There are felony levels of battery, such as felony battery and aggravated
battery. However, this post deals entirely with the misdemeanor offense.
Battery charges typically stem from confrontational situations with other
people. In a domestic setting, the allegation is usually that one spouse
hit the other. Outside of the home, battery charges can occur when two
people confront each other and one throws a punch, a shove, or any kind
of unwanted touching.
In many fight situations, the alleged aggressor may be charged with battery
as the alleged victim will likely tell police that "he/she started
it," and that they were merely defending themselves. However, most
battery charges are difficult for the State of Florida to prove for that
very reason. Without independent witnesses or a video, battery is typically
one person's word against another's.
For a first-time offender, an accused person charged with battery should
expect to receive an offer to enroll in
pretrial diversion (PTD)
. However, this requires that the alleged victim consent to the accused's
participation in PTD. If not, the plea offer could be a withhold of adjudication
with probation, or even jail.
If the accused accepts PTD and completes the conditions, they may be eligible
to have their arrest expunged.
If the accused accepts a withhold and probation, they may be eligible to
have their record sealed provided it is a non-domestic battery charge.
Domestic violence charges where the accused has received a withhold of
adjudication do not qualify for sealing.
Many times, alleged victims will not agree to
withholds of adjudication
or PTD because they want to sue the accused, and a conviction with a plea
of guilty will be admissible against the accused in civil trial.
There are many defenses to the charge of battery. One defense is that the
accused and the alleged victims were mutual combatants. That is, this
was a mutual fight where both parties, through their words and actions,
consented to allow the other to hit them. Now, it is never smart to get
into a street fight, and many times, both participants will be arrested
and at the least charged with disorderly conduct. But sometimes we make
rash decisions in the heat of anger, but so long as the other party is
willing to fight, there can be no crime of battery because there is no
touching without somebody's consent. If the evidence shows that the
alleged victim was agressive and assisted in instigating a fight by words
or actions, you could have a mutual combatants defense.
Also, there is self-defense. Remember
Florida's Stand Your Ground Law
: you have the right to meet force with force in self-defense. You have
no duty to retreat when being agressively confronted or your safety is
being threatened. If you are lawfully defending yourself, you have a defense
to the crime of battery.
Also, think about surveillance. Not just fixed cameras in places such as
nightclubs, parking lots, or buildings, but cellphones and other gadgets
that record video. It seems that nowadays, everything is on video. If
arrested and charged with battery, contact a
Miami-Dade County criminal defense attorney who handles battery charges. From personal experience, I will always look
for a video, be it a homemade video from a witness's cellphone, or
a surveillance tape from the location where the incident occurred. In
a case where it is one person's word against another's, video
can be a valuable defense witness, especially if it shows the accused
being attacked, or the incident being one of mutual combat.
I have handled battery charges at both the felony and misdemeanor level.
I have prosecuted hundreds, if not thousands, of battery charges when I was a
. Now, I practice criminal defense exclusively in Miami-Dade and Broward
County, defending people against charges such as battery.
A battery charge can carry a stigma. People may think you are violent or
have anger management issues. If you are convicted, this charge will be
available for all to see, even current or prospective employers. There
may be fines, court costs, even jail time. And since battery is treated
as a "victim crime" in County Court, if the alleged victim is
angry with you, he or she may have all the power in determining your case's
In my experience, there are many weaknesses with battery prosecutions.
I am always prepared to defend a client at
for that reason. As a criminal defense lawyer, I would never encourage
a client to plead guilty or no contest to a charge where the evidence was weak.
Since County Court only handles misdemeanors, battery cases are treated
with special care by prosecutors. It is very possible to be offered jail
on your first offense if the alleged victim wants it that way. Don't
cave in and let the State Attorney's Office bully you around. Stand
up and fight these charges!
Call my office today