An aggravated assault legal matter can be life-changing and can lead to tough times for you and your loved ones. It is considered a violent felony charge, which can lead to various consequences aside from just the sentence you may receive if found guilty. Not only can it lead to you losing your current job or career, but it could also lead to you not being able to find other employment and it could lead to you being considered a violent felony offender of special concern or if you have 3 violent felony convictions, you could be considered a 3-time violent felony offender. Those classifications could have serious consequences if you should ever be charged with another crime or if you violate probation. These charges are nothing to be taken lightly, and you should definitely have a competent criminal defense attorney who is familiar with aggravated felony and the possible defenses that represent you.
Aggravated Battery under Florida Statute 784.045 is a battery that either caused great bodily harm or a battery with a deadly weapon. It is a second-degree felony punishable by 15 years in prison or probation or a combination of the two and a fine of up to $10,000. This means that in addition to the elements of battery, the intentional unlawful touching of another person, the state also has to prove that you either cause great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement, or permanent disability or used a deadly weapon.
Florida statutes do not actually define great bodily harm and so the courts have defined this term by case law over time. In the case of Nguyen v. State of Florida, the court said that “proving great bodily harm requires proving more than slight, trivial, minor, moderate, or some harm.” So whether or not an injury is serious enough to be considered great bodily harm under Florida Statute 784.045 (1)(a)1 is a grey area. Most likely any type of broken bones or injuries that cause permanent injuries will qualify but even injuries requiring stitches may qualify.
It is pretty obvious that a gun or firearm is a deadly weapon. However, other weapons or even some ordinary objects used every day may also qualify and could potentially enhance your misdemeanor battery to a second-degree felony. Florida courts have defined a deadly weapon as “an item which, when used in the ordinary manner
contemplated by its design, will or is likely to cause death or great bodily harm…or… because of the way it is used during a crime.” A car, for example, when used to hit someone or a thick broken piece of glass can be considered a deadly weapon depending on how it is used. However, other items, such as a small rock, a broom handle, a flower pot, or a bicycle were not considered deadly weapons when thrown at someone.
If a firearm was either used or you were found to have been in possession of a gun while committing the battery, you will face a mandatory minimum prison sentence under Florida 10-20-Life law. Simply possessing a gun or firearm while committing an aggravated barely will trigger a 10-year minimum sentence, discharging the gun or firearm will trigger a 20-year minimum sentence, and discharging the firearm and causing great bodily harm or death will trigger a 25-year minimum prison sentence. These minimum prison sentences cannot be waived by the judge and the only person who can either lower or waive the mandatory minimum is the state attorney. A competent, knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can help you with that.
Kerstin Wade has handled many battery and aggravated battery cases and can help you assert the best defense possible to either reduce the sentence or help you beat the charges altogether. The charges for example could be reduced to a misdemeanor if the state is unable to prove that you caused great bodily harm or permanent disfigurement or if they cannot prove that the object you used does not qualify as a deadly weapon. If the state is unable to prove that you intentionally struck the alleged victim or that the touching was not against the will of the alleged victim, the charges could be dismissed completely.
In addition to weaknesses in the case because the state is unable to prove an element of the charge, there are also many affirmative defenses Kerstin Wade can help you explore. These defenses include self-defense, defense of others. If you have been charged with an aggravated battery, make sure you have a knowledgeable, aggressive Tampa criminal defense attorney on your side. Feel free to call us today at 813-401-0130 for a free consultation to discuss your case with Kerstin Wade.