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A pregnant woman is carrying a precious passenger inside her body. Florida law aims to protect the vulnerability of both the mother-to-be and the unborn child.
The intentional touching, striking, or infliction of any bodily harm on a pregnant female by someone who knew or should have known that the victim was pregnant is aggravated battery on a pregnant female under the Florida Statutes, § 784.045(1)(b). Most of these charges occur between people who are domestically related, such as a husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, or parents with a child in common.
Aggravated battery on a pregnant female is a serious second-degree felony charge in Florida, with criminal penalties of up to 15 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
Despite its good intentions, this law casts a wide net and sometimes snares people who had incidental or benign contact with a pregnant woman. All it takes for a charge to be filed is a pregnant woman's complaint that she was touched inappropriately, even if she or the unborn child were not injured. The allegation is often made during divorce proceedings or child custody disputes as a tactic to gain a legal advantage, but the consequences of a false allegation can be severe.
Attorney for Aggravated Battery on a Pregnant Woman in Miami, FL
If you are accused of aggravated battery on a pregnant female or fear that you may be arrested soon on such a charge, you should meet with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your dilemma.
Hubbs Law Firm defends people who have been accused of domestic violence in Miami or Miami-Dade County, including Hialeah, Miami Gardens, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, South Miami, North Miami, Kendall, Homestead, and other cities and communities in the Greater Miami area.
E.J. Hubbs is Board Certified in Criminal Trial Law by the Florida Bar. Board certification is the highest level of evaluation and accreditation for lawyers that is conferred by the Florida Bar. Board certification is an assurance of competency and experience within an area of law, as well as professionalism and ethics in practice.
At Hubbs Law Firm, we offer effective representation to aggressively defend you. Your initial consultation is free. Contact us right away to make an appointment.
What Is Aggravated Battery on a Pregnant Female?
In Florida, simple battery occurs when a person intentionally touches or strikes a person against their will. It also occurs when a person causes great bodily harm to other people. Simple battery is a first-degree misdemeanor.
According to § 784.045(1)(b) of the Florida Statutes, "a person commits aggravated battery if the person who was the victim of the battery was pregnant at the time of the offense and the offender knew or should have known that the victim was pregnant."
Aggravated battery on a pregnant female elevates a misdemeanor charge of simple battery to a second-degree felony. By law, the maximum penalties for aggravated battery on a pregnant female are the same as for using a deadly weapon while committing battery. Even domestic battery by strangulation is a lesser third-degree felony.
Elements of Florida's Aggravated Battery on a Pregnant Woman
If a case of aggravated battery on a pregnant woman proceeds to trial, a prosecutor must prove that the defendant did the following beyond reasonable doubt:
- Committed battery by intentionally touching or striking the alleged victim against her will
- Committed battery by intentionally causing bodily harm to the alleged victim
- The victim was pregnant at the time
- The defendant, in committing the battery, knew or should have known that the victim was pregnant
Unfortunately, bodily harm is not defined by Florida law, nor is great bodily harm, so a prosecutor has wide discretion in deciding whether to pursue a conviction of aggravated battery on a pregnant female. Previous cases have attempted to delineate these terms, but there is still no accepted consensus on the meaning of bodily harm in Florida. This also gives the courts wide discretion in determining whether bodily harm or great bodily harm occurred.
Penalties for Aggravated Battery on a Pregnant Female
If convicted under § 784.045 of the Florida Statutes, the penalties for aggravated battery on a pregnant female are much harsher than the penalties for most other aggravated battery charges, except for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
Aggravated battery on a pregnant female is a second-degree felony in Florida, and is punishable by:
- A prison term of up to 15 years; and/or
- A fine of up to $10,000
Convicted felons also surrender certain civil rights in Florida such as the right to vote or own a gun. Additional penalties may negatively affect child custody, education, employment, or housing status. In addition, if you are not a United States citizen, a conviction for aggravated battery on a pregnant female could be considered an aggravated felony and a crime of violence under immigration law, triggering mandatory deportation.
The Florida Scoresheet for Felony Convictions
In Florida, felony convictions are subject to sentencing guidelines after points are assessed on a scoresheet. The total points assessed will determine the actual prison time.
In tallying the points, crimes are categorized among 10 levels, with level 1 being the least serious and level 10 the most. Aggravated battery on a pregnant woman is a level 7 offense, the same as aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Points are assessed for primary and additional offenses, victim injuries, prior record, use of a firearm, and other factors, and a formula is applied to determine the sentence.
Even with no prior offenses or other aggravating circumstances, a defendant who is convicted of aggravated battery on a pregnant female scores 21 months at the bottom of the guidelines. Therefore, at a minimum, the judge will be required to sentence you to 21 months in prison unless there is a legal reason to depart from the sentence.
Convicted felons will face other obstacles upon release from prison, including the loss of certain civil rights, such as the right to vote or own a weapon, as well as diminished opportunities for education, employment, and housing.
Trust Your Case to Hubbs Law Firm
If you were charged with aggravated battery on a pregnant female or any type of domestic violence in Miami or Miami-Dade County, then your freedom and relationships with your family may be in jeopardy. You likely need an experienced Miami domestic violence lawyer to help you with the legal issues that are bombarding you.
At Hubbs Law Firm, we represent clients charged with domestic violence issues, including aggravated battery on a pregnant female. Our clients come from all over Miami-Dade County, including Miami, South Miami, North Miami and suburban areas such as Hialeah, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Miami Gardens, Homestead, Fontainebleau, and other areas.
E.J. Hubbs is experienced in domestic disputes and can provide insightful counsel when you need it most. He also represents clients charged with other forms of battery and aggravated battery, including domestic violence by strangulation and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon or with serious bodily injury.
When you are charged with any domestic crime, your future relationship with your family is at risk. Contact a skilled and compassionate lawyer today who will fight for your rights.
Call Hubbs Law Firm today at (305) 570-4802 to schedule a free initial appointment to discuss your case.
- Florida Statutes, Title XLVI, Chapter 784, § 784.045 — Aggravated Battery — Read Florida's current aggravated battery laws, including the crime of aggravated battery on a pregnant female. You can also learn about the legislative history of the law as well as the laws for related offenses.
- Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade — Since 1992, HSCMD has been a leading organization in maternal, infant and child health, targeting women of childbearing age, pregnant women and infants from birth to three years. The organization's primary goals are to reduce the rates of infant mortality, pre-term birth and low birth weight, improving women’s health and pregnancy outcomes, promote the enhanced development of infants and toddlers, and improve the community’s knowledge and awareness about its various services.
Attorneys E.J. & Erika Hubbs
As professional Miami criminal defense attorneys, we take every case personally give every client the deliberate care it deserves. Our clients become part of our family and we fight relentlessly for their rights. Read more about us to find out how we can help you.
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