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Florida Statute 784.03, Battery

Definition and Elements of the Crime

Battery typically occurs in two different ways. The first is actually and intentionally touching or striking a person against their will, which generally means hitting, pushing, slapping or punching a person. The second type of battery is intentionally causing harm to another person without actual physical contact. The state must first prove that either the victim was touched or otherwise harmed by the defendant. They must then prove the touching or causing of harm was done intentionally by the defendant. Finally, the prosecutor must prove the victim did not consent to the touching or that it was done against their will. Felony battery falls under the same statute, and can be charged if a person has a prior conviction for a battery or related charge. A withhold of adjudication and no contest plea is considered a conviction the purposes of this statute.


Two individuals are in an argument, and one takes the argument physical by punching the other in the face. In less severe situations a battery can be charged if the defendant simply pushed the victim or even bear hugged the victim. An example of a battery that does not involve touching or striking another person would be slipping drugs in their drink. Poisoning a person is also an example of a battery, but would also likely have additional charges such as aggravated battery. Causing someone to fall or otherwise suffer an injury without touching them could also be a battery, but would likely be accompanied by assault charges as well.

Related Offenses

Aggravated battery under Florida statute 784.045 occurs when the defendant causes great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement or permanent disability. It is also an aggravated battery if the defendant is proven to have used a deadly weapon during the commission of the crime. Domestic battery by strangulation is another related offense under Florida statute 784.041. This crime occurs when a domestic partner is accused of choking or otherwise impeding the breathing of a person they are currently or were formally in a relationship with.


Self-defense is one of the most common defenses to battery cases, and one of the most widely used defenses in criminal court in general. A defendant in Florida must not be held liable for committing a battery if the force used was necessary to avoid injury. The defense of others and defense of property is another affirmative defense where the defendant admits that the battery occurred but argues that it was justified for the protection of another person or property. In order for a lawyer to be able to argue self-defense or defense of others there must be some evidence presented at trial, but a defendant does not necessarily have to testify for this to happen.


The maximum penalty for misdemeanor battery in Florida is one year in the county jail plus reporting probation and most likely anger management classes or counseling. Felony battery carries a potential five-year prison sentence, and the possibility of being a convicted felon for life. There may also be fines, court costs and supervision fees imposed, as well as drug and alcohol screening for anyone convicted of battery in Florida.

Florida Battery Lawyer

Benjamin Herbst is a South Florida criminal defense lawyer who specializes in battery and felony battery charges. He has successfully represented hundreds of clients who were charged with violent crimes and is standing by to fight for you. Call South Florida battery lawyer Benjamin Herbst anytime for a free consultation at (954) 543-0305 and find out what defenses may be available in your case.

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