Domestic violence is defined by the Florida Statute 741.28, as “any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.”
A household member can be a spouse (or former spouse), individuals related by blood or marriage, people who reside together as a family (or who have resided together in the past), and people who are parents of a child in common.
Acts Covered Under Domestic Violence Criminal Laws
In general, any violent crime could be considered domestic violence, but it is the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim that is the defining characteristic. There are, however, some crimes that tend to occur more often than others when it comes to domestic violence:
- Sexual assault
Domestic violence battery in Florida is considered a first-degree misdemeanor, which can lead to a potential jail sentence of one year and a fine of up to $1,000.
Additionally to the penalties previously described, a Domestic Battery conviction also results in a minimum mandatory five days in jail if any injury was caused, and mandatory completion of a 29-week Batterers Intervention Program (a six-month intensive program designed to address the root cause of domestic violence and prevent participants from committing such acts in the future).
Furthermore, if convicted of Domestic Battery, people are not eligible to have a criminal record sealed or expunged, with no exceptions, and any weapons permit would be revoked.
In the State of Florida, victims are allowed to petition for an injunction for protection against domestic violence. An injunction is an order of protection that restrains a household member from being in the same vicinity as the victim.
With an injunction, the perpetrator is legally obligated to stay away from the victim´s home, school, work, and vehicle. They cannot return to a shared home, make contact with the victim, even through a third party.
If the perpetrator violates the domestic violence injunction, they will probably face a first-degree misdemeanor charge.
Defense Against Domestic Violence.
Unfortunately, in some cases, spouses use false or inflated claims of domestic violence. However, in Florida, domestic violence battery is a defendable charge, with the most common defenses being:
- Absence of injuries
- Vindictive victim
- Factual disputes about the underlying incident
Consider that depending on the circumstances, one case can vary greatly from another, thereby producing different outcomes. A diligent attorney is needed to work against the long-term consequences of domestic abuse allegations. If you or a loved one has been accused of Domestic Violence, call the Spatz Law Firm, PL at 305-442-0200 to discuss your case with Russell Spatz, an experienced domestic violence defense attorney.