Although assault and battery are used interchangeably in several states, they are two separate offenses in Florida. While assault is defined as threatening someone to instill fear of harm, battery means actually causing that harm or unwanted touching.
The following are the five different types of battery charges in Florida:
- Misdemeanor Battery
- Felony Battery
- Aggravated Battery
- Domestic Violence Battery
- Domestic Battery by Strangulation
Also known as simple battery, a person commits misdemeanor battery if he/she either intentionally inflicts bodily harm to someone else or intentionally touches or hits another individual against their will. Common examples of misdemeanor battery include pushing, grabbing, and throwing an object at someone.
Simple battery is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum jail sentence of one year and/or a fine of up to $1,000. However, if the victim is a protected person who is lawfully performing his/her duties (e.g., law enforcement officer, firefighter, medical service provider, then simple battery would be charged as a felony offense.
Felony battery in Florida means intentionally hitting or touching someone else against their will and causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement. The main difference between (simple) misdemeanor battery and felony battery is that the latter results in significant injury, while the former requires no injury.
Felony battery is a third-degree felony and is assigned a Level 6 offense severity ranking, which means a conviction can result in a minimum prison term ranging from 19 to 36 months. The maximum sentence is five years.
Aggravated battery is defined as an intentionally causing great bodily injury, intentional battery using a deadly weapon, or battery against a pregnant person. This offense is a second-degree felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to 15 years and/or a maximum fine of $10,000.
Aggravated battery has a Level 7 offense severity ranking, which means a conviction can lead to a minimum prison term of 21 months. However, aggravated battery with a firearm triggers a 10-year mandatory minimum prison sentence if the defendant was in possession of a firearm, a 20-year mandatory minimum term if the defendant fired the gun, or a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence if another person is injured or killed by the firearm (i.e., Florida’s 10-20-Life law).
Domestic Violence Battery
Domestic violence battery means hitting or touching a family member, household member, or significant other against their will. This type of battery is a first-degree misdemeanor with the addition of a mandatory minimum jail sentence of five years if another person suffered an injury and mandatory completion 26-week batterers intervention program.
Getting convicted of domestic violence battery in Florida makes you ineligible for criminal record expungement or sealing. You also lose the right to possess a firearm while on probation and any concealed weapons permit will be revoked.
Domestic Violence Battery by Strangulation
Domestic violence battery by strangulation means intentionally or knowingly impeding a family member’s, household member’s, or significant other’s normal breathing or blood circulation by applying pressure on the neck or throat, by blocking the nose or mouth, to cause or create a risk of great bodily harm. This offense is a third-degree felony and assigned a Level 6 offense severity.
If you have been charged with a battery offense or any other violent crime in Naples, Fort Myers, or within the surrounding areas, call the Law Offices of Cavanaugh & Cavanaugh, P.A. at (239) 309-2006 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule an initial consultation. Our legal team has more than 45 years of combined legal experience!