In Florida, and according to Florida Statute 784.045(1)(a), the crime of Aggravated Battery is defined as an intentional battery with a deadly weapon, intentionally causing great bodily harm, or battery against a pregnant person and is punishable by up to fifteen years in prison.
Penalties for Aggravated Battery
In Florida, the crime of Aggravated Battery is classified as a Second Degree Felony punishable by up to fifteen (15) years in prison, fifteen (15) years of probation, and a $10,000 fine.
Aggravated Battery is assigned a Level 7 offense severity ranking under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code and, without grounds for a downward departure sentence, a judge is required to sentence a person convicted of Aggravated Battery to a minimum sentence of 21 months in prison. Keep in mind that, depending on the severity of the crime, a judge may also sentence the person up to the statutory maximum of fifteen years in prison.
10-20-Life Firearm Enhancement
Aggravated Battery with a Firearm is technically the same offense as Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon. However the allegation that the “deadly weapon” was a firearm triggers a mandatory minimum prison sentence under Florida’s 10-20-Life law pursuant to Florida Statute 775.087(2)(a)(1).
Under 10-20-Life (and depending on how the firearm was used) a person convicted of Aggravated Battery with a Firearm could receive one of the following mandatory-minimum prison sentences:
- A minimum 10 year prison term if in possession of a firearm
- A minimum 20 year prison term if the firearm was discharged
- A minimum 25 year prison term if someone is injured or killed by the firearm
Defenses to Aggravated Battery
In addition to the usual pretrial defenses and trial defenses that are typically raised in any criminal case, specific defenses to the crime of Aggravated Battery are:
- Insufficient Intent
- Self Defense
Since an element of Aggravated Battery is that the contact was non-consensual, consent to the contact is an obvious defense. Other examples where consent would be applicable as a defense are athletic events.
While not often used as a legal defense, mutual combat is a defense that can be argued to a jury as a subcategory of consent. Essentially, if two people mutually engage in a fight (like a bar brawl) neither person should be able to complain of the resulting contact.
The intent to commit a battery is determined by the circumstances surrounding the touching or the striking of the victim. [Beard v. State, 842 So. 2d 174 (Fla. 2d DCA 2003)]
As such, there are rare circumstances where intentional, non-consensual touching will not rise to the level of criminal battery. Reported examples of such insufficient intent are:
- Assistance: If a person is attempting to assist a person, even if the pregnant person does not want assistance, the act of touching the pregnant person to assist them will not be considered criminal battery. [Bonge v. State, 53 So. 3d 1231 (Fla. 1st DCA 2011)]
- Throwing a Tantrum: If a child (or adult) throws a tantrum and inadvertently hits a person and causes an injury, either by throwing an item or by flailing a body part around, the inadvertent contact will not be considered criminal battery because there was no specific intent to strike the injured person. [CB v. State, 810 So. 2d 1072 (Fla. 4th DCA 2002)]
Self defense, also known as the justified use of force, is a defense to the crime of Aggravated Battery so long as non-deadly force was used to defend yourself against the pregnant person’s unlawful attack.
Contact A Fort Myers Criminal Defense Lawyer Immediately
If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of Aggravated Battery in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples, or the Southwest Florida area, contact criminal defense attorney Mary Elizabeth Fletcher today. The initial consultation is free and we are always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken. Simply contact us online or give us a call at (239) 677-7685.
Contact A Fort Myers Criminal Defense Attorney Today
The Law Offices of Mary Elizabeth Fletcher is here to defend you. We represent people who have been charged with assault in Fort Myers and other communities in Southwest Florida. To schedule a free case review contact us online or call (239) 677-7685.