What must the prosecutor prove in a Battery case?
According to Florida Statute § 784.03, the offense of battery occurs when a person:
- Actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other; or
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
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.