Getting Answers For Your Assault And Battery Charges
If you are facing criminal charges related to assault and battery, then information is key to building your defense. At the Finkelstein Firm, P.A., I provide information and guidance to the Clearwater community regarding their criminal defense needs. I am lawyer Jenna Finkelstein, and below are some of the more common questions I receive.
Can I have a jury trial on a misdemeanor battery?
Absolutely, everyone charged with a crime in the state of Florida is entitled to a trial by jury.
What makes a battery a felony?
There are several different reasons why a battery may be charged as a felony. These include:
- Prior battery conviction: If you have been convicted of a prior battery charge – whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony – then you may be charged with felony battery upon your second battery arrest. This is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.
- Aggravated battery: You may be charged with a felony battery if the battery caused great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement.
- Aggravated battery with a weapon: A battery involving a weapon or the intent to cause great bodily harm or permanent disfigurement is considered aggravated battery, which is a felony.
- Battery on an elderly person: When the victim is over the age of 65 and the defendant knew or should have known the age of the victim, then they may be charged with felony battery.
- Battery on a law enforcement officer or medical person: A battery committed against a law enforcement officer or a medical professional may be charged as a felony battery.
- Battery involving children: Felony battery charges can result in cases where a child is the victim. See my discussions under sex crimes and violent crimes for more information.
Will the state prosecute me for a battery on an elderly person?
If you knew or should have known the victim was over the age of 65, then the state may prosecute you for battery on an elderly person. Although the prosecutor makes the ultimate decision on what to prosecute you for, they will take into consideration what the victim’s position is regarding the case.
The victim does not want to prosecute – will the state drop the charges?
If an alleged victim does not wish to prosecute, they may file a request not to prosecute. Although the prosecutor takes a victim’s wishes into consideration, there is no guarantee that the charges will be dropped. You should hire an experienced assault and battery defense attorney to represent you so that all your possible defenses are explored.
A named victim may not be credible, may have a criminal record and/or may have a reputation in the community for violence. These scenarios can tremendously affect your case if they’re presented properly and promptly to the prosecuting agency.
I was arrested during a Baker Act proceeding – is that legal?
Yes. Law enforcement may arrest you for battery if the act is committed during the process of a Baker Act. Additionally, you may be arrested if you are being committed under a Marchman Act as well. Typically, the alleged victims in these cases are law enforcement officers or medical personnel. When the alleged victims fall into these categories, the charge becomes a felony. It is recommended that you consult an experienced battery defense lawyer if you are arrested for one of these types of charges because there are numerous defenses that should be explored.
Do I have a defense if I go to trial?
If you have decided to set your case for trial, you should know what types of defenses may be available to you for your assault or battery case. Hiring an experienced assault and battery defense attorney is the first step. I am a highly trained and experienced assault and battery defense lawyer who will fight for your rights. You may have one or more defenses that can be asserted. The following is a list of common defenses for assault and battery cases:
- Defense of others
- Mutual combat
- Accidental touching/lack of intent
Is an assault a misdemeanor or a felony?
A simple assault is a misdemeanor. An aggravated assault is a felony. The difference between an assault and an aggravated assault is that an aggravated assault involves the use of a weapon. The range of possible penalties depends on whether a weapon was used and what type of weapon was used. The use of a firearm will carry stricter penalties, including some minimum mandatory prison sentences, depending on how the firearm was used.
Do I need a lawyer if charges have not been filed yet?
If you have been arrested for a battery charge, early intervention is extremely important. There are always two sides to every story, sometimes more. Having an experienced battery defense attorney on your side early can make a difference. Your side of the story is important, but do not try to tell your side without the assistance of a lawyer. Everything you say can and will most certainly be held against you. Exercise your right to remain silent and let me do the work for you.