All violent crime allegations in Florida can have life changing outcomes, and Aggravated Battery is no exception. Charges of Aggravated Battery can result in violent felon status, probation, fines, and even prison time. This means reduced possibilities for housing and employment.
What is the Difference Between Assault and Battery?
Assault and battery are often used interchangeably, but these are very different offenses under Florida Law. Assault is a separate crime with different elements and charged under a separate statute. An assault is where a person threats another, by word or act, to do violence to another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so. Assault (like battery) can carry increased penalties if a weapon is involved. Consider two people at a bar watching a Jags game and playing pool. They begin to get into an argument over a pool bet. One man holds up his pool stick and tells the other he’s going to beat him with it and starts walking. Regardless of what happens next, this is an assault.
A battery is actually striking someone. In the above example if the man hit the other with the pool stick, that would be assault (for the threat) and battery for the striking. If there was no warning involved and he only hit him from behind, that would be battery. Assault and battery both commonly evoke thoughts of injuries. Neither one requires a person actually be injured though. A battery can be any unwanted touching, even spitting on someone.
What is Aggravated Battery?
Aggravated Battery in particular is unwanted touching with an aggravated circumstance alleged. Defined by Florida Statutes § 784.045, Aggravated Battery is charged when the state believes they can prove that:
- A deadly weapon was used,
- The victim suffered great bodily harm,
- The victim suffered permanent disability,
- The victim suffered permanent disfigurement, or
- The victim was pregnant and the offender should have known that to be the case.
Aggravated Battery is a felony in the second degree, carrying up to 15 years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines, the possibility of probation, and the stigma of a violent felony conviction.
Defenses to Aggravated Battery
Aggravated Battery shares most of its possible defenses with Battery, but there are some unique defenses available.
- General Denial – Useful when eyewitness testimony makes up all or a bulk of the evidence. This defense is usually employed any time there is a question of honestly or reliability in a witness.
- False Allegations – Unfortunately, some people lie to the police. Oftentimes false allegations of Aggravated Battery can be snuffed out long before trial by simply showing the inconsistences to the prosecutor handling the case.
- Self-Defense – Possibly the most utilized and least understood defense to Battery charges. Self-defense can be utilized when a person reasonably believes the conduct is necessary to defend themselves from someone else’s use of unlawful force. The law surrounding it is convoluted, and at times difficult to understand, but in some cases can be sought to completely exonerate the defendant. In the example used above, if it can be shown that the other bar patron had swung a cue ball at the defendant, a self-defense claim could be laid.
- Defense of Others – Defense of another person is nearly identical to self-defense, but occurs when someone else is in danger and third-party steps in.
Jacksonville, FL Criminal Defense Attorney
Lee Lockett and legal team at Lockett are based out of Duval County, but travel all over North Florida to defend the rights of others. If you have been accused of any type of battery, the legal team at Lockett Law is prepared to defend your rights. Mr. Lockett understands how prosecutors work and how they think, he began his career prosecuting cases for the state. He learned how these cases progress, and what types of defenses do and do not work. He later took that skillset to begin defending the rights of the accused and ensuring justice is served. Call a Jacksonville assault lawyer today at (904) 858-9818 or connect with our team in the chat window on the bottom right of your screen to have an open and free consultation.