Felony Battery Charges For Woman In Key West, FL “Zombie Ride” Incident
An Australian tourist is facing serious charges after officials allege she attacked a rider in the annual Zombie Bike Ride along Duval Street in Key West, Florida. According to a report in the Miami Herald, witnesses said the 32-year-old woman was intoxicated when she shoved the victim off her bike and onto the street. Police reported that the accused woman was so drunk she doesn’t remember the incident, which took place on October 22, 2017. Under the circumstances, authorities arrested the tourist for Felony Battery, which is one of several Florida crimes that take the victim’s age into account. While you should always consult with an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney for details on your case, some general information may be useful.
Florida Law Distinguishes Among Various Types of Battery
In general, a person commits battery if he or she strikes another individual without consent. However, the stakes are higher when the victim is an elderly person. Florida law provides that, when a person is charged with committing certain types of assault or battery upon an individual aged 65 or older, the crime is reclassified. Therefore:
- Aggravated battery goes from a Second Degree Felony to First Degree Felony;
- Aggravated assault is now a Second Degree Felony, instead of a Third Degree Felony as when committed against a person younger than 65 years old;
- A battery crime moves up from a First Degree Misdemeanor to a Third Degree Felony; and,
- An assault upon an elderly person becomes a First Degree Misdemeanor, rather than a Second Degree Misdemeanor.
Note that knowledge of the victim’s age is irrelevant for assault and battery crimes against an elderly person. A prosecutor does not need to prove that you knew or had reason to know the victim was 65 years or older to obtain a conviction.
Battery on an Elderly Person is a Third Degree Felony
In the case of the Australian tourist, a conviction may result in:
- A prison sentence up to five years;
- Five years on probation; and,
- A maximum fine of $5,000.
However, this type of crime falls under Florida’s mandatory minimum sentencing structure. A judge must order a sentence of at least 19 months in prison, unless circumstances warrant a downward departure.
For the more serious offenses of aggravated assault and aggravated battery, the mandatory minimum sentence is three years; plus, the offender may be required to pay restitution and perform community service work.
Consult with a Skilled Florida Criminal Lawyer About Your Defense Options
Even with severe charges like battery involving an elderly person, you do have options to present a defense to the crime. In addition, you may qualify for a downward departure, which could reduce your penalties in the case of a mandatory minimum sentence. The key is retaining a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer to fight for your rights. For more information, please contact the office of Kevin J. Kulik in Fort Lauderdale, FL. With more than 30 years of experience representing clients in criminal matters, our attorneys can develop a strong defense strategy to protect your interests.