Battery Defense in Tampa, Florida

Battery Defense in Tampa, Florida

Types of Battery Penalties in Tampa, Florida

anchor

 

Battery

What must the prosecutor prove in a Battery case?
According to Florida Statute § 784.03, the offense of battery occurs when a person:

  1. Actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other; or
  2. Intentionally causes bodily harm to another person.

What are the maximum penalties in a Battery case?
In Florida, battery is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of:

One year of imprisonment
A $1,000.00 fine
12 months of probation

Possible Defenses to a Battery Charge

  1. The Florida Stand Your Ground Law

Under the Florida Stand Your Ground Law a person is justified in using force against another if the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend him or herself against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force.  A person may also use force to protect property.

  1. Self Defense to a Battery Charge

Even when a judge rules that the Florida Stand Your Ground Law does not apply in a case, a person accused of Battery can still claim he or she acted in Self-Defense.
If a jury, or in the case of a bench trial, the judge, were to find that there was a reasonable doubt as to whether or not a person was justified in using a Battery to protect himself or herself, then the jury or judge should find the person not guilty.

  1. The Witnesses are Lying

Alleged victims and witnesses in a Battery case sometimes make false accusations because they have a motive to lie.  For example, child custody issues, cheating in a relationship, and other conflicts can motivate a person to claim a battery occurred when it did not.  A Defense Attorney can expose these motivations and attack false allegations.

  1. The Touching or Striking was Unintentional

In order for someone to be convicted of battery under the touching or striking part of the statute, the State must prove that the touching or striking was intentional.

For example, imagine Person A is walking down some stairs and trips.  If Person A were to crash into a person ahead of him, there would be no battery because the touching and striking would not be intentional.

  1. The Witnesses May Be Mistaken

Sometimes a witness may claim to have seen a Battery take place, but they were mistaken.  For example, Attorney Hardy handled an Aggravated Battery case in which a witness claimed to have seen Attorney Hardy’s client strike the alleged victim at a bar.  However, during Attorney Hardy’s investigation, Attorney Hardy was able to prove that there was very little light in the bar, the witness had been drinking heavily, and that the witness saw the events take place behind her – through her legs – as she was crawling on the bar.  Evidence like this can discredit a witness’s testimony.

Common Questions Regarding a Battery Charge

  1. Can a Person be Convicted of Battery Even Though They Never Touched or Struck the Other Person?

Yes.   A person can be convicted of Battery if they intentionally cause bodily harm to another person.  For example, imagine that Person A goes to sit down in a chair but Person B pulls the chair away so that Person A falls on the ground and is injured.  Even though Person B never touched Person A, Person B could still be found guilty of Battery.

Also, a person could be convicted of Battery if they touch or strike an object that has such an intimate connection with the person as to be regarded as a part or extension of the person, such as clothing or an object held by the person.  For example, in the case of Nash v. State, 766 So.2d 310 (Fla. 4th DCA 2000) a defendant grabbed a purse from a victim, and the two struggled for its possession.  The Court held that the purse was an extension of the victim and that the defendant had committed a Battery when he snatched it away.

  1. Does the State Have to Dismiss the Battery Case if the Victim Decides Not To Prosecute?

No.  Although the victim can request that the State Attorney’s Office not prosecute, the decision whether or not to prosecute is up to the prosecutor.  If the prosecutor can prove the case using other witnesses, videos, photos, or a 911 call, they will normally proceed with the case with or without the victim.

anchor

 

BATTERY ON A FIREFIGHTER

What must the prosecutor prove in a Battery on Firefighter case?
According to Florida Statute § 784.07, the offense of Battery on a Firefighter occurs when a person:

  1. Actually and intentionally touches or strikes the victim against the will of the victim; or intentionally causes bodily harm to the victim.
  2. The victim was
  3. Defendant knew that the victim was Firefighter.
  4. The victim was engaged in the lawful performance of his or her duties when the battery was committed.

