In Florida, there are numerous crimes that are similar but distinct. For example, battery can be charged as a misdemeanor or a crime of domestic violence. While the distinction may seem irrelevant to the average person, there are significantly different penalties imposed for each offense. As such, if a defendant is sentenced based on the incorrect battery charge, it may constitute grounds for a reversal. This was demonstrated recently in a Florida case in which the court determined that the defendant was entitled to resentencing after the instructions delivered to the jury at his trial failed to mention domestic violence. If you are accused of battery, it is advisable to contact a St. Petersburg violent crime defense attorney to determine what defenses you may be able to assert.
Procedural History of the Case
Reportedly, the defendant was charged with multiple crimes, including domestic battery. The instructions given to the jury during his trial failed to mention domestic violence in any way, however. Instead, the instruction merely referred to the general battery statute. The jury nonetheless convicted the defendant of domestic violence battery. The sentencing court subsequently treated the battery charge as a crime of domestic violence and sentenced the defendant accordingly. The defendant appealed, arguing that his sentence was improper.
Sentencing for Florida Battery Crimes
The appellate court agreed with the defendant and ruled that he was entitled to resentencing. The appellate court explained that, under Florida law, battery may be considered a first-degree misdemeanor if it is the offender’s first conviction. In order for battery to be weighed under the domestic violence statute, it must include the death or physical injury of one household or family member by another household or family member. Continue Reading ›