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Florida law defines a Battery as an actual and intentional touching or striking of another person against that person’s will or the intentional infliction of bodily harm to another.

What constitutes a Battery in Florida is complicated by the fact that the touching or contact need not be a punch or even be harmful in order to constitute a Battery in Florida. Simply coming into physical contact with another in a harmful or offensive manner could constitute a Battery.

Penalties for a Battery Charge

Florida Battery penalties are classified depending on various factors including who the victim is, whether you’ve been previously convicted of a Battery, whether serious bodily injury was caused, or the status of the victim (i.e., pregnant, elderly, etc.). Furthermore, the manner in which the Battery was committed will also have an effect on how the crime is classified (i.e., Battery by Strangulation vs. Battery with a Deadly Weapon)

Florida misdemeanor Battery is classified as a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to:
  1. One year in the county jail;
  2. One year of supervised probation;
  3. A $1,000 fine
It is also important to remember that if you’ve been previously convicted of a Battery, you might be charged with a third degree Felony. Under the Florida Battery Statute, a “conviction” means a determination of guilt resulting from a plea or trial regardless of whether adjudication was withheld or you pled no contest.

Defenses to a Battery Charge

In addition to factual defenses that would be raised at trial to show reasonable doubt as to the crime alleged, some common defenses to a Battery charge in Florida include:

Self Defense
One of the most common defenses to a Battery charge in Florida is self defense. Florida’s self-defense law provides that you are justified in using force against another person when you reasonably believe that such force is necessary to defend yourself against another’s imminent use of unlawful force against you or another.

Basically, you have the right to hit back. However, this defense cannot be looked at in a vacuum and there are several important things to remember:
  • You are not justified in using deadly force unless you reasonably believe that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm;
  • It’s not enough that you felt it was necessary. You will be judged by what a reasonable person in your situation would have felt. The question for the jury will be whether you acted reasonably.

Insufficient Evidence
Attacking the State’s case and raising reasonable doubt as to whether the crime occurred is a common defense for Battery charges in Florida. A lack of evidence tends to raise reasonable doubt. Issues such as a lack of physical and/or documentary evidence can be used against the State has tending to show that no battery ever occurred.

Although rarely used, the fact that any alleged touching or contact was unintentional on your part is still a viable defense. If you suffer from some kind of medical condition that tends to show that your actions were unintentional, you may have a complete defense to the crime of Battery in Florida.

Contact Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney Chris Kaigle if you’ve been charged with Battery in Florida!
(407) 545-6416