Charles Hansen of Lake Worth, Florida has been charged with aggravated battery for dipping his girlfriend into the hot coals of a fire pit. The couple of six months were drinking and barbecuing some food when an argument broke out. Hansen allegedly grabbed the woman and pushed her into the fire pit, holding her down for at least a minute. The woman suffered minor bruises.
Florida Aggravated Battery is a second-degree felony under Florida Statute § 784.041(1). One is charged with aggravated battery when one is accused of an actual violent act causing great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement. Florida’s Aggravated Battery law may also be charged depending on whether a deadly weapon is used. Normally, in charging someone with an aggravated charge of this nature, any injury that causes a scar (anything requiring stitches) may meet the requirements of permanent disfigurement.
Each Jacksonville aggravated battery case is unique and will use the facts and background information of the case to prove that the prosecution does not have a case that proves the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The strong legal representation provided by veteran aggravated battery lawyers could be the difference between a defendant’s freedom and severe penalties.
A knowledgeable and experienced aggravated battery defense attorney will use every possible defense and mitigating factor in an attempt to show the court that one’s case is worthy of either a reduction or dropping of the charges entirely. In assault and battery cases, particularly of an aggravated nature, there are many important factors showing that the invalidity of the charge as applied to one’s case, including:
– Proving the alleged victim did not really suffer from serious harm or injury
– Showing one did not have the intention of using a deadly weapon and proving the weapon that was used was not in fact a deadly weapon
– Distinguishing whether one’s acts were in response to attacks, threats or other harmful conduct by the alleged victim
An experienced aggravated battery defense lawyer would be able to see in this case directly from the police report that the victim only suffered minor bruising, which does not require stitches or leaves a permanent mark. Minor bruising is not indicative of great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement. Many bar fights end in busted lips and noses that require stitching, and those involved normally only face a misdemeanor battery charge, even before possibly contemplating a plea deal for a lesser charge. This might be a case of overcharging a criminal defendant, a common problem in the legal system.
There are a few defenses to a Florida aggravated battery charge, including consent and self-defense. One of the required elements of a battery is that the contact be un-consensual; if there is consent to the contact, then the element is not met and the charge will not stand. One might also argue mutual combat to a jury as a sub-category of the defense of consent, in situations involving fights at parties or bars, logically showing neither person should be able to complain of the “un-consensual” contact.
Self-defense, also known as the justified use of force, is a defense to the crime of battery so long as one used non-deadly force because one reasonably believed that the non-deadly force was necessary to defend oneself or another against another person’s imminent use of unlawful force. There is no duty to retreat.
Repeat offenders should remember that one who has previously been convicted of three or more violent felonies or attempts at violent felonies may be classified as a “three time violent offender” or “violent career criminal” and may receive a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment. Violent career criminals may be facing a 10 year prison sentence for a third degree felony, and 30 years for a second degree felony.
Many times, the State Attorney’s Office will see aggravated battery cases like this as an easy every-day case to walk through and be done with, and will charge it as such. Remember, one has crucially important rights that should be protected. An experienced Jacksonville aggravated battery crimes attorney can and will protect those rights.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Additional Source: Lake Worth man forced girlfriend into hot coals, deputies say Ed Komenda, The Orlando Sun Sentinel