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When Is Aggravated Battery an Attempted Murder?

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Aggravated Battery charges can be elevated to Attempted Murder when a prosecutor wants some serious leverage in plea negotiations. In some instances, Attempted Murder does not necessarily carry more prison time than Aggravated Battery, but the stigma of the charge and the bottom of the guidelines score per the Florida Criminal Punishment Code could give the prosecutor the upper hand.

Aggravated Battery can be a second-degree felony or a first-degree felony, depending on whether a deadly weapon is used.

Aggravated Battery, by itself, is a touching or striking of another with intent to cause great bodily harm, permanent injury, or permanent disfigurement.  

Attempted Murder, whether second-degree or first-degree, is an intentional act carried out with the intent to kill. The only difference between first and second-degree murder is that first-degree murder requires plan and premeditation, whereas second-degree murder does not.

Sometimes, the lines can be blurred when it comes to both charges.

For instance, if you are in a fight with someone and you use a knife, that would likely be Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon. However, a prosecutor could review the same set of facts and change the charge to Attempted Second-Degree Murder if they believe that the Defendant evidenced an intent to kill, or at least such reckless disregard for human life, that intent to kill could be implied through the actions.

I have noticed that in domestic violence cases, prosecutors will err on the side of the highest charge. This is because they are aware of how many of their cases are disposed of simply because the alleged victim does not want to go forward, and if they can gain leverage through overcharging they most certainly will.

Attempted Second-Degree Murder, with or without a firearm, is a bondable offense.

If you are facing Aggravated Battery or Attempted Murder charges in Miami-Dade County, Broward County, or Palm Beach County, contact my office to discuss your options. These charges must not be taken lightly and could result in lengthy prison sentences.