battery carries more serious penalties under certain circumstances. Maximum and minimum sentences can increase substantially for repeat offenders, especially those with violent felonies on their records. Felony battery becomes a second-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 15 years where it is committed on the grounds of a religious institution while the victim is on the property to participate in religious services. Where it is committed against a fellow household or family member, domestic violence battery penalties apply, including restraining orders, mandatory domestic violence counseling and permanent criminal records that cannot be expunged, in addition to mandatory jail time.