Battery on a pregnant woman is a second degree felony and therefore a very serious charge, even more serious than battery by strangulation. It is harshly prosecuted and can lead to you serving prison time. Therefore it is important to contact a Tampa battery attorney immediately if you have been arrested for battery on a pregnant person or believe you may be arrested soon for this charge.
Under Florida Statute 784.045 (1)(b) “A person commits aggravated battery if the person who was the victim of the battery was pregnant at the time of the offense and the offender knew or should have known that the victim was pregnant.”
The prosecutor has to prove the following elements:
You battered the alleged victim: in other words you touched the victim against their will or in an offensive manner.
The alleged victim was pregnant.
You either knew or should have known that the victim was pregnant.
This statute does not require that you were in a relationship or a family member of the alleged victim. The statute doesn’t even require that you knew for sure that the alleged victim was pregnant. This means that all the prosecutor needs to do is come up with some type of facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the battered woman was pregnant. Last but not least, the statute does not even require that you used any type of weapon or that you caused serious injury.
Battery on a pregnant victim elevates a simple misdemeanor battery to a second degree felony and can lead to the following punishments:
15 years probation and/or
15 years in prison
As with other felony charges in Florida, the judge will look at your criminal punishment scoresheet before making a decision on the sentence and the prosecutor will look at that before making a sentence recommendation. Each charge will be assigned a certain number of points and if you score more than 44 points, the minimum possible sentence is prison. Battery on a pregnant female is a level 7 offense and carries 56 points. This means that even if you have no prior criminal record and this is your only charge, the minimum allowable sentence under Florida statute is 21 months in prison. There are certain mitigating factors that a skilled and knowledge criminal defense attorney can establish that would enable to court to depart from the sentencing guidelines and allow you to avoid prison altogether.
Victim consented to touching
Touching not intentional - you accidentally bumped into pregnant woman - Defendant didn’t know and had no reason to know the victim was pregnant - Self defense - the pregnant woman was the primary aggressor
Defense of others - the pregnant woman attacked someone else first and you just defended the other person
The charge of battery on a pregnant victim often comes up in complicated divorce or child custody issues and sometimes the alleged victim makes false accusations in order to try and gain and advantage in those proceedings. Sometimes, the victim decides that she wants to drop the charges against you - maybe because the allegations were false and you had set aside your differences. However, it is not up to the alleged victim to drop the charges or make a decision on whether or not to go forward with the case. The prosecutor is the only person who can make that decision. Oftentimes the prosecutor will still decide to go forward even if the alleged victim wants to drop the charges because of the danger of injury to the unborn child. On top of the prosecutor having the sole power to make the decision on whether or not to go forward with the case, you are also not able to contact the victim. If you try to influence or possibly even try to threaten or bribe the alleged victim into dropping the case, you could potentially face additional felony charges of witness tampering. If you hire a Tampa criminal defense attorney, he or she would be able to speak to the alleged victim and guide her in what steps to take if she wants to drop the charges. The attorney can also speak to the prosecutor and point out any weaknesses in the state’s case against you.
If you or someone you love has been charged with battery on a pregnant woman, it is important that you contact a Tampa criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so the attorney can speak to the prosecutor early on and achieve the best possible outcome. Kerstin Wade has handled hundreds of battery cases over the last 10 years and can help you mount a successful defense. You can reach us at 813-401-0130 to schedule a free consultation with Kerstin and discuss your case.