Criminal Defense Over 12 Years' Experience Protecting Your Rights

Simple Battery

What is Battery?

Battery is a form of unwanted touching or striking of another person. But what does that really mean? Florida Supreme Court provides Jury Instructions for crimes in the state of Florida. Those are basically a prescription for what the prosecutor has to prove.

When it comes to Simple Battery (and there is a huge difference between Simple Battery or Domestic Battery or Aggravated Battery), the State has to prove the following:

To prove the crime of Battery, the State must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • Defendant actually and intentionally touched or struck the victim against his or her will.
  • Defendant intentionally caused bodily harm to the victim.

The jury instructions for Simple Battery explain that “an intentional touching or striking includes situations where a defendant knows that a touch or strike is substantially certain to result from his or her act”.

The two above definitions of battery are different and either one is enough. Note that the first one does not require actual injury (bodily harm). This also means that a simple battery does not require as an element of physical force or violence against a person.

What Florida Statute covers Simple Battery?

  • 784.03 Battery; felony battery.

What are examples of Simple Battery?

Cases that we see for Simple Battery most often include:

  1. Bar fights
  2. Argument between siblings/friends/strangers
  3. Man and a woman dating but the crime does not constitute a domestic battery (for example no kids together and don’t live together).

What are the possible outcomes after a Simple Battery charge?

  1. Drop of all charges – this is ideal, as you want to defend yourself and try to avoid entering a plea to any criminal offense, especially one that involves violence. No fines to be paid. This would also then qualify for an expungement (as long as you have not been previously convicted of a crime).
  2. Pre-trial diversion – an opportunity for a first time offender to be diverted away from the criminal justice system and be given a chance to have the charges dropped, as long as community service is completed and fines/donation is made. This is a contract with the State Attorney’s Office, upon completion of which, all charges are dropped. This option would also qualify for an expungement.
  3. A plea to a municipal ordinance – in Jacksonville, frequently we are able to negotiate a disposition to a municipal ordinance of “Fighting” which is a second-degree misdemeanor. This involves a minimum payment of court costs, less than $100. This option would qualify for a sealing, if there are no prior convictions.
  4. A plea another state statute that would be less than a battery – sometimes it is possible to negotiate an amendment of the charge to an assault, breach of the peace of another state statute, that is second-degree misdemeanor, and look a lot better than battery. Again, as long as there is no conviction, this would qualify for a sealing.
  5. A plea to an actual Simple Battery – it is crucial to try to avoid entering a plea to any criminal offense, but if there are no defenses, you must ensure that there is not conviction, so the case can be sealed. In this option, usually there is probation, anger management classes, possibly a mental health evaluation or a TASC evaluation if alcohol is involved. This is the most costly option.

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