Articles Posted in Battery

People charged with serious violent crimes often fear that they will be found guilty and sentenced to serve a lengthy term in prison, especially if they have prior convictions. There are limitations as to what sentences the courts can impose, however, and if they deviate from the sentencing scheme without just cause, there may be grounds for objecting to the sentence, as demonstrated in a recent Florida case in which the defendant was convicted of attempted manslaughter and felony battery. If you are faced with accusations that you committed a violent crime, it is critical to speak to a Sarasota violent crime defense lawyer as soon as possible.

History of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with attempted first-degree murder with a weapon and aggravated battery with a weapon. She was subsequently convicted of attempted manslaughter with a weapon, which was a lesser included offense of the murder charge, and felony battery, which was a lesser included offense of the battery crime. Following her sentencing, she appealed both her convictions and her sentence.

Grounds for Revising Sentences

On appeal, the defendant set forth numerous arguments. The court rejected the defendant’s first five arguments, affirming her convictions without discussion. The court then addressed the two remaining arguments the defendant asserted contesting her sentences.

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Multiple acts of battery may be deemed a single criminal offense, or each act may be charged separately. However, regardless of how battery crimes are charged, the State must prove each element of the offense to get a conviction, which necessitates properly advising the jury on how to examine the evidence provided at trial. This was addressed in a recent Florida decision that looked at what constituted a proper jury instruction in a battery case. If you’ve been charged with battery, it’s a good idea to speak with an experienced Florida criminal defense lawyer about your options.

The Battery Allegations

According to reports, the defendant and the victim, who was his ex-girlfriend, had a verbal altercation. During the disagreement, the defendant snatched a lit cigarette from the victim’s hand, shoved her, and pushed her. With two or more battery convictions, he was charged with battery. During the trial, the defendant’s attorney objected to the verdict form since it did not differentiate between each act, and he said that a unanimous verdict was not required. The objection was overruled by the court, which determined that there was a continuous series of occurrences with no intervening actions. The defendant was found guilty and filed an appeal.

Charges in Florida Battery Cases

A trial court’s employment of a generic verdict form that does not assure a unanimous verdict is a reversible error, the court argued on appeal. A jury cannot condemn a person if a single count encompasses numerous independent offenses, even if they all violate the same statute. A jury must reach a unanimous decision on at least one of the acts described. The defendant in this case claimed that the trial court erred by allowing the jury to deliberate on three different incidents of battery although he was only charged with one.

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