Battery on a Pregnant Female
Florida Statutes § 784.045 sets out the elements for the crime of Aggravated Battery upon a Pregnant Victim. The harsh penalties for this offense recognize that pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to domestic violence and other forms of abuse.
The crime is sometimes abbreviated on the arrest report as: “Aggrav Battery: Offendr Knew/Should Have Known Victim Pregnant (Domestic or Dating Violence)” or “Aggravated Battery Pregnant Female.”
By making the consequences of hitting, pushing, or striking a pregnant woman particularly harsh, the statute discourages injuries to the vulnerable mother and the unborn child.
The statutory language is extremely broad requiring proof of only an offensive touching or one causing non-serious bodily harm. Many people are surprised to learn that this serious crime can be alleged even if the contact caused no serious injury to the woman or her unborn child.
Although well-intended, the statute often leads to absurd results when a pregnant female makes a false or exaggerated allegation that she was touched in an offensive manner. False allegations are particularly common when a pending divorce or child custody battle is anticipated.
A variety of other reasons can exist for false allegations in these cases. Our attorneys have seen all kinds of incidents.
Sometimes the pregnant female is wrongfully arrested or charged with a crime even though the evidence is overwhelming that she did not initiate the violence and was acting in self-defense or defense of her unborn child.
Attorney for Battery on a Pregnant Woman in Tampa, FL
If you have been falsely accused of any form of battery or aggravated battery in the Tampa Bay area, including a battery upon a pregnant female, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm.
In addition to our main office in downtown Tampa, we have a second office directly across from the West Pasco Judicial Center in New Port Richey, FL.
We represent clients on a variety of violent crimes throughout Tampa Bay including false imprisonment, kidnapping, and all forms of aggravated battery.
The penalties are even more serious when a weapon or firearm is used or when domestic violence involved strangulation.
Contact us today to speak directly with an attorney about the facts of your case. Find out what steps you need to take today to protect yourself against this serious allegation.
Call (813) 250-0500.
As the Alleged Victim, Can I Request the Charges are Dropped?
If you are the alleged victim in the case and you do not wish for the charges to be prosecuted, then you can fill out a form requesting that the charges are dropped.
The person accused of the crime should NOT talk with you about the allegations or filing any paperwork to drop the charges. In most cases, the person accused of the battery will be subject to a “no contact” provision that prevents them from contacting you.
Even if the court did not impose such a condition, it is still important for the person accused not to have contact with the alleged victim during the earliest parts of the case.
The defendant’s attorney is permitted to talk with you about the facts of the case. If you fill out an affidavit to drop the charges you should keep a copy for yourself and you are permitted to send a copy to the defense attorney.
Within 21 days of the arrest, you will receive an “intake letter” from the Victim Assistance Counselor with the Victim Assistance Program a the State Attorney’s Office. The letter will list the defendant’s name, the office number, the case number, and the assigned division (if any).
The letter provides:
A law enforcement report has been filed in which you are listed as a victim. Before action (prosecution) can be taken, it is important that you appear telephonically to discuss the facts of the case. The enclosed witness subpoena provides the information on the time and date of your scheduled intake.
The State Attorney’s Victim Assistance/Domestic Violence Program was established to provide comprehensive services to the victim of a crime.
We are available to help you through the criminal justice process and with any problems you experience as a result of this crime. The Information Crime Victims booklet can also be found on our website.
In some cases, the alleged victim will decide to hire their own attorney to help them during the process or accompany them for the intake subpoena (sometimes called the “invest”) at the State Attorney’s Office during the first 21 days after the arrest.
In some cases, the alleged victim might decide to “take the fifth” if their testimony might subject them to self-incrimination (unless the prosecutor puts it in writing that their statements can not be used against them).
Elements of Aggravated Battery upon a Pregnant Woman
At trial, the prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office must prove the following elements beyond all reasonable doubt:
- The defendant committed a battery on the alleged victim;
- the defendant actually and intentionally touched or struck another person; or
- the touching was against the victim’s will; or
- the touching intentionally caused bodily harm to another person;
- The victim was pregnant at the time of the battery; and
- The defendant knew or should have known that the victim was pregnant at the time the battery was committed.
Under Florida law, aggravated battery upon a pregnant woman is a specific-intent crime. The victim’s pregnancy is an essential element of the offense.
For this reason, the defendant’s state of mind or knowledge of the victim’s pregnancy is a crucial issue in the case.
If you were arrested for this charge in Hillsborough County, then the offense is coded into the computer at the jail as BATT6000 AGGRAVATED BATTERY ON PREGNANT FEMALE.
Penalties for Battery on Pregnant Woman in Florida
Aggravated battery on a pregnant woman is a second-degree felony punishable by:
- up to 15 years in prison;
- up to 15 years on probation; or
- a maximum fine of $10,000.
This form of aggravated battery is classified as a Level 7 offense under Florida’s sentencing guidelines.
A Level 7 offense requires adding 56 points on the score sheet if the offense is the primary offense. That means that even if you have no prior record and this is the only charge, you will have enough points listed that you will score out to a term in Florida State Prison.
If this charge is given a score based on it being an additional offense, then 28 points are added to the score sheet.
Other forms of aggravated battery include intentionally causing great bodily harm or disfigurement or while using a deadly weapon under Florida Statute Section 784.045(1)(a)1 or 2.
Defenses to Aggravated Battery on a Pregnant Woman
The most common defenses that are asserted when a person is charged with battery on a pregnant woman under Section 784.045 include:
- The contact was an accident without any intent to touch the woman in an offensive or violent matter;
- The defendant didn’t know the woman was pregnant;
- The defendant was acting in self-defense after the pregnant women acted as the primary aggressor; or
- The defendant was acting in defense of another person or property.
Florida Statute Section 784.045 for Aggravated Battery – Read the internet site of the Florida Legislature to find the statutory language for Florida Statute 784.045 of Title XLVI for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and aggravated battery on a pregnant female. Find information on the legislative history of the statute and the laws for related offenses.
Pregnant Women’s Rights Must Be Fully Protected by the Criminal Law – This article published on April 15, 2014, explains the Pregnant Woman’s Protection Act that was drafted in direct response to the well-documented threats of violence faced by pregnant women and their unborn children. Find statistics demonstrating that violence and abuse committed against a woman during the pregnancy is often higher than at any other period in a woman’s lifetime.
Penalties for Battery on a Pregnant Female in Hillsborough County, FL
Florida law provides harsh penalties related to the ongoing problem of pregnancy-related violence including violence directed toward unborn children.
In the most extreme cases, the use of unlawful force includes punching or beating a pregnant woman with the intent of causing a miscarriage.
If you have been arrested for any crime of violence, including aggravated battery on a pregnant female, or any charges for domestic violence, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Tampa, FL.
The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm take an aggressive approach to represent clients on these and similar criminal charges.
We are familiar with the tactics used by local law enforcement officers with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office or the Tampa Police Department when investigating violent crimes including battery and aggravated battery.
Find out what you need to do today to protect yourself after a serious felony accusation is made against you.
This article was last updated by Leslie M. Sammis on Tuesday, August 5, 2020.