Aggravated battery, a more serious form of battery, is a felony crime in Florida, punishable by long-term imprisonment and steep fines. Given the severity of the penalties and the rigor with which Florida prosecutors pursue convictions for aggravated battery, seek counsel from the criminal defense lawyers at Goldman Wetzel if you have recently been arrested. Call 727-828-3900 to speak to our team in St. Petersburg.
What is aggravated battery under Florida law?
Battery: The law provides that “the offense of battery occurs when a person actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other; or intentionally causes bodily harm to another person.”
Aggravated battery: For the state to consider battery “aggravated battery,” the defendant must have 1) intentionally or knowingly caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement; 2) used a deadly weapon while committing the battery; or 3) battered a woman that the defendant knew or should have known was pregnant at the time.
The statutes do not specifically define “great bodily harm.” However, in Nguyen v. State of Florida, the court stated that “proving great bodily harm requires proving more than slight, trivial, minor, moderate, or some harm.” This leaves plenty up for interpretation. We build your case by examining all the circumstances surrounding the alleged battery, and will speak with prosecutors to try to prevent charges altogether, or seek a reduction from aggravated battery to battery or disorderly conduct, which lessens the penalties you might face.
What are the penalties for aggravated battery in Florida?
Aggravated battery means much stiffer penalties than battery, which is why it is so important to involve us as early in your case as possible, preferably before the state even brings charges.
The state considers battery a first-degree misdemeanor, but elevates the charge to a second-degree felony for aggravated battery. When a defendant is convicted of aggravated battery in Florida, the penalties can include:
- Up to 15 years in prison (which is 15 times as long as a sentence for regular battery); and
- A $10,000 fine.
Also, if the defendant allegedly had a firearm during the battery incident, the state may charge the defendant with “Aggravated Battery with a Firearm.” Previously, this charge would have triggered a mandatory minimum sentence, but the revocation of the 10-20-Life Law leaves it up to the judge’s discretion.
The charge can also be elevated depending on the victim. For example, aggravated battery on a police officer is a first-degree felony.
Plus, the offender will have a felony on his permanent criminal record which can affect his career, public reputation, and future.
What defenses could the team of attorneys at Goldman Wetzel use for my aggravated battery cases?
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.
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.
There are numerous defenses we might pursue, depending on the circumstances of the case, such as:
- You were acting in self-defense.
- You were defending someone else.
- You were “Standing Your Ground.”
- You had no way of knowing the alleged victim was pregnant.
- The object used during the incident does not meet the state’s definition of a deadly weapon.
- The contact you made with the alleged victim was accidental, not intentional.
- The victim identified the wrong defendant, i.e., you have an alibi.
- The alleged incident did not occur.
Each case is different, and you will need to talk to the lawyers at Goldman Wetzel about the best way to approach your particular case.
Can Goldman Wetzel help me fight my aggravated battery charges?
Our team of aggressive criminal defense lawyers has represented people from all walks of life in St. Petersburg.
Our attorneys work together on each case we represent, combining skills sets and resources to fight for the best possible outcome for our clients. In aggravated battery cases, this might mean negotiating with the prosecutor, getting the charges dropped or reduced, or bringing evidence to court that results in an acquittal.
We recommend you speak with us even before charges have been filed; this will give us time to get started on your defense early.
Call our office now at 727-828-3900 to get the legal defense you need.