Battery and Aggravated Battery in Florida

Under Florida law, a battery charge can be a misdemeanor or felony offense. The different types of battery charges in Florida can include:

  • Simple Battery – a first-degree misdemeanor;
  • Domestic Violence Battery – a first-degree misdemeanor;
  • Battery (second or subsequent offense);
  • Battery on a Person 65 Years Old or Older;
  • Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO);
  • Felony Battery – a third-degree felony under Florida Statute Section 784.041;
  • Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon – Florida Statute Section 784.045(1)(a)(1);
  • Aggravated Battery with a Vehicle;
  • Aggravated with Great Bodily Harm;
  • Aggravated Battery by Strangulation; or
  • Aggravated Battery on a Pregnant Female.

The penalties and punishments depend on how the offense was charged and whether the accused has any prior criminal record.

Florida law increases the punishment for a battery as the degree of actual injury, or the potential for serious injury, becomes more significant.

Attorney for Battery and Aggravated Battery in Tampa, FL

After an arrest for battery or aggravated battery in Tampa, Hillsborough County, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm.

Contact us to discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney today.

We are experienced in fighting different types of allegations of violent crimes in the Tampa Bay area. We provide free initial consultations to discuss the charges against you and possible defenses.

Find out what you must do in the first 21 days after the arrest to protect yourself from false or exaggerated accusations.

Call (813) 250-0500 today.

Florida Statute Section 784.03 for Simple Battery

Under Florida Statute § 784.03, the offense of Battery (often called “simple battery’) requires that the prosecutor prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. Defendant intentionally struck or touched the alleged victim against the will of the alleged victim; and
  2. Defendant intentionally caused bodily harm to the alleged victim.

The crime of simple battery is charged as a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail.

For most misdemeanors, the officer cannot legally make a warrantless arrest unless the crime was committed in the officer’s presence. Instead, the officer has to obtain a warrant, usually after requesting a “direct file” investigation by the State Attorney’s Office.

However, any act of battery upon another person under § 784.03 is found on a list of 22 statutory exceptions to the warrantless arrest rule found in Section 901.15, F.S.

In fact, Section § 901.15(9)(a) provides that an officer can make an arrest for a misdemeanor simple battery charge if the officer gathers probable cause that the crime occurred outside of the officer’s presence.

Florida Statute Section 784.045 for Aggravated Battery

Under Florida Statutes Section 784.045, the offense of Aggravated Battery requires that the prosecutor prove all of the elements of battery, plus an additional element for causing harm or using a weapon.

Aggravated battery is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in Florida State Prison.

Instruction 8.4 of the Florida Standard Criminal Jury Instructions, as summarized below, provides that to prove the crime of aggravated battery, the State must prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt.

1. The defendant did one of the following:

a. intentionally touched or struck the victim against his/her will; or

b. intentionally caused bodily harm to the victim.

2. The defendant in committing the battery either:

a. knowingly and intentionally caused permanent disfigurement, permanent disability or great bodily harm to the alleged victim; or

b. used a deadly weapon, which is a weapon that was used or threatened to be used in a manner likely to cause great bodily harm or death.

Aggravated Battery with a Firearm is technically the same offense as Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon. An aggravated battery is generally classified as a second degree felony. § 784.045(2), Fla. Stat.

When the aggravated battery is committed “by a person acting in furtherance of a riot or an aggravated riot prohibited under s. 870.01,” the aggravated battery is ranked one level above the ranking under s. 921.0022 for the offense committed.

Battery Reclassified as a Felony Because of a Prior Conviction

Florida Statute Section 784.03(2) might cause a simple misdemeanor battery to be reclassified as a felony because of a prior conviction for “battery, aggravated battery, or felony battery.” § 784.03(2), Fla. Stat.

A battery reclassified as a felony because of a prior conviction is charged as a third-degree felony which is punishable by up to five years in Florida State Prison and a $5,000 fine.

After an arrest in Hillsborough County, FL, the offense is sometimes listed on the jail inquiry page as “BATTERY (SECOND OR SUBSEQUENT OFFENSE) (DVST0002).”

Felony Battery under Florida Statute 784.041

The felony battery statute, section 784.041, provides as follows:

(1) A person commits felony battery if he or she:

(a) Actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other;

(b) Causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement.

Felony battery under Section 784.041, is a lesser included offense of aggravated battery under Florida Statute 784.041. Felony battery is a third-degree felony and is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Florida Charges for Aggravated Battery on a Pregnant Female

Under Florida Statutes § 784.045, the crime of Aggravated Battery on a Pregnant Victim requires proof of a battery plus proof beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. The victim was pregnant at the time of the battery; and
  2. The defendant knew or should have known that the victim was pregnant at the time the battery was committed.

Read more about the punishments and penalties for battery on a pregnant female.

Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer under Florida Law

Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer (sometimes called Batt LEO) is charged under Florida Statute Section 784.07, as a third-degree felony.

The charge of Battery on a law enforcement officer “is effectively a misdemeanor charge of battery reclassified to a felony due to the status of the victim being a law enforcement officer.”

Florida Statute Section 784.07(2) states that:

“[w]henever any person is charged with knowingly committing an assault or battery upon a law enforcement officer … the offense for which the person is charged shall be reclassified as follows: …

(b) In the case of battery, from a misdemeanor of the first degree to a felony of the third degree.”

See Knowles v. State, 65 So. 3d 597, 598-99 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011).

Aggravation of a Felony by Committing an Aggravating Battery

The standard jury instruction under Chapter 3.3(c) applies to cases with an aggravation of a felony by committing an aggravated battery as provided in Section § 775.087(1), Fla. Stat.

Adopted in July of 1992 and last amended in 2011, the instruction provides:

If you find that (defendant) committed (felony as identified by § 775.087(1), Fla. Stat.) and you also find beyond a reasonable doubt that during the commission of the crime the defendant committed an aggravated battery, you should find the defendant guilty of (felony) with an aggravated battery.

This provision does not apply if the use of a weapon or firearm is an essential element of the underlying charge.

This aggravating factor causes the reclassification of the underlying felony as follows:

  • a felony of the third degree is reclassified to a felony of the second degree;
  • a felony of the second degree is reclassified to a felony of the first degree; or
  • a felony of the first degree is reclassified to a life felony.

Finding a Lawyer for Battery Charges in Tampa, FL

Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Tampa to discuss your case if you have been arrested for battery or aggravated battery.

In the Tampa Bay Area, we defend clients charged with battery or aggravated battery (including Domestic Battery and Aggravated Domestic Battery).

We represent clients for felony and misdemeanor battery and assault cases in Clearwater or St. Petersburg in Pinellas County, Bartow in Polk County, Dade City or New Port Richey in Pasco County, Brooksville in Hernando County, or Plant City or Tampa in Hillsborough County.

Let us put our experience to work for you.

Call (813) 250-0500.

This article was last updated on Friday, April 21, 2023.