Who qualifies as a Firefighter?
Florida Statute 784.07(1)(b) states that a “Firefighter” means any person employed by any public employer of this state whose duty it is to extinguish fires; to protect life or property; or to enforce municipal, county, and state fire prevention codes, as well as any law pertaining to the prevention and control of fires.

What are the maximum penalties in a Battery on Firefighter case?
In Florida, Battery on a Firefighter is a third-degree felony punishable by a maximum of:

  1. 5 years of imprisonment
  2. A $5,000.00 fine
  3. Five years of probation
  4. Mandatory Adjudication of Guilt

Possible Defenses To A Battery On A Firefighter Charge:

  1. The Florida Stand Your Ground Law

Under the Florida Stand Your Ground Law a person is justified in using force against another if the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend him or herself against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force.  A person may also use force to protect property.

  1. Self Defense

Even when a judge rules that the Florida Stand Your Ground Law does not apply in a case, a person accused of Battery on a Firefighter can still claim he or she acted in Self-Defense.
If a jury, or in the case of a bench trial, the judge, were to find that there was a reasonable doubt as to whether or not a person was justified in using a Battery on Firefighter to protect himself or herself, then the jury or judge should find the person not guilty.

  1. The Victim Was Not Engaged in the Lawful Performance of His or Her Duties

In order for the State to bring a charge of Battery on a Firefighter, the victim must have been engaged in the lawful performance of his or her duties at the time of the battery.

For example, imagine a uniformed Firefighter is on break and drives his car to a restaurant to get something to eat.Imagine further that the Firefighter and Person B get in an argument over a parking spot and that Person B punches the Firefighter.

Because at the time of the Battery the Firefighter was not engaged in the lawful performance of his duties, Person B can’t be convicted of Battery on a Firefighter.  However, it is possible that Person B could be convicted of simple battery.

anchor

 

BATTERY ON A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER

What must the prosecutor prove in a Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer Case?
According to Florida Statute § 784.07, the offense of Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer occurs when a person:

  1. Actually and intentionally touches or strikes the victim against the will of the victim; or intentionally causes bodily harm to the victim.
  2. The victim was a Law Enforcement Officer.
  3. Defendant knew that the victim was a Law Enforcement Officer.
  4. The Victim was engaged in the lawful performance of his or her duties when the battery was committed.

What are the maximum penalties in a Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer case?
In Florida, a Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer is a third-degree felony punishable by a maximum of:

  1. 5 years of imprisonment
  2. A $5,000.00 fine
  3. Five years of probation
  4. Mandatory Adjudication of Guilt

Possible Defenses to a Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer Charge:

  1. Self Defense in a Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer Charge

Under Florida Law, a person is not justified in using force to resist an arrest by a law enforcement officer, or to resist a law enforcement officer who is engaged in the execution of a legal duty, if the law enforcement officer was acting in good faith and he or she is known, or reasonably appears, to be a law enforcement officer.

However, if an officer uses excessive force to make an arrest, then a person is justified in the use of reasonable force to defend him or herself or another, but only to the extent he or she reasonably believes such force is necessary.

  1. The Officer was not engaged in the lawful performance of his or her duties

A conviction for Battery on a Law Enforcement officer requires proof that the officer was engaged in the performance of a lawful duty.  For example, in the case of Nicolosi v. State, 783 So.2d 1095 (5th DCA 2001) a female college student slapped a police officer that was working an off-duty job at a nightclub.  Because the officer was working the door checking identifications when he was slapped, the Court found that the officer was not engaged in the lawful performance of his duty but was rather working for a private employer.  Therefore, college student could not be convicted of Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer.

