Battery is when the defendant makes direct physical contact with the victim. To be classified as a battery, the contact must have been against the will of the victim. The contact does not necessarily have to cause injury to be classified as battery. In Florida, there are several different categories of battery. The first is simple battery which is when deliberate, undesired physical contact occurs between the defendant and the victim. This could be as simple as spitting on someone.
The second type is felony battery which is when the defendant has been convicted of battery previously or when the victim suffers “serious injury.” The final and most severe type of battery is aggravated battery. This is when the defendant used a weapon or caused serious physical harm to the victim. When the battery happens to someone you are related to or in a relationship with, it is then classified as domestic battery. This person does not need to be someone you are currently dating, as they can be someone you had a relationship with in the past.
There are many valid defenses to the charge of battery such as lack of intent, accident, self-defense, consent from the victim, defense of someone else, and defense of property. It is possible to prove the victim’s consent if both the victim and defendant were proven to be engaged in mutual combat and the victim was the instigator of that fight. One defense to the charge of battery is the “Stand your Ground” law, which is found at § 776.012, Fla Stat. This law states that;
“A person is justified in using or threatening to use force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. A person who uses or threatens to use force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat before using or threatening to use such force.”
“A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person who uses or threatens to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be.”
When asserting the Stand Your Ground Law, the Judge will consider the evidence and arguments of the parties at a hearing prior to any trial taking place. At the hearing on the Stand Your Ground Law Motion, if the Defense makes a facially sufficient claim of self-defense immunity from criminal prosecution, the burden is on the State to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the immunity is not justified in the case. Thus, as the law currently stands, the State bears the burden of disproving, by clear and convincing evidence, a facially sufficient claim of self-defense immunity in a criminal prosecution.