Assault & Battery Defense in West Palm Beach

Aggravated battery is defined by the State of Florida as physical contact with another person without permission with the intent to cause harm, to commit a felony, or with a deadly weapon. Aggravated battery causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the victim. Simple battery is converted to “aggravated battery” when the victim is pregnant during the battery, provided the alleged offender was aware of the pregnancy or should have reasonably been aware of it.

Differences Between Assault & Battery Crimes

  • Simple Assault & Battery. In Florida, an assault is intentional threats that cause a person to fear impending violence. Battery is actually carrying out an act of harmful or offensive physical contact. For simple assault and battery charges to stand, the act of threatening or physical contact must be purposeful.
  • Aggravated Assault, Felony Battery, & Domestic Battery By Strangulation. Aggravated assault, felony battery, and domestic battery by strangulation are third-degree felonies, which can potentially become first or second-degree felonies when the crime is committed against a “special victim” under Florida State law.
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Attorney Mark Solomon

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If a battery results in great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the victim, the alleged offender has committed felony battery, regardless of whether the offender intended to cause harm to that extent. If a battery is committed on a family or household member by obstructing their normal blood circulation or breathing, creating conditions for great bodily harm to occur, the offender has committed domestic battery by strangulation.

Under Florida law, “family or household members” are classified as a blood relation, a spouse, former spouse, an intimate partner, or when they share a child. Great bodily harm is considered to be harm that is more than minor (superficial bruises, cuts, and scrapes), and can include profusely bleeding wounds that require stitches, injuries that result in the need for surgery, and broken bones.

“Special victims” include law enforcement, emergency medical personnel, public transportation employees, a licensed security officer, an employee or visitor at a correctional facility if the defendant was an inmate, employees of Children & Family Services (provided the offender was aware of their position), an elderly person (65 and older), a school employee, or an elected official, provided the defendant knew the official’s employment position.

Potential Penalties for Committing Battery in FloridaSimple Battery Penalties
Simple battery is a first-degree misdemeanor that can result in up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, probation for up to one year, and possible probation, and restitution. Restitution is reimbursement to the victim for any expenses resulting from the battery, such as medical treatment costs.

Aggravated Assault & Battery, Felony Battery & Domestic Battery by Strangulation Penalties
The penalties for the third-degree felonies of aggravated assault, felony battery, and domestic battery by strangulation can be up to 5 years of imprisonment, a fine of up to $5,000, probation of up to 5 years, and possible probation and restitution.

A person convicted of a second-degree felony aggravated assault, felony battery, or domestic battery by strangulation in Florida faces up to 15 years of imprisonment, a minimum of 3 years if the crime was committed on a “special victim”, a fine of up to $10,000, and possible probation of up to 15 years, and restitution.

Penalties for aggravated battery against a “special victim”, a first-degree felony, can result in up to 30 years of imprisonment with a minimum of 5 years of imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000, and possible probation of up to 30 years, and restitution. If an offender is convicted of a prior violent crime, a sentence is subject to “enhancement” in first, second, and third-degree felonies.

Potential Aggravated Battery Defenses

  • Self-Defense. The most common defense to aggravated battery is self-defense. Self-defense can be established when the alleged offender reacted with reasonable force to a reasonably perceived threat of harm without provoking this act. There must be an attempt to exit the situation safely if a chance exists.
  • Defense of Others. This defense is similar to self-defense, with the different factor being that the alleged offender was protecting another person. The accused must have a reasonable perceived fear that another person will be harmed.
  • Defending Property. Defending property is a viable defense to an aggravated battery charge, provided that the alleged offender held a reasonably perceived fear that their personal property would be damaged, illegally withheld, or stolen. This defense allows an individual to exert reasonable force to defend their property, especially when circumstances occur in their home.
  • Consent. Being granted consent to have physical contact with the alleged victim is a viable defense for an alleged offender in an aggravated battery case.
  • Alternative Defenses. Felony aggravated assault and battery charges can be reduced to misdemeanor assault or battery in certain cases.

Arson Charges
Florida Statute 806.01 | Arson & criminal mischief

Arson is a crime of intentionally, deliberately and maliciously setting fire to buildings, wildland areas, abandoned homes, vehicles or other property with the intent to cause damage. It may be distinguished from other causes such as spontaneous combustion, accidental fires (smoking in bed, e.g.) and natural wildfires. Arson often involves fires deliberately set to the property of another or to one’s own property in order to collect insurance compensation.

What are the Penalties for Arson?

1. Any person who willfully and unlawfully, or while in the commission of any felony, by fire or explosion, damages or causes to be damaged:

  1. Any dwelling, whether occupied or not, or its contents;
  2. Any structure, or contents thereof, where persons are normally present, such as: jails, prisons, or detention centers; hospitals, nursing homes, or other health care facilities; department stores, office buildings, business establishments, churches, or educational institutions during normal hours of occupancy; or other similar structures; or
  3. Any other structure that he or she knew or had reasonable grounds to believe was occupied by a human being,is guilty of arson in the first degree, which constitutes a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

2. Any person who willfully and unlawfully, or while in the commission of any felony, by fire or explosion, damages or causes to be damaged any structure, whether the property of himself or herself or another, under any circumstances not referred to in subsection (1), is guilty of arson in the second degree, which constitutes a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(3) As used in this chapter, “structure” means any building of any kind, any enclosed area with a roof over it, any real property and appurtenances thereto, any tent or other portable building, and any vehicle, vessel, watercraft, or aircraft.

Arson is a serious, felony charge that requires a defense attorney with the experience to protect your rights. Mark Solomon is a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer that works tirelessly to defend his clients. Schedule a free initial consultation with Mark and he will obtain a copy of your police report and evaluate the potential defenses to your case.

Seek A Criminal Defense Attorney’s Expertise
​If you’ve been charged with an aggravated battery in Florida, a seasoned criminal defense attorney can offer the most desirable result in the resolution of your case. A felony conviction can negatively affect your life in a number of ways. It will strip you of your right to vote and the right to own and/or carry firearms. Assault and battery charges will surface on any routine background check, which is often necessary to secure certain employment positions or to attain particular professional licenses.

In fact, a felony conviction can even result in losing certain professional licenses. In the event that a convicted felon is later charged with a violent crime, if they have been convicted of a previous violent crime, any new charges can be subject to enhancement. These conditions can subject you to a less desirable sentence in any new cases that surface.