When Could Someone Face Charges of Burglary With Battery?
Battery charges typically require an assailant to intentionally touch or strike another person or cause bodily harm against another person’s will. When combined with the unlawful entry of someone else’s property, the state can issue a burglary charge with battery.
Burglary with battery may be charged when a defendant:
- Entered someone else’s dwelling, property, or other building where the defendant is not allowed to be
- Had the intent to commit a crime (regardless of whether the intended crime was carried out), and
- Touched the lawful occupant of the property or any item intimately connected to them.
Minor Incidents Can Lead to Burglary With Battery Charges
The enhanced charge of burglary with battery was initially created to punish violent offenders, such as carjackers and intruders who force entry to a home to commit brutal crimes. Unfortunately, burglary with battery charges can also be made against defendants whose actions meet the legal definition of the offense, including:
- Grabbing someone’s phone out of their hand
- Slapping someone through an open car window
- Elbowing someone out of the way to escape a crime scene
- Pushing a door open to talk to a relative or intimate partner
- Spitting at a neighbor while staring in their yard
- Any other contact with someone at the site of a burglary
Penalties for Burglary With Battery in Florida
Burglary with battery is a first-degree felony punishable by a lifelong prison sentence. It’s considered Level 8 under the Felony Sentencing Guidelines and carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 34.5 months upon conviction. You will not automatically be entitled to a bond or pretrial release and face hefty court fines and potential restitution to the victims.
As you can see, the trespassing element of burglary can significantly change the nature of a physical altercation. Punching someone on the street is a misdemeanor, but hitting them in their home can result in life imprisonment. It’s essential that your defense attorney defeat the element of burglary in a battery case.
Common Defenses Against an Accusation of Burglary With Battery
It’s important to realize that awareness isn’t required for an action to be considered battery. You could face battery charges if you touched a person or an object “intimately connected” to that person (such as a phone), regardless of whether you knew you were committing battery at the time.
While the proper defense for you will depend on the specific facts of your case, you may be able to argue that:
- You were allowed on the premises. If you had permission to be in the home or had a reasonable right to touch the item involved in the battery charge, the charge against you could be reduced to a misdemeanor.
- You acted in self-defense. If you were unlawfully on someone’s property but attempted to retreat without violence, you may be able to claim self-defense if you used force to defend yourself as a last resort.
- You did not commit the crime. The prosecution may not have enough evidence against you, or the police may have violated your rights during your arrest.
- The charge is inappropriate. Prosecutors may overcharge defendants even if lesser charges fit the circumstances. We may be able to convince the prosecutor that the crime should be charged as misdemeanor trespass or misdemeanor battery, significantly reducing potential penalties.
- You are repentant and acting responsibly. If you owe restitution to the victims (such as property damage or medical bills), you could help your case by repaying these bills as quickly as possible.
The best way to find out the full range of your options is to speak with the criminal defense team at Flaherty and Merrifield. We offer our clients free consultations and convenient payment plans, ensuring that justice is accessible to everyone. Call 850-403-6835 today or fill out our contact form to learn more.