When we think about domestic violence or domestic battery, it’s likely that the first thing to come to mind is an altercation between a couple or two people in a romantic relationship. However, you can be charged with domestic violence if you have a violent altercation with a sibling or a relative. Although some siblings roughhouse and argue, it may escalate to a physical incident. If the police are called, you might be arrested for a domestic battery.
In this brief article, a Pinellas County domestic battery lawyer with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan shares what to do if you are charged with domestic battery or violence against a sibling or other housemate.
Can Siblings be Charged with Domestic Battery?
The simple answer to this question is yes. Under Florida Statute 741.28, domestic violence is any assault, battery, sexual assault, or other criminal offense resulting in the injury or death of a family or household member by another family or household member. Notice the definition is not confined to those engaging in a romantic relationship, partnership, or marriage. For this reason, two siblings can be charged with domestic violence. Note that this is the case even if the siblings have separate residences.
To take this definition a step further, let’s look at domestic battery. Domestic battery is defined as the actual and intentional touching, striking, or causing of bodily harm to another family or household member without their consent. Notice again the wording “family OR household member.”
If you are facing charges of domestic battery due to an altercation with a sibling or other family member, it is important to understand that this is still just as serious a charge as those who are accused of violence against a romantic partner or spouse. You might be thinking “I am not a spouse abuser. This charge can’t hurt me” — but you would be wrong. Future jobs will see that you have domestic battery on your record because it can’t be expunged, and you may face mandatory jail time if there is an injury involved and you are convicted.
Contact a Pinellas County Domestic Battery Attorney
If you are facing charges of domestic battery, no matter the circumstances, it is important to obtain legal representation as soon as possible. In the state of Florida, domestic battery is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor with penalties that may include up to one year in jail or twelve months probation, in addition to a $1,000 fine. This sentence increases accordingly if the crime of domestic violence has taken place in the presence of a family or household member under 16 years of age AND there is an injury:
- A minimum of 15 days for a first offense
- A minimum of 20 days for a second offense
- A minimum of 30 days for a third or subsequent offense
We strongly recommend consulting a Pinellas County domestic battery attorney with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan to discuss the best defense for your situation. Our team can review the specifics of your case to determine the course of action that’s best for you.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.