What You Need to Know About Battery Charges in Florida
All Florida criminal charges, including any misdemeanor charges, need to be taken seriously. In particular, a misdemeanor battery conviction can result in severe consequences. If you, or a family member, has been charged with battery in Florida, you need to speak to an experienced Tampa misdemeanor defense attorney as soon as possible.
Simple Battery Charges Under Florida Law
In Florida, battery is governed by Section 784.03 of the state’s statutes. You can only be convicted of misdemeanor battery if the prosecution can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that each element of battery was present in your actions. Specifically, the state must prove:
- Actual, and intentional, touching or striking of another person; and
- No consent having been given for the contact in question.
You will be charged with simple battery only if there were no other additional factors present. Other factors will likely lead to more heightened charges. For example, if a weapon was involved or if very serious injuries were sustained, a Florida prosecutor will likely bring felony charges.
Penalties for Misdemeanor Battery
While misdemeanor charges are less serious than felony charges, the penalties for a conviction can still cause major damage to your life. In Florida, simple battery is classified as a first degree misdemeanor. This means that you could be facing a maximum penalty of one year in jail in the event that you are convicted. Florida prosecutors tend to be especially harsh on those charged with battery. If you have been charged, you need to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help protect your legal rights.
Defending a Battery Charge
Your attorney will comprehensively review the specific circumstances of your case in order to craft an appropriate legal defense. Defending a simple battery charge will require a highly individualized defense strategy. Some common defenses to battery charges include:
- Self defense, defense of property or defense of another person;
- Lack of intent, meaning that contact was made purely by accident;
- Consent, meaning that you did touch the person, but it was not against their will,
- Mutual combat; and
- A lack of evidence to establish your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Any of those specific defenses might be relevant to your case. However, in some cases the best way to protect the rights of the accused is to instead focus on punishment reduction. We all make mistakes sometimes; even if you are guilty of battery, your rights still must be protected. Your attorney will always work hard to keep you out of jail. This can potentially be done by getting the defendant into one of Florida’s misdemeanor pretrial diversion programs.
Contact An Experienced Tampa Bay Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged, please take immediate action. Do not hesitate to contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group today. Our team will review your case for free. Our attorneys always provide our clients with aggressive, judgment free, legal representation. Our office is based in Tampa bay, and we serve clients throughout the region, including in Saint Petersburg and Clearwater.