Florida Psychotherapist Charged With Battery
It was reported in January that a Kissimmee, Florida, psychotherapist was charged with battery after a patient alleged he inappropriately touched her during therapy sessions. The patient claims the therapist touched her in an unwanted way that was outside the scope of his professional care during several sessions. Following her claims, he was arrested by the Kissimmee Police Department, charged with three counts of battery, and held on $3,000 bond.
What Constitutes Battery Under Florida Law
Florida Statute §784.03 states battery occurs when an individual:
- Actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against that person’s will, or
- Intentionally causes bodily harm to another person.
Under this definition, the alleged victim of a battery may, but does not have to, suffer any physical harm. An action that causes some amount of harm is clearly battery, such as hitting an individual and causing bruising, lacerations, or broken bones or shoving an individual and causing them to fall. However, non-consensual touching that does not leave any physical consequences is also battery.
You may wonder how people are not charged with battery all of the time under this law. It seems so broad. The offense of battery requires a specific intent. The defendant must knowingly act in a way that will likely cause harm or offense and the victim has not consented to. Accidental contact between two people is not battery. Also, contact that arises from an action that was not intended to cause physical contact is also not battery.
Levels of Battery Offenses
Simple battery, which does not involve a weapon, serious bodily injury, or previous convictions, is a first-degree misdemeanor. If a battery takes place and the offender has a prior conviction, uses a deadly weapon like a gun or knife, or causes the victim great bodily harm, then they will be charged with a felony. Strangulation during domestic violence is also felony battery. Certain instances of felony battery are charged as third-degree felonies. Other instances are known as aggravated battery and lead to second-degree felony charges.
Defending Against Accusations of Battery
If you have been accused of committing simple, aggravated, or felony battery, you need to contact an experienced Kissimmee criminal defense attorney right away. An attorney will thoroughly review your situation and determine your strongest defenses.
An attorney may argue:
- You acted in self-defense or defense of others
- Your actions were consensual
- You lacked intent the intent to cause contact
- You lacked the intent to cause harm or offense
- The victim did not suffer great bodily harm
- You did not use a deadly weapon
- The prosecution lacks evidence to prove the offense occurred beyond a reasonable doubt
A skilled attorney’s defense strategy will focus on exonerating you in court. However, it will also seek to minimize any consequences of a conviction.
Let Our Defense Attorneys Help You
When you are facing allegations of battery, particularly in regard to your profession, you must address them quickly and efficiently. An experienced Kissimmee criminal defense attorney can fight to end this case as soon as possible. If you must go to trial, then we will aggressively argue on your behalf and push for an acquittal. We will help you move on from this situation and retain your professional license, so you can keep working. For more information on how Salazar & Kelly Law Group, P.A. can help, call us at 407-483-0500.