Are “Battery” charges serious?

Aiken and O’Halloran Fla Criminal Defense Offices: Sarasota 941-366-3506 Ft Myers 239-334-8890

If you have been charged with a battery in Sarasota or Manatee County it can have serious consequences.  The most common charge is what is referred to as “Simple Battery”.  Quite simply it is a non-consensual touching.  These mostly occur in the context of a domestic situation between and husband and wife, a boyfriend and girlfriend of relatives that live together.  When 911 is called over a domestic disturbance, generally, someone is going to jail.  The police are afraid that if they do not arrest someone and the argument later gets violent and someone gets killed or hurt they will be sued.  The battery does not have to be violent.  I once defended a man for throwing cold water on his spouse who was berating him and arguing with him.  Sometimes, the man simply tries to restrain a wife or girlfriend who is attacking him.  The police generally side with the woman and hear her side of the story first.  The reality is that many times, it is the woman who started the disturbance and the woman who attacked the man.  A domestic battery conviction has serious consequences, including the right to carry a firearm, buy a firearm and sometimes possess a firearm if you end up on probation.  Most times, if the battery does not result in injury, there is no jail time but the person who pleads ends up with 26 weeks of anger management compelled attendance.

Aggravated battery is serious however.  It is a felony and can result in State prison of County Jail time.  An aggravated battery occurs when a weapon is used.  If someone gets hit with a stick, a plate or some other object, the police can arrest the person for aggravated battery.  It can occur in the context of road rage where one person attacks the other after stopping or uses the vehicle as a weapon.  Ramming the other driver’s car can result in an aggravated battery charge.  If the weapon used is a gun or firearm, it takes it to another level.  If a firearm is discharged it can result in mandatory prison.  If a firearm or gun is pointed it can result  in an aggravated assault charge.  Threatening a person with a gun or knife, if it creates a well founded fear of harm is all it takes to get charged with a felony.  Pointing a gun at another driver will get you arrested and charged.  Shooting into a vehicle can land you in State prison.

I have found that generally, there are two sides to every story, and often the police make a snap decision and believe the first person they talk to.  Generally, that is the woman.  The decision should not be based on gender, but often it is.

Over the years, I have defended hundreds of domestic battery cases.  An arrest for domestic battery generally results in the judge at first appearance issuing a no contact order.  This can spell disaster for the typical family.  Often the family member did not want the other family member arrested.  The no contact order often creates an enormous financial hardship because most families cannot afford two places to live.  As a Sarasota criminal defense lawyer, often my role is to reunite the family and bring an end to the nightmare as quickly as possible.  Most domestic arguments are the result of alcohol and a fit of anger.  The State attorney often will want to go forward even if the parties have reconciled.  Good representation is critical.

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