Misdemeanor battery is one of the most misunderstood criminal charges in the state of Florida. Along with being misunderstood, it is often charged by police and prosecutors in completely inappropriate situations. People have been arrested for the criminal charge of battery for merely splashing water on another person. Police can get away with this because of the vague, broad wording of the battery statute. If you find yourself charged with battery, it is imperative that you get a zealous St. Petersburg violent crimes lawyer to aid you in your defense.
Battery charges often come about after two or more people end up involved in a physical fight. Even though all of the parties involved in a fight might ultimately be responsible, the police and investigators will rarely take the time to do a thorough investigation. Sadly, most often the police will simply label the first person to contact the police as the “victim,” and arrest whoever decided not to have the police involved. Once the police have begun investigating you for a criminal offense of battery, it is imperative that you not speak to them and consult a lawyer immediately.Elements of Misdemeanor Battery
Battery is defined as the unlawful touching or striking of another person, or the intentional infliction of bodily harm to another. The vagueness of this definition means that you can technically be charged with criminal battery for simply tapping another person on the shoulder as long as they did not give you permission to do so. The broad nature of the battery statute has resulted in some truly absurd situations. People have faced criminal charges potentially punishable by jail time for splashing water on another person or for spitting onto someone.
A battery can also extend to the unlawful touching or striking of an object that extends from a person’s for example, courts have found that it is a criminal battery to knock someone’s phone out of their hand while they are holding it. This is because the phone is technically an extension of the person’s body. If you were to kick the door of a car while someone was sitting inside, you might be charged with battery because the car is considered an extension of the driver. If you find yourself in one of these absurd situations, contact a zealous St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer right away because you must not take such situations lightly.
Battery is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. Though it is not a felony offense, battery--along with DUI--is often considered to be the most serious type of misdemeanor case. It is also the misdemeanor for which jail sentences and lengthy terms of probation are often imposed. For these reasons, it is all the more important to discuss your options with an attorney who has experience defending violent crimes.Defenses to Battery
The defenses available to a person charged with battery will always depend on the specific facts of the case. Some common defenses include “mutual combat” or self defense. Mutual combat is a situation in which one or more people voluntarily enter into a physical fight with each other. Because the combat was “mutual” or agreed upon by their actions, nobody involved in the fight should end up being charged with a crime. Authorities will always try to place blame on someone, so it is important to retain a zealous attorney to conduct an independent investigation.
Another common defense to battery is self defense or defense of others. A person is allowed to threaten or cause harm to another person if you believe that it will prevent a violent crime from being committed against you or another person. Self defense in Florida is governed by the state’s Stand Your Ground law and is actually very broad and defendant-friendly. A skilled St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer may even be able to get your charges dismissed before trial by asserting a Stand Your Ground defense.Speak to Our Dedicated Defense Lawyers Today
The lawyers at Hanlon Law are well versed in handling all types of battery offenses. We have the experience and dedication necessary to develop your defense. Call us today at 727.897.5413.