Domestic Violence Penalties in Florida
St. Petersburg / Clearwater Domestic Battery Lawyers
Effective July 1, 2001 Florida Statutes require the court to impose a mandatory minimum sentence of five days in the county jail as part of the domestic violence penalties for anyone convicted of a domestic violence offense in which the victim was injured in any way. (Florida Statute 741.283)
Enhancement to Felony Charges
Under Florida law, if you have been previously convicted or received a “withhold of adjudication” for domestic violence, simple battery, aggravated battery, or felony battery, then a new charge of domestic violence will be treated as a felony. (Florida Statue 784.03(2)).
Anger Management Counseling
Florida Statutes 948.03(12) provides that anyone convicted of domestic violence must attend and successfully complete a Batterers Intervention Program as a condition of probation or house arrest. The probationary period, by law, must last a minimum of one year. (Florida Statute 741.281) In Pinellas County, this program consists of twenty-six consecutive weeks of counseling, instruction, and supervision at the Defendant’s expense.
The Lautenberg Act (18 USC Section 921) enacted by the United States Congress in 1996 makes it a federal criminal offense to own, use, or possess a firearm after you have been convicted of domestic violence.
Suspension of Concealed Weapons Permits
If you have a concealed weapons permit, and you are arrested for domestic violence, your privilege to carry a concealed weapon will be subject to immediate suspension. (Florida Statute 790.06(3)) If you are caught carrying a concealed weapon at a time that your permit is under suspension, you risk being charged with a felony offense that carries penalties of up to five years in state prison.
No Further Contact with Victim
A conviction for domestic violence may provide a sufficient legal basis for the issuance of a permanent restraining order. (Florida Statute 741.30(1)(a)) Such a restraining order will often include a restriction prohibiting you from returning to the residence previously shared with the alleged victim. (Florida Statute 741.2902) Any subsequent violation of the restraining order may not only subject you to contempt of court proceedings, but also prosecution for a new criminal offense. (Florida Statute 741.31) If your release from the Pinellas County Jail includes a “No Contact With Victim” condition, your subsequent direct or indirect contact with the victim will cause a revocation of your R.O.R. status or a revocation of the bond that you previously posted. This will typically result in your immediate incarceration within the Pinellas County Jail with a “no bond” status. Contrary to popular belief, this holds true even if the alleged victim initiates the contact. (Florida Statute 903.047) Such contact with the victim may also form the basis of a new additional criminal charge despite the absence of any physical violence. Florida Statute 741.29(6)
Prohibition Against Sealing or Expungement
If you are convicted of domestic violence, your record of arrest and conviction cannot be sealed or expunged. (Florida Statute 943.0585; 943.059; 907.041(4)(a)(19)) Accordingly, your arrest andconviction records would remain open to the public and could jeopardize personal relationships, employment opportunities, and even your reputation within the community.
Have a St. Petersburg / Clearwater Defense Attorney on Your Side
Given the serious domestic violence penalties associated with this crime, you need the help and advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney. We can formulate a strategy that is designed to deal with your charge constructively in an effort to avoid any potential negative consequences. Visit our main Domestic Battery page for possible solutions that might include:
- Getting the Charge Dropped
- Getting Back into Your Home
- Getting the Charge Dismissed
- Avoiding Conviction