Battery Attorney in Dunedin, Florida
We’ve probably all seen TV dramas where two people start arguing, and eventually, one person pushes the other one. Police arrive, and the person who laid hands on the other is charged with assault and battery. What’s the difference? What happens now?
Assault is generally the act of orally threatening someone, while battery involves physical contact with another person without their permission. If you merely threaten someone with harm – “I’m going to punch you?” – but don’t carry it out, that is just assault. If you walk up and deliberately push or hit someone without first issuing a threat, that is battery. In most cases, it’s likely the two would go together.
Most of us would probably not be that fortunate to escape a criminal charge if we walked up to someone and – for whatever reason – slapped them in the face. We’d no doubt be facing a charge of battery, maybe even aggravated battery, if the victim were injured enough.
If you’re facing a battery investigation or charge in Dunedin, Florida, contact Venessa Bornost, P.A. today. I am a former police officer and prosecutor and now a criminal defense attorney. I am thus familiar with all aspects of the criminal justice system, and I can bring my knowledge and experience to help you in your hour of legal need.
I also proudly serve clients throughout Hillsborough County and Pasco County, Florida.
What Is Battery in Florida?
Florida Statute Section 784.011 describes battery as touching or striking another person intentionally or intentionally causing bodily harm to another person. Battery is considered a misdemeanor of the first degree, which means that you could face up to one year in jail and or one year’s probation, and a potential fine of $1,000. Prior convictions for battery can lead to increased penalties.
Aggravated battery can be charged if you intentionally cause great bodily harm – including disfigurement and disability – or if you batter a pregnant woman or use a deadly weapon in the act. Aggravated battery is considered a second-degree felony, with the potential for 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Any conviction for battery will naturally result in your having a criminal record that will haunt you for the rest of your life, jeopardizing employment opportunities and professional licensing and even preventing you from enjoying some public benefits. It will also complicate any subsequent conviction by potentially resulting in harsher penalties.
Examples of Battery an Aggravated Battery
Say you go out for a drink on the way home on a Friday night. Since the weekend is around the corner, you indulge in a few too many, and suddenly another patron at the bar starts making comments you take to be offensive. You at first try to ignore the person, but eventually, you snap back: “Shut up or I’ll smash this beer bottle in your face!” You’ve just committed assault.
The other patron keeps on taunting you, and the classic barroom brawl ensues. You’ve had enough and throw the bottle at the other patron, striking him in the chest. The man is not particularly injured, so at this stage, this is simple battery, a misdemeanor, unless prosecutors can prove the bottle was a deadly weapon, in which case it would be aggravated battery.
Matters continue to escalate. The other man moves threateningly toward you. Before he can initiate any physical contact, you take a swing or two, and he ends up on the floor. While he’s down on the floor, you start pummeling him with your feet. The bar owner or bouncer steps in to break things up and calls the police. It turns out that you broke a few ribs on the other patron. This could be charged as aggravated battery due to the injuries inflicted.
Even domestic spats can end up with battery charges being filed. Say you and your spouse or partner are arguing over finances, and pretty soon everything gets personal. You call each other names and accuse each other of wasting money or mismanaging the bank account.
So far, it’s just an argument, but you finally have had enough and yell out: “If you don’t quit spending all our money on your designer clothes, I’m going to make you regret it.”
The partner or spouse, in this case, your wife or live-in girlfriend, feels threatened by what you said and the tone in which you said it, making this assault. Then, she shouts back: “Go ahead, big guy. Show me what you got!” You push or slap her in response. This is battery. If she’s pregnant, it’s aggravated battery.
Defense to a Battery Charge
Self-defense is probably the most used defense to a battery charge, but self-defense generally means you must feel threatened and cornered and have no recourse but to defend yourself. The elements of self-defense are:
You felt a threat of unlawful force or harm
You experienced a real and honest fear of harm
You did not provoke the incident or cause any harm
You had no reasonable escape mechanism or route available
However, in defending yourself, you cannot go overboard. The amount of force you respond with has to be reasonable and proportional.
Serving Dunedin, Florida
If you’re facing a criminal charge such as battery in or around Dunedin, Florida, contact me immediately. I am dedicated to helping those in need by committing the full range of my experience, knowledge, and resources to every case. As a police officer, I simply saw too many people fall through the legal holes in our system, and I won’t stand by and watch that happen to my clients. I will fight for your rights and for the best possible outcome for your case. My firm, Venessa Bornost, P.A., serves clients in and around Dunedin, Florida, and throughout the counties of Pasco and Hillsborough.