Misdemeanor Battery in Florida Explained
In Florida, believe it or not, it is the crime of battery if you touch another person against his or her will. There is absolutely no requirement that the other person sustained an injury from the battery. See § 784.03, Florida Statutes.
It may sound ridiculous, but technically if you tapped someone on the shoulder after they told you not to, you committed a battery under Florida law.
Know that a violent push or spitting on someone is a battery in Florida. Remember a battery is committed even if there are no injuries sustained by the other person.
As mentioned above, a battery may be proven by showing that you touched another person against his or her will or you intentionally caused bodily harm to another person. See § 784.03, Florida Statutes.
Defenses to Misdemeanor Battery in Florida
Although a battery case might seem simple to prove, there are a number of defenses that can be raised to combat this charge.
If you touched or struck someone in self defense you may not be convicted of battery in Florida. To learn about self defense under Florida law and, how it is proven in court, click here.
In order to convict you of battery, the government must have enough evidence to prove that you were the one that committed the battery. If the government has insufficient evidence that it was you who committed the battery you may not be convicted of battery.
Mutual combat refers to the situation where the evidence clearly demonstrates that both you and the other person wanted to fight. In other words the fight was mutual.
Imagine an argument between two people that turns physical. All the witnesses say that both people agreed to fight each other. It was not started by one or the other.
Since the government has the burden of proving its case against you, they must have sufficient evidence to convict you. This means that the victim or another witness must testify against you. If the government’s evidence conflicts, meaning one person says you committed a battery and another witness testifies that you didn’t commit the battery, your defense might be that the government doesn’t have enough evidence to convict you. Ultimately, the case might come down to witness credibility. Meaning, the jury will be left to decide who to believe or whether the one witness is enough evidence to rely on to convict you.
Potential Penalties for Misdemeanor Battery in Florida
In Florida, misdemeanor battery is classified as a first degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by a maximum $1,000 fine and 1 year in the county jail.
**For a second offense a normal misdemeanor battery may be prosecuted as a third degree felony, which is punishable by a maximum $5,000 fine and 5 years in prison.
Restitution: since the crime of battery involves a victim, if convicted the judge may require you to pay the victim restitution for any out of pocket expenses your battery caused the other person.
Criminal Defense Attorney
At The Law Offices of Scott J. Kalish we have the experience defend you in your misdemeanor battery case. We represent people throughout South Florida, specifically Broward, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, Martin, and St. Lucie Counties.
With our main office conveniently located in Coral Springs, and other office locations throughout South Florida we are never far. If you have a question about your drug offense, or any other matter, reach out to us today for help.