The Board of Immigration appeals recently issued a published decision that may answer once and for all with a resounding NO, the question: “is Battery in Florida a Crime of Violence?” That’s right, the Florida crime of Battery, Florida Statute § 784.03, which requires that someone actually and intentionally touch or strike another person or intentionally cause bodily harm to that person, is probably not a crime of violence in immigration law. That means that it is probably never an aggravated felony crime of violence under INA § 101(a)(43)(F), and may never be a crime of domestic violence under INA § 237(a)(2)(E)(i).
This decision also means that other more serious Florida battery crimes, including Felony Battery based upon a prior Battery Conviction, Fla. Stat. § 784.03(2), Aggravated Battery on a Pregnant Victim, Fla. Stat. § 784.045(1)(b), Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer, Fla. Stat. § 784.07, and Battery on a Elderly or Disabled Person, Fla. Stat. § 784.08, are all likely not crimes that can get you deported. That is because each of these crimes is based upon the same language from the simple battery statute.
A bit of background on the statute first so that you can understand the history of the changes in the law effecting the battery statute. In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court in a case called Johnson v. United States, 130 S.Ct. 1265 (2010), determined that the first part of Florida’s battery statute, the part about touching another person against their will, is not a crime of violence. That is because you can be convicted of battery in Florida without actually using any violent physical force to commit the crime. Rather, you can simply touch someone against their will.