A 48-year-old Fruitland Park man is charged with battery on a person over 65 and criminal mischief after he allegedly hit his 71-year-old girlfriend and damaged her vehicle.

The woman claims she had just finished dinner with the man at a Leesburg restaurant when she decided to go somewhere else with a friend. The man apparently became angry and allegedly threw a can of hairspray at the woman’s car windshield, cracking it.

The woman told police the man kicked her passenger side door, denting it, and then pulled the door open so hard he dented the fender. He allegedly dented the hood, which apparently increased the total damage to the car to equal more than $1,000.

The woman claims that once they arrived home, the man threw his shoes at her and ripped her nightgown.

Deputies arrived at the scene after receiving a call from the woman’s daughter, who told police her mother called to inform her she was being battered.

Deputies placed the man under arrest, and once inside the patrol car, police claim the man began yelling and kicking the security cage several times. The man was apparently restrained, but allegedly continued to yell and knee the cage.

He remains in the Lake County jail with bail set at $6,000.

Police, prosecutors and judges view violent crimes, like battery as serious offenses. Battery charges can vary in degree from a simple misdemeanor all the way up to felony charges. Whether the charge is a misdemeanor or felony, the State tends to take a tough stance on any violent crime. With that said, most battery crimes tend to rely on one person’s recount of the events versus another’s. Law enforcement officers often have a difficult time trying to interpret conflicting stories in these cases. Unfortunately, police usually base their decision on who to charge with the offense on which party contacted the police first.

Various factors can elevate a battery charge from a misdemeanor to a felony, including:

  • The level of injury to the victim
  • The type of weapon used, if any
  • The type of victim
  • The defendant’s previous battery convictions

Battery on a person over the age of 65 is classified as a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. Florida legislature mandates that any person convicted of aggravated battery or assault upon a person over the age of 65 is subject to a minimum incarceration period of three years and is obligated to pay a fine of up to $10,000. In order to prove the crime of battery, prosecutors must prove that the accused intentionally touched or delivered a physical blow to another person against his or her will, or purposely caused great bodily harm.

If you have been charged with an assault, battery or any other violent crime in Marion, Lake or Sumter County, contact The Villages Criminal Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton online or call 352-369-5334.