Father Beats Daughter’s Boyfriend with Baseball Bat: Aggravated Battery or Justified Defense of Others?

baseball-bat-toy-990124-mWhen Jimmy Morris discovered that his daughter’s boyfriend had beaten her bloody in front of her children, Mr, Morris took matters into his own hands before police arrived.  Witnesses who were present at the scene reported that Morris took a baseball bat from his truck and hit his daughter’s abusive boyfriend with enough force to crack the bat.  Top Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers immediately begin to think of ways to defend against potential aggravated battery charges after hearing the facts in this case.  Morris’ best hope of a legal defense lies in the principle of self defense, which includes defense of others, being applied to Morris’ case.  So what is the likelihood that Morris could be saved by the principles of self defense?

Under Florida law, a battery is simply a harmful or offensive touching of another; this offense is a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to one (1) year in jail.  Section 784.045 elevates a simple battery offense up to aggravated battery  when great harm is done to the victim, when the victim is permanently disfigured or disabled, or when the defendant uses a deadly weapon; aggravated battery is a second degree that can land a defendant in prison for up to fifteen (15) years.  Whether an object is a deadly weapon depends on the way that it is used.  Taking a bat to an individual’s head is absolutely enough to qualify the bat as a deadly weapon.

Applying a self defense theory to Morris’ defense may prove difficult in this situation.  Self defense does not mean what I’ve found that the average person thinks it means.  You hit me– I hit you back.  Or in Morris’ case… You hit my daughter– I crack your skull.  Self defense (or defense of others) applies when a certain amount of reasonable force is used to stop unlawful force from being used against you (or the person you’re defending).  Simplified, it boils down to what needs to be done to get the attacker off you or someone else while the attack is happening.  Hitting his daughter’s boyfriend after the boyfriend beat her, rather than while he was attacking her, creates a problem.  In addition to timing being important, the amount of force that is used is equally important.  Justified use of force deals with using a reasonable amount of force.  Typically, this means returning the amount of or type of force that is used against you or the person you are defending.  Mr. Morris introduced a deadly weapon to the fight when there were no reports of a weapon being used by his daughter’s boyfriend, which could land Morris in hot water.

Hiring the right criminal defense lawyer who will keep in mind best possible outcome under the circumstances is always a good starting point in any criminal case. Sound advice built on knowledge and experience is a defendant’s best friend when facing criminal charges. Perhaps a better strategy in Morris’ circumstances can be found in working with the State to mitigate the situation as much as possible.  An attorney that has enough experience to know what to do and when to do it is an invaluable asset.  Our experienced criminal lawyers at the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC bring this knowledge and experience to the table.  Put our experience to work for you or a loved one.  Initial consultations are always free.  Call us today at (904) 685-1200 to schedule your consultation.


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