Battery is a serious crime, and if you have been charged with battery it is no laughing matter. A conviction may result in severe penalties, including incarceration and fines, and it can potentially also impact your employment, reputation, and personal relationships.
If you are charged with battery, don’t risk your future by allowing an overworked public defender to handle your case. Get help from an experienced criminal defense lawyer from Khonsari Law Group. Call us today at (727) 269-5300 or online to schedule a free consultation and learn if we may be able to help you.
How Are Battery and Assault Different?
Most people do not know or understand the difference between battery and assault. Assault is a threat of bodily harm coupled with an apparent, present ability to cause the harm, while battery is the unauthorized application of force against another person’s body, that results in offensive touching or actual physical injury.
Examples of actions that may prompt assault charges include:
- Waving or showing a weapon to a person in a threatening manner
- Verbal threats
- Sending threatening communication, such as letters, emails, or texts
- Using aggressive body language while crowding a victim
Most battery allegations involve at least one person suffering a physical touch or injury to their person; however, if someone damages a person’s physical property that is also touching them, such as hitting a car with a baseball bat when they are sitting inside, or ripping the coat they are wearing, an offender may still be charged with battery. In such cases, the property is as an extension of the victim’s person.
Victims do not have to suffer an injury in order to file battery charges. Under Florida law, any touch that a reasonable person would object to is considered battery. When a victim does sustain physical harm, it is not unusual for the authorities to charge the defendant with both assault and battery charges.
Misdemeanor or Felony?
Whether a battery charge is characterized as a misdemeanor or felony battery makes an important difference in potential penalties.
A defendant will be charged with felony battery if the police and prosecutor believe they used extreme physical force to harm the victim. In most cases, that will mean the victim suffered severe or life-threatening injuries. The official charge in such circumstances is aggravated battery.
A common differentiating factor between misdemeanor and felony battery charges is whether a weapon was involved in the incident. Even if a gun, knife, baseball bat, or other object was not used, it’s mere presence may increase the charges and damage a defendant’s case.
Misdemeanor battery may be made after a “heat of the moment” or spontaneous exchange between at least two people. Examples of misdemeanor battery include:
- Shoving someone out of your way;
- Grabbing someone else’s arm; or
- Throwing a punch during an argument.
The Fallout From a Battery Conviction
The penalties for a battery conviction vary depending on factors such as whether it is a first offense or it meets the elements for felony battery.
Consequences for a first-degree misdemeanor battery conviction include up to 12 months in county jail and a $1,000 fine, with the possibility of a reduced sentence to 12 months probation, anger management class, and community service.
Felony battery is a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of five years in state prison and a $5,000 fine. A reduced sentence may include lesser prison time, anger management classes, and/or restitution payments.
Domestic Battery by Strangulation
Under Florida law, a charge for domestic battery by strangulation may be made against anyone who applies enough pressure to a victim’s neck, nose, or mouth, that they are unable to draw a breath. Domestic battery by strangulation a third-degree felony, and if a defendant is convicted, they may be sentenced to up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Legal Help in St. Petersburg
If you have been charged with battery, speak to an experienced Florida criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The attorneys of Khonsari Law Group have experience representing clients who have been charged with battery, and we are committed to providing a thorough and complete defense to ensure the best possible outcome for every case.
Contact Khonsari Law Group today and let our legal team review your case. Don’t wait to get the legal support that you need. Call us at (727) 269-5300 or online to schedule a free consultation and learn if we may be able to help you.