In the State of Florida, a charge of domestic violence is broadly defined. It includes assault and battery, and also sex crimes, kidnapping, stalking and false imprisonment. When one of these crimes is committed by a family member or household member against another family or household member, it is defined as a domestic violence charge. This crime is prosecuted throughout the State of Florida. A conviction for domestic violence battery and other domestic violence charges will also come with mandatory increased penalties and other consequences.
Assault is defined as an intentional, unlawful threat (by word or act) to do violence to a person, plus the apparent ability to do so. Doing any act that creates a well founded fear in another person that such violence is imminent according to Florida Statutes §784.011.
Battery is defined as any type of actual and intentional touching or striking another person without consent, or the intentional cause of bodily harm to another person. Florida Statute §784.03.
Aggravated assault and aggravated battery are both felony charges. They may be charged if the acts of violence are severe. If the person who is assaulted or struck is a family or household member it is then considered a domestic violence case.
Florida Statutes define a family or household member as:
- Wives and husbands, including ex-wives and ex-husbands
- Persons related by blood or marriage
- Persons living together as a family
- Persons who have resided together as a family in the past
- Persons who have a child in common
This definition is critical, because if you plea to domestic battery, you cannot seal the case, even if adjudication was withheld. Therefore, it is crucial to determine if it is domestic, and if it can be dropped or negotiated to another charge.
The Penalties for Domestic Violence:
Domestic Violence Battery is a first degree misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail or 12 months of probation plus a $1,000 fine. Because this crime is domestic in nature, there are serious penalties that the accused will face:
- 12 months of probation
- Batterer’s Intervention Program (26-week course)
- Impositions of No Contact Order
- Community Service Hours
Federal law also imposes additional consequences for domestic violence crimes.
The Importance of Hiring a Qualified and Experienced Defense Attorney
Domestic Violence Battery and other domestic violence charges are serious offenses with very severe consequences for the accused. There are numerous defenses and strategies available to avoid a conviction.
If you, or someone you know, have been accused of a domestic violence related crime, contact the office of Janet Johnson 24/7, to review your options and get immediate help. 904-634-8991