Whether you or a loved one has been arrested, or are under investigation for simple battery (misdemeanor battery), 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 Miami simple battery lawyer to guide you through the process and maximize your chances of resolving your case with a favorable outcome.

What is Simple Battery?

Like simple assault, simple battery is a misdemeanor.  Many batteries are charged as domestic violence, the only difference being that there is a close relationship between the parties in a domestic violence case.  Other than that, the law applying to battery is identical. The definition of simple battery can be found in Florida Statutes, Section 784.03(1)(A). The prosecutor can prove that a battery occurred 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 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. In this case, physical contact with another person that either caused injury or was against the person’s will. 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 the physical contact or injury 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 a non-consensual touching, it is irrelevant whether you suffered any injury. 

Intent Required

Simple battery requires that you have the intent to injure the victim or intentionally made 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.” 

Defenses to Misdemeanor Battery

Possible defenses to a misdemeanor battery charge can include:

  • Self-defense
  • Consent
  • Defense of property
  • Defense of another
  • Performance of Duty or Authority (force must be reasonable, e.g., a police officer using only the force necessary to make an arrest)

Possible Punishment for Simple Battery Conviction

Under Florida law, 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 a number of factors: whether the victim was injured (e.g., felony battery), the type of victim (e.g., elderly person, police officer), whether a weapon was used (aggravated battery), 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:

  • A county jail sentence of up to 364 days
  • A fine up to $1000
  • Up to one year of probation

Additional Resources

Simple Battery  / Misdemeanor Battery in Florida  -Detailed information on simple battery with case law citations from criminal defense law firm in Northern Florida.

Battery – (BAT) – Level I  Definitions, examples, guidelines, and FAQ’s from the Florida Department of Education.

Contact an Experienced Miami Battery Attorney

Over the years, we have represented hundreds of clients 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 securely encrypted intake form. The additional details you provide will greatly assist us in responding to your inquiry.

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*Due to the large number of people who contact us 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, ALWAYS INVESTIGATE AN ATTORNEY’S QUALIFICATIONS TO ENSURE THEY HAVE THE EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS TO PROPERLY DEFEND YOU.