Due to their names similarity, many people might assume that battery charge is the same as an aggravated battery offense. Since these are separate offenses, it is important to understand what an aggravated battery is in Florida.
In Florida, an aggravated battery is touching a person against their will with the intent to cause them great bodily harm. A simple battery can also be charged as an aggravated battery if the defendant used a deadly weapon or battered a woman that the defendant knew or should have known was pregnant at the time.
Given the severity of the offense, an aggravated battery can result in severe punishments. In order to help you understand these charges, below there is more information regarding the definition of aggravated battery, the penalties for these charges and some possible defenses.
What is Considered Aggravated Battery in Florida?
In short, an aggravated battery is a more severe form of battery. According to the Florida Statute § 784.045, an aggravated battery is the offense of:
- Intentionally or knowingly touching another person to cause them great bodily harm (i.e., broken bones, substantial bruising, injuries that require surgery, etc), permanent disability, or disfigurement.
- Using a deadly weapon while committing the offense.
- Battering a pregnant woman. In order to be considered an aggravated battery, it should be proven that the defendant knew or should have known that the victim was pregnant at the time of the offense.
In Nguyen v. the State of Florida, the court stated that an aggravated battery causing great bodily harm means that the harm inflicted has to be more severe than slight, trivial, or minor harm. Since there is not a clear definition of what a deadly weapon is, you should speak to a battery attorney so they can examine the circumstances of your case.
Related Resource: Difference Between Assault and Battery in Florida
What does aggravated battery with a deadly weapon mean in Florida?
In Florida, an aggravated battery with a deadly weapon offense implies a simple battery and the use of a deadly weapon. In other words, an aggravated battery with a deadly weapon means that the defendant intentionally and unlawfully touched or struck a person, while using a deadly weapon.
It is important to notice that a ‘deadly weapon’ is not necessarily restricted to a firearm. In fact, a deadly weapon can be any object that can cause great bodily harm or even death, if used in that way. Some examples of deadly weapons might include baseball bats, knives, cars, broken glass, etc.
What Is the Sentence for Aggravated Battery in Florida?
Aggravated battery charges result in more severe penalties than battery. The state considers battery a first-degree misdemeanor, but an aggravated battery is classified as second-degree felony. In Florida, the maximum penalties for aggravated battery include:
- 15 years of imprisonment
- $10,000 fine
If the offense was committed on a law enforcement officer, the charge can be elevated to a first-degree felony. In other words, in Florida, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer is punishable by up to 30 years of imprisonment (5 years of minimum sentence) and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Sentence for Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon
In Florida, an aggravated battery with a deadly weapon is a second-degree felony which is punishable by up to 15 years of prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. Although in the past there was a mandatory minimum prison sentence if a person used a firearm during a battery, the 10-20-Life-Law establishes that the sentencing will be up to the judge’s discretion.
Defenses for Aggravated Battery Charges
For the court to convict you of aggravated battery, the prosecutor must prove you purposefully touched the alleged victim or purposefully caused harm, and that you either caused great bodily harm, used a deadly weapon, or knew/should have known the victim was pregnant.
There are numerous defenses that your criminal defense attorney use for aggravated battery cases. Some of them include:
- You were acting in self-defense or defending someone else.
- You were “Standing Your Ground.”
- The object used during the incident does not meet the state’s definition of a deadly weapon
- You had no way of knowing the alleged victim was pregnant.
- The contact you made with the alleged victim was accidental, not intentional.
- The victim identified the wrong defendant, i.e., you have an alibi.
When it comes to aggravated battery cases, our legal team is prepared to identify a strong strategy for your situation. The defenses for these types of offenses will vary depending on the circumstances of each case.
So, when our firm takes on a new aggravated battery case, one of the first things we do is look for any holes in the prosecutor’s case. If there is a lack of evidence (e.g., no proof that a deadly weapon was used), we will bring that to light and try to get the case thrown out.
Contact an Aggravated Battery Attorney
In Florida, an aggravated battery is a severe offense that can result in harsh penalties. Having the early help of a criminal attorney can help you prepare a strong legal defense.
Goldman Wetzel is a criminal law firm that represents individuals facing charges for violent crimes in St. Petersburg, Bradenton, Pinellas County, Tampa, Sarasota, Clearwater and surrounding areas.
If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges, contact our aggravated battery attorneys to know your legal options. Contact us via email form or call us at 727-828-3900 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.