Battery, Domestic Battery, and Aggravated Battery in Florida: What’s the Difference?

Domestic battery in Florida comes with severe consequences if an individual is convicted. It can be one of the potential charges included in an arrest in a situation involving alleged domestic violence.

Battery and aggravated battery are other common charges that defendants face. While this legal terminology can be confusing, it is important for anyone facing these types of charges to understand the difference.

Battery vs. Aggravated Battery vs. Domestic Battery

Under state statutes, battery, aggravated battery, and domestic battery in Florida are considered serious crimes. Depending on the severity of the situation, the defendant’s relationship to the victim, and whether or not a lethal weapon was involved, the charge(s) will either be misdemeanors or felonies.

Due to the consequences and penalties of a conviction, it is highly advisable for anyone facing these charges to contact a criminal defense attorney after an arrest.

What Is Considered Battery In Florida?

Battery, also frequently known as simple battery, is the offensive or unwanted touching of another person or intentionally inflicting bodily harm on another person. When someone is charged with battery, “aggravated” circumstances are not present. There must be intent involved in the altercation for an incident, argument, or fight to qualify for battery charges. Meaning the person charged must have intended to harm the other individual – and the prosecution has to show that intent. If the striking or touching was an accident, it would not be considered battery.

What Is Considered Aggravated Battery in Florida?

When considering aggravated battery vs. domestic battery, there are some big differences in what circumstances must exist for the charges and the types of penalties involved.

The basic requirements of unwanted or offensive touching or intentionally inflicting bodily harm with simple battery are the same for aggravated battery and the first requirements for the charges. But additional circumstances must be present. A deadly weapon must have been used with aggravated battery, such as a gun or a knife, when an individual knowingly or intentionally causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the victim.

Alternatively, aggravated battery charges can be ordered if the defendant batters someone they know (or should know) is pregnant.

What Is Considered Domestic Battery in Florida?

Domestic battery in Florida is similar to other battery charges in that intentional bodily harm or unwanted touching must be present. But domestic battery Florida law differentiates this type of charge in that it considers the relationship between the defendant and the victim.

For a charge to be considered domestic battery, the victim must be a household member or family member of the arrested individual.

The types of relationships that would qualify for domestic battery charges in Florida are wide-ranging and can include:

  • Wives
  • Husbands
  • Ex-spouses
  • Co-parents (not required to have been married to qualify)
  • Individuals who currently live together as a family
  • Individuals who previously lived together as a family
  • Individuals who are related by blood or marriage

Under the laws for domestic battery in Florida, in all of the above relationships, the defendant must either be living with the victim or previously lived with the victim to qualify for this type of charge, except for co-parents.

Battery, Aggravated Battery, and Domestic Battery: Florida Law

Florida law has specific penalties for battery, aggravated battery, and domestic battery. They are all serious charges and come with varying levels of imprisonment, fines, and potentially other consequences upon conviction.

A conviction of battery in the State of Florida is considered to be a first-degree misdemeanor and comes with penalties of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1000. Felony battery can be charged where the defendant has a prior conviction for battery.

Aggravated battery is a very serious charge with elevated penalties. Typically, aggravated battery is charged as a second-degree felony. Upon conviction, the defendant will face up to a maximum of 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Additionally, Florida courts can impose a mandatory minimum sentence if the defendant either possessed or discharged a firearm during the attack. Aggravated domestic battery comes with more severe penalties, similar to aggravated battery.

Domestic battery penalties in Florida will vary depending on the severity of harm, the circumstance present, and whether or not it is the first time an individual is facing these types of charges. If it is the first time a defendant is being charged with domestic battery, it is a first-degree misdemeanor, and this charge comes with penalties of up to one year in jail maximum and up to a maximum fine of $1,000. If the individual has previously been convicted of domestic battery, they can be charged with a felony with penalties of up to five years imprisonment and accompanying higher fines.

Domestic battery Florida law also dictates additional penalties. If a defendant is found guilty and the victim has suffered bodily harm, the court will mandate that the defendant serve five days in jail and complete a 26-week batterer’s intervention program. Other consequences can include losing the ability to carry a firearm, being ordered to perform community service, and getting 12 months of probation.

Along with these consequences of a conviction, there will often be a filing of a no-contact order for domestic battery that restricts contact with the victim. Violations of a no-contact order carry separate charges – typically a first-degree misdemeanor, which can be charged for each instance of contact. Bonds can also be revoked if a no-contact order is violated.

It is important to know that convictions of domestic battery can not be expunged from your record. Individuals who plead no contest or are found guilty will have a permanent criminal record.

What to Do If You Are Facing Charges

If you are facing charges of battery, aggravated battery, or domestic battery in Clearwater, FL, contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to determine your best legal strategy and options moving forward.

Dean Tsourakis is an experienced criminal defense attorney dedicated to helping people and working with clients each step of the way.

Call 727-785-2700 for a free, confidential consultation.