While the FBI has reported an overall decline in crime, violent crime statistics have remained stable over the past several decades. The numbers hover at just over 20% (23.2% per 1,000 residents in 2015, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics).
Battery is considered a violent crime in Florida. Simply touching another person in an offensive manner, without his or her permission, can constitute battery.
Furthermore, certain escalating factors may elevate a simply battery offense to aggravated battery, making the crime a felony offense.
Attorney for Battery Crimes in Pensacola, FL
If you or someone you know has been accused of touching someone offensively and without permission, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The attorney at The Law Office of James M. Burns has more than two decades of experience fighting for the crimes of those accused of battery, aggravated battery, and other violent crimes throughout the Florida Panhandle.
Our office takes cases in Escambia County, in Santa Rosa County, and a number of surrounding areas including Navarre, Milton, Pace, Perdido Key, and Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
Call The Law Office of James M. Burns at (850) 457-6002 to schedule a free consultation.
Overview of Battery in Pensacola
- What Are The Elements of Battery?
- How is Aggravated Battery Different From Battery?
- Who Are Special Victims?
Elements of Misdemeanor Battery under Florida Statute §784.03
The State of Florida must prove each element of a criminal offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Battery is outlined in the Florida Statutes under Section 784.03. It is charged when a person intentionally causes harm to another by doing the following:
- Intentionally striking; or
- Intentionally touching; and
The touching or striking must be against the other person’s will.
If the alleged offender is charged with battery for the first time, then the charge is typically a first-degree misdemeanor. First-degree misdemeanors for battery are punishable by up to 364 days in jail and $1,000 in fines.
When the alleged offender has a prior conviction for battery or aggravated battery, then he or she may be charged with a third-degree felony. Third-degree felonies for battery are punishable by up to five (5) years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
Simple battery may be elevated to aggravated battery when it is committed against a particular class of persons, or it accompanied by aggravating factors.
Aggravating factors include:
- using a deadly weapon; or
- intentionally or knowingly causing permanent disability, disfigurement, or great bodily harm.
What is a Deadly Weapon?
The Florida jury instructions define deadly weapon to include the following:
- metal bars
- knives or other sharp objects
A deadly weapon may also include a weapon that could kill or cause serious bodily harm or disfigurement.
Aggravated battery is charged a second-degree felony. Under Florida law, second-degree felonies are punishable by up to fifteen years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
In addition to using a deadly weapon when committing a battery, a person can be charged with aggravated battery depending on whom the alleged offender committed the battery against.
The special victims' battery is criminalized by Florida Statute § 784.07. Special victims include the following:
- law enforcement officers
- emergency medical care providers
- public transit employees.
In Florida, the punishment for committing a battery against a special victim is enhanced. While the charge is still classified as a battery, it does not have the same penalties as simple battery. The punishments are reclassified as follows:
- A second-degree felony for aggravated battery against a special victim is enhanced to a first-degree felony.
- A first-degree misdemeanor for battery against a special victim is enhanced to a third-degree felony.
Florida Statute § 784.03 – Visit the Online Sunshine the official website of the Florida State Legislature to find out more information on battery and aggravated battery offenses in Florida, including the elements that make up each offense and the consequences for being convicted.
Find an Attorney for Battery Crimes in Escambia County, FL
If you or someone you know has been charged with battery or aggravated battery in Escambia County, or Santa Rosa County, Florida, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The founder of The Law Office of James M. Burns has been fighting for the rights of criminal defendants throughout the Florida Panhandle for decades. He fully understands the courtrooms and the judicial staff procedures in the Panhandle. He is a zealous advocate for those who have been falsely accused of crimes.
Contact The Law Office of James M. Burns at (850) 457-6002 to schedule a free consultation with experienced criminal defense attorney James M. Burns.
This article was last updated on November 27, 2017.
- Violent Crimes