Simple Battery without any aggravating circumstances, such as injury, weapons or the victim being pregnant, is a misdemeanor. If you have been arrested for a battery, you can potentially face up to 1 year in jail or 12 months of probation and be ordered to complete multiple classes that can oftentimes be expensive. It is not uncommon for the state attorney’s office to seek probation or even jail time for first time offenders. Whether or not the prosecution is looking for jail time will depend on several factors, including the victim’s wishes, the defendant’s prior history and how strong the case is against the defendant.
Florida Statute 784.03 defines battery as:
the intentional touching
of another person
against that person’s will.
intentionally causing harm - to another person
against that person’s will
Defenses to Simple / Misdemeanor Battery
Lack of Intent or Accidental Touching
The prosecution has to prove that the defendant intentionally touched or struck another person or that the defendant engaged in behavior that was aimed at making contact with another person. It is, for example, enough when you throw an object, like a shoe, in the direction of someone and the other person gets hit. This also means that you don’t have to directly touch someone else.
Consent or Mutual Combat
One defense to Battery is consent of the other person. This means that someone who participates in a sports event - like football - and throws a ball in the direction of another player and the other player gets hit, cannot be charged with battery. This is because by participating in the sport, the player is deemed to have consented to any touching that happens during the game.
Another defense is mutual combat. This means that two people who are in a mutual fist fight cannot be charged with battery for hitting each other.
Self Defense / Defense of Others / Defense of Property / Florida Stand Your Ground Law
Someone charged with battery can also raise the defense of self defense or defense of others and defense of property. So for example if you are charged with battery and you can show that the alleged victim hit you first or pointed a knife at you and threatened to hurt you, you can claim that you were in fear and simply defended yourself. Several factors need to be met in order to successfully claim self defense on a battery case. A Tampa criminal defense attorney knows how to do this and can help you with that.
Lack of Evidence
Regardless of whether or not you are guilty of battery, the burden of proof is on the state attorney’s office to prove that you did something wrong. This means that depending on the circumstances, a Tampa criminal defense attorney can help you possibly beat the charges or achieve a positive outcome. However, please be aware of some common misconceptions that people have. One of those misconceptions is that if the alleged victim wants to have the charges dropped, the state attorney’s office has to drop the case. This is not true. The state attorney will consider the victim’s wishes when making their decision but the state gets to make the ultimate decision. In some cases the state may be able to prove the case with other evidence, such as other witnesses or maybe injuries that the alleged victim might have.
Because every case is different, it is important to contact a criminal defense attorney to help you with your battery case in Tampa. Kerstin Wade is an experienced criminal defense attorney and can help you with your battery charge in the Tampa Bay area. Feel free to contact us today at 813-401-0130 for a free consultation to see how we can help you.