If you have been charged with battery or felony battery in Florida, you are already facing some stiff penalties. But if the charge is aggravated battery, the potential penalties are even more severe.
What’s the difference between battery and aggravated battery? Let’s take a look.
The Three Indicators of Aggravated Battery
Florida law is clear and specific when it comes to aggravated battery. According to Florida statute 784.045, a person may be charged with aggravated battery if they:
- Intentionally or knowingly cause great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement
- Use a deadly weapon in the commission of the crime
- Knew (or should have known) their victim was pregnant
If a person strikes or touches another person but the incident does not meet any of these three criteria, then the charge will be battery rather than aggravated battery.
Aggravated Battery Is a Second Degree Felony
We have already noted that a person charged with aggravated battery faces significant consequences, but we want to reinforce the serious nature of this charge. For this particular crime, you can remember the potential penalties by focusing on the number 15. If you are convicted of aggravated battery, you face up to 15 years in prison, up to 15 years on probation, and up to $15,000 in fines.
If you were in possession of a firearm at the time of the crime, there are additional mandatory minimum sentences in play:
- 10 years in prison for possession of a firearm
- 15 years in prison for possession of a machine gun or semiautomatic weapon
- 20 years in prison for discharging a firearm
- 25 years in prison for discharging a firearm with the end result being great bodily harm to or death of another
We should emphasize here that these are the minimum penalties for these offenses. The actual sentence could be much longer depending on the circumstances in question.
Prosecution and Defense for an Aggravated Battery Charge
In order for you to be convicted of aggravated battery, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally inflicted bodily harm and/or struck or touched the alleged victim against their will and that you intentionally or knowingly used a deadly weapon; caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement; or knew (or should have known) the alleged victim was pregnant.
A skilled defense attorney will carefully investigate all the circumstances surrounding the incident in question and will then choose the best available defense for your specific case. Options for defenses include:
- Lack of intent to:
- touch or strike
- cause great bodily harm, disability, or disfigurement
- Self-defense or defense of others
- Consent, mutual combat, or “stand your ground”
- Lack of a “deadly weapon” as defined by Florida law
An Attorney Is Essential If You Are Charged With Aggravated Battery
Clearly, a charge of aggravated battery is serious business—and you need to be sure you have an experienced and skilled defense attorney on your side. As we have noted, your attorney will diligently investigate the incident—including what led up to it and what happened afterward—in order to craft the best possible defense. Your lawyer will also make sure your rights are protected and that the prosecution does not cut any corners as they attempt to prove you should be convicted of the offense.
Contact an Okaloosa County Assault and Battery Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one have been charged with Assault and Battery in Okaloosa County, call Flaherty & Merrifield today at (850) 243-6097 for a free consultation.