  1. The Defendant did not Know the Victim was a Law Enforcement Officer

A conviction for Battery on a Law Enforcement officer requires proof that the Defendant knew the victim was a Law Enforcement Officer.  For example, if an officer was working in plain clothes in an undercover capacity and did not properly identify himself as a Law Enforcement Officer, a Defendant accused of striking that officer could claim he did not know the victim was a law enforcement officer.

anchor

 

BATTERY ON AN EMERGENCY MEDICAL CARE PROVIDER

What must the prosecutor prove in a Battery on an Emergency Medical Care Provider case?
According to Florida Statute § 784.07, the offense of Battery on an Emergency Medical Care Provider occurs when a person:

  1. Actually and intentionally touches or strikes the victim against the will of the victim; or intentionally causes bodily harm to the victim.
  2. The victim was an Emergency Medical Care Provider.
  3. Defendant knew that the victim was an Emergency Medical Care Provider.
  4. The victim was engaged in the lawful performance of his or her duties when the battery was committed.

Who qualifies as an Emergency Medical Care Provider?
Florida Statute 784.07(1)(a) states, in part, that an “Emergency Medical Care Provider” means an ambulance driver, emergency medical technician, paramedic, registered nurse, physician, medical director, or any person authorized by an emergency medical service who is engaged in the performance of his or her duties. The term “emergency medical care provider” also includes physicians, employees, agents, or volunteers of hospitals as defined in chapter 395, who are employed, under contract, or otherwise authorized by a hospital to perform duties directly associated with the care and treatment rendered by the hospital’s emergency department or the security thereof.

What are the maximum penalties in a Battery on an Emergency Medical Care Provider case?
In Florida, a Battery on an Emergency Medical Care Provider is a third-degree felony punishable by a maximum of:

  1. 5 years of imprisonment
  2. A $5,000.00 fine
  3. Five years of probation
  4. Mandatory Adjudication of Guilt

Possible Defenses to a Battery on an Emergency Medical Provider charge:

  1. The Florida Stand Your Ground Law

Under the Florida Stand Your Ground Law a person is justified in using force against another if the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend him or herself against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force.  A person may also use force to protect property.

  1. Self Defense

Even when a judge rules that the Florida Stand Your Ground Law does not apply in a case, a person accused of Battery on an Emergency Medical Provider can still claim he or she acted in Self-Defense.

If a jury, or in the case of a bench trial, the judge, were to find that there was a reasonable doubt as to whether or not a person was justified in using Battery on an Emergency Medical Care Provider to protect himself or herself, then the jury or judge should find the person not guilty.

  1. The Victim Was Not Engaged in the Lawful Performance of His or Her Duties

In order for the State to bring a charge of Battery on an Emergency Medical Care Provider, the victim must have been engaged in the lawful performance of his or her duties at the time of the battery.

For example, imagine a paramedic is arriving to work at a hospital and the paramedic and Person B get in an argument over a parking spot.   Imagine further that Person B makes a fist and punches the paramedic.

Because at the time of the assault the paramedic was not engaged in the lawful performance of his duties, Person B can’t be convicted of Battery on an Emergency Medical Care Provider.  However, it is possible that Person B could be convicted of simple battery.

  1. The State Must Prove That the Victim was an Emergency Medical Care Provider

In the case of Spurgeon v. State, 114 So.3d 1042 (Fla. 5th DCA 2013), the Defendant was charged with battery on an emergency medical care provider for spitting in the face of hospital security officer.  At trial, the State was required to prove that the hospital where the incident took place fit the legal definition of a hospital as laid out in Chapter 395 of the Florida Statutes.  Because at trial the State failed to prove the hospital fit this precise legal definition, the Court overturned the Defendant’s conviction.

Are you looking for the best Battery lawyer in Tampa Florida? Contact Attorney David C. Hardy.

Tampa Attorney David C. Hardy is a former prosecutor that now represents persons accused of Battery.  He is Board Certified by the Florida Bar and the National Board of Trial Advocacy as an Expert in Criminal Trial Law. As a prosecutor and defense attorney, he has extensive experience handling all types of Battery cases.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for Battery in Hillsborough County Florida, Pinellas County Florida, or Pasco County Florida, Attorney David C. Hardy has the knowledge, skills, and experience to guide you through this process and obtain the best possible results.