When most people think of battery they picture punching and kicking resulting in bruising, bleeding, and broken bones. However, battery can be as simple as poking someone or spitting on them. To convict someone of battery the State only needs to show an intentional unwanted touching of another. Therefore, a battery can be proven despite a lack of injury or even a lack of violence.
A battery such as the one described above is a misdemeanor of the first degree. It is punishable by up to one year jail, one year probation, and a $1,000 fine. If the battery occurs between members of a household or between people who are dating, then it is considered domestic violence. The battery will likely be prosecuted by a special domestic violence unit. Under Florida Statute, people convicted of domestic violence must complete the Batterer’s Intervention Program, in addition to all other sanctions.
Many people falsely believe that if a victim declines to prosecute, the State will drop the charge. This is not always the case because the State of Florida is bringing the charge, not the victim. The State is more reluctant to drop the charge if the case involves domestic violence. They may even go to trial with an uncooperative victim depending on the facts of the case.
There are over 15 ways a battery can be charged as a felony in Florida. These charging enhancements greatly increase the exposure to jail time and probation. If the battery is serious enough, the penalty will be mandatory prison despite a lack of criminal history.