Simple Battery Lawyer in Miami, FL
Whether you or a loved one is under investigation for simple battery (misdemeanor battery) or has been arrested by a law enforcement officer, it is critical to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected. You need the counsel of an experienced simple battery lawyer in Miami to guide you through the process, help you to avoid jail time, and maximize your chances of resolving your case with a favorable outcome.
What is a Simple Battery?
Like simple assault, the crime of battery is a misdemeanor. Many batteries are charged as domestic batteries, the only difference being that there is a close relationship between the parties in a domestic battery case. Other than that, the law applying to a battery is identical. The definition of simple battery can be found in Florida Statutes, Section 784.03(1)(A). In order to obtain a conviction under Florida battery law, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a battery. The battery can be proven in one of two ways:
1. That the defendant actually and intentionally touched or struck another person against that person’s will; or
2. The defendant Intentionally caused bodily harm to another person.
Even if the State can only prove that you committed a simple battery/misdemeanor battery, the prosecutor can charge you with a third-degree felony if you have a criminal history that includes a prior conviction for battery, aggravated battery, or felony battery. According to the statute, a “conviction” includes prior cases where you might not have been formally convicted, i.e. the judge gave you a “withhold of adjudication.”
Requirement of Contact
Like all crimes, misdemeanor battery requires that you engage in certain conduct. Physical contact that causes physical injury to another person or that happens against the person’s wishes. You can be found guilty of battery even if you don’t touch the person’s body, as long as you touch an item that is intimately connected with the person’s body, like their clothing, purse, or bag.
Minimal Contact Enough
You can even be found guilty if physical contact or physical harm is minimal. Let’s say you get into an argument with a friend, and she throws a drink in your face. To make it simple, only the liquid of the drink makes contact with your body (there is no ice in the drink or anything else that could possibly injure you). Under Florida law, this is still considered a battery. Because it is considered non-consensual touching, it is irrelevant whether you suffered any bodily injury.
Simple battery requires that you have the intent to injure the victim or intentionally make non-consensual contact with them. In most cases, it is very easy to determine whether you did something intentionally or not. If I take a swing at you and hit you in the jaw, it’s pretty clear that I did it on purpose. But if I am horse-playing with a friend and accidentally knock someone over as I try to get away, I would not be guilty of battery even if the person got injured.
Battery is a general intent crime. What that means is that as long as you have the intent to hit someone, you can be found guilty even if you end up hitting someone else by mistake. The law says that your intent to hit your intended victim can be transferred to the person you actually ended up hitting. This is called “transferred intent.”
Common Defenses to Misdemeanor Battery
Possible legal defenses to a misdemeanor battery charge can include the following:
- Self-Defense: When a person reasonably believes that their conduct is necessary to defend themselves against the imminent use of unlawful force, they may use non-deadly force in self-defense under Florida Statute, Section 776.012. There is no duty to retreat.
- Defense of Another: Section 776.012 also applies to the use of non-deadly force in the defense of another person. Like self-defense, you must reasonably believe that your conduct is necessary to defend another person against the imminent use of unlawful force.
- Mutual Combat: Prosecutors must prove that the touching did not occur with the consent or consent of the alleged victim in order to prosecute a simple battery charge. In cases where two people are fighting, it can sometimes be argued that the alleged victim consented to the touching by voluntarily engaging in a fight.
- Defense of property: If you are lawfully in possession of personal property or land/real property and reasonably believe you need to use force to prevent the alleged victim from trespassing or otherwise interfering with the property, you may be able to argue this defense. As in self-defense, you may only use non-deadly force.
- Performance of Duty or Authority: You are performing a job or otherwise have lawful authority to use reasonable force. For example, a police officer has the authority to use non-deadly force when arresting you but can only use the force necessary to make the arrest.
Potential Penalties for Simple Battery Conviction
Under Florida law, there are many types of battery charges, including misdemeanor and felony offenses. A battery can be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor, a third-degree felony, a second-degree felony, or even a first-degree felony. The degree of crime turns on several factors: whether the victim suffered bodily harm (e.g., felony battery), the type of victim (e.g., elderly person, police officer), whether a deadly weapon was used (aggravated battery), whether it is a domestic violence victim (domestic battery by strangulation) and whether the defendant has any prior convictions for battery. Simple battery, a first-degree misdemeanor, is the least serious battery charge. If you are convicted of simple misdemeanor battery, you could face the following:
- A county jail sentence of up to 364 days in jail
- A fine of up to $1000
- Up to one year of probation
As with any violent crime, the criminal charge of battery can carry severe penalties. You should seek legal representation immediately from an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you are facing a criminal offense involving physical violence. Choosing the right attorney is the most important part of your defense strategy and can help minimize the risk of being convicted and serving months in jail.
Additional Simple Battery Resources
Battery (crime) – Wikipedia article on battery explaining the elements of the offense, how it differs in different countries, and the distinction between battery and simple assault.
Contact an Experienced Miami Battery Attorney
Over the years, our criminal defense attorneys have represented hundreds of clients, the majority of them first-time offenders, in battery cases. By taking the immediate action of hiring an experienced Miami battery attorney to defend yourself, you are minimizing the chances that your battery case will have lasting consequences for your career, personal life, and reputation.
CALL US NOW for a CONFIDENTIAL CONSULTATION at (305) 538-4545, or simply take a moment to fill out our confidential and secure intake form.* The additional details you provide will greatly assist us in responding to your inquiry.
*Due to the large number of people who contact our law firm requesting our assistance, it is strongly suggested that you take the time to provide us with specific details regarding your case by filling out our confidential and secure intake form. The additional details you provide will greatly assist us in responding to your inquiry in a timely and appropriate manner.
IF YOU ARE MAKING A DECISION ON HIRING A LAWYER FOR A SIMPLE BATTERY CHARGE IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, ALWAYS INVESTIGATE AN ATTORNEY’S QUALIFICATIONS TO ENSURE THEY HAVE THE EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS TO DEFEND YOU PROPERLY.