How Serious Are Battery Charges in Florida?
In earlier generations, getting into a fight was not nearly as serious as it is today. In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, it was a lot easier to get into a bar fight, a fight with someone at a hockey game, or a fight with a neighbor and for everything to be okay after the dust settles.
These days, if you punch someone at a bar or slap someone at a hockey game as they’re yelling at you close to your face because they hate your team, or if you and your neighbor get into a fight because your dog is using the neighbor’s yard to go to the bathroom, you can face serious criminal charges and end up in jail, paying a fine, and acquiring a criminal record.
Most assaultive behaviors are criminalized under Florida law. So, if you were to intentionally and willfully injure another person, you could be slapped with battery charges. But what is “battery” exactly and what are the penalties for the offense? Read on as I explain battery charges under Florida law.
Battery vs. Felony Battery in Florida
Under Section 784.03 of the Florida Statutes, you commit the offense of battery if you intentionally touch or strike another person against their will or you intentionally cause bodily harm to someone else. Battery is a misdemeanor of the first degree unless the defendant has a previous conviction for battery, aggravated battery, or felony battery.
If the individual has one of these prior convictions and they’re convicted of battery again, then they have committed “felony battery,” a felony of the third degree.
- A misdemeanor of the first degree is punishable by up to one year in jail or by a fine not to exceed $1,000, or a fine and imprisonment.
- A felony of the third degree is punishable by imprisonment up to 5 years or by a fine not to exceed $5,000, or a fine and imprisonment.
If you’re facing battery charges, contact my firm to schedule your free consultation.