Aggravated Battery Causing Great Bodily Harm, Permanent Disfigurement, or Permanent Disability

Tampa Lawyer Helping Defendants Charged with Violent Crimes

Aggravated battery in Florida involves simple battery plus another serious aggravating factor, such as injuries that disfigure or disable the victim or otherwise seriously physically injure the victim. Judges take aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement, or permanent disability seriously. If you are convicted, you could face significant time in prison, but an experienced Tampa battery defense attorney can make a difference to the outcome. At Hanlon Law, criminal defense lawyer Will Hanlon provides an aggressive defense for his clients.

Aggravated Battery Causing Great Bodily Harm or Permanent Disability or Permanent Disfigurement

Florida Statutes section 784.045 provides that someone commits aggravated battery when they commit battery by actually and intentionally striking or touching another person against the person's will, and also they knowingly or intentionally cause great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement, or permanent disability. A prosecutor needs to establish each of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction, so a conviction is not immediately assured. This is a felony of the second degree.

As a felony of the second degree, aggravated battery as a first offense can be punished by up to 15 years’ imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. However, you may face harsher penalties if you are classified as a habitual violent offender, if you have committed three violent felonies, or if you are classified as a violent career criminal. Each of these terms provides definitions of repeat conduct that can result in harsher sentences when charged with aggravated battery.

For example, you can be found a habitual violent offender if the court finds that you were previously convicted of any combination of at least two Florida felonies or certain other qualifying offenses, and the aggravated battery was committed:

  • While you were serving a sentence or lawful court-ordered supervision that was imposed as a result of a prior felony conviction; or
  • Within five years of the date of the last felony conviction or qualified offense or within five years of being released from prison, probation, parole, or certain other statuses for a felony conviction.

Even being put on probation or community control without being adjudicated guilty can result in a "prior conviction" for the purposes of a habitual violent offender or other status. If the court finds that you are a habitual violent offender, you may serve an extended term.

Common defenses used in aggravated battery cases include self-defense, defense of others, mutual combat, lack of intent to cause great bodily harm, or lack of intent to hit or touch the alleged victim. Some situations allow for more than one of these common defenses to be raised. For example, if you were pulled into a bar fight involving several of your buddies and aggressors, and you needed to defend your friends, but it happened that an aggressor hit their head on the bar and suffered a facial scar, you might be able to successfully argue defense of others or mutual combat.

In other cases, it may be possible to show the prosecutor that there is not enough evidence on one or more elements, such that it would be risky to go to trial and have the jury come back with a not guilty verdict. Perhaps there is not enough evidence on the element of intent, and the alleged victim was behaving provocatively and aggressively prior to the incident. In these cases, it may be possible to negotiate a plea deal for a lesser offense like simple battery, which comes with a lighter sentence.

Contact a Battery Defense Attorney in the Tampa Area

Aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement, or permanent disability can lead to severe consequences, especially for people who have a criminal record. You should make sure to get an experienced Tampa attorney on your side as soon as you can, since you may be able to marshal a strong defense before you are even charged. Will Hanlon aggressively defends people charged with aggravated battery and related offenses, and he has served the Tampa area since 1994. Call Hanlon Law at 813-228-7095 or use our online form to get started on discussing your case with a lawyer skilled in fighting charges of violent crimes.