What is the Crime of Aggravated Battery in Florida?

 

          If you have been charged with aggravated battery in West Palm Beach, Palm Beach, Belle Glade, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Jupiter, Lake Park, Lake Worth, Lantana, North Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Springs, Riviera Beach, Royal Palm Beach, or Wellington, call me, attorney Ron Chapman, at 561-832-4348 to discuss your case and see how I might be able to help you.

 

          A person can commit the crime of aggravated battery in one of three ways in Florida.  If a person, while committing the crime of battery

 

          1.  Intentionally or knowingly causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement of another person; or

 

          2.  Uses a deadly weapon; or

 

          3.  If a person who was the victim of a battery was pregnant at the time of the offense and the offender knew or should have known that the victim was pregnant, then the offender may be guilty of the crime of aggravated battery. 

 

          The crime of aggravated battery is a second-degree felony which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

 

          However, deciding whether someone's actions actually constitute the crime of aggravated battery can sometimes be quite difficult  as the case of Nguyen v. State of Florida illustrates.

 

          In that particular case, Mr. Nguyen was charged, among other things, with the crime of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the victim or, alternatively, by using a deadly weapon which happened to be an electric stun gun.

 

         The First District Court of Appeal began its analysis with the observation that proving great bodily harm requires more than slight, trivial, minor, moderate, or some harm.  In Mr. Nguyen's case, the victim testified that it hurt when she was shot with the stun gun and that it caused her to lie down.  In addition, a police officer testified that he saw burn marks on the victim after he arrived on scene.  Significantly, however, no evidence was presented that the victim required medical treatment for her burns or that she had any lasting negative effects or scars from being shot with a stun gun.  The Court of Appeal therefore concluded that there was not enough evidence to convict Mr. Nguyen of the crime of aggravated battery by causing great bodily harm.

 

          However, that did not end the Court's analysis since it still had to decide whether Mr. Nguyen was nonetheless guilty of committing the crime of aggravated battery because he had used a deadly weapon.

 

          The Court defined a "deadly weapon" as:

 

          1.  Any instrument which, when it is used in the ordinary manner contemplated by its design and construction will or is likely to cause great bodily harm; or

 

          2.  Any instrument likely to cause great bodily harm because of the way it is used during a crime.

 

          In Mr. Nguyen's case, the appellate court ruled that the prosecution failed to present any evidence that a stun gun qualifies as a deadly weapon by its ordinary use.  Additionally, the evidence was insufficient to prove that the stun gun used by Mr. Nguyen constituted a deadly weapon based upon the way that he used it against the victim.  Accordingly, there was also not enough evidence to convict Mr. Nguyen of the crime of aggravated battery for using a deadly weapon.

 

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