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. 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. In this article, we’ll provide a brief overview of everything you need to know about domestic violence battery in Florida, including respective penalties and ways to have these charges reduced.
If you have been accused of domestic violence battery, reaching out to a criminal defense attorney in St. Petersburg with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan will be your best bet at having your charges dropped, amended, or diverted prior to trial. You should never attempt to resolve your case without first consulting a qualified and experienced attorney to discuss your legal options.
Domestic Battery Carries Mandatory Sentences
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. For example, if you are found guilty of domestic violence and have intentionally caused bodily harm to another person, then the court shall order the following sentences:
- A minimum of 10 days in the county jail for a first offense
- A minimum of 15 days for a second offense
- A minimum of 20 days for a third or subsequent offense as part of the sentence opposed
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:
- 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
Due to the domestic nature of the crime, the accused will also face additional mandatory penalties including but not limited to completion of a Batterer’s Intervention Program, imposition of a No Contact Order, community service hours, and loss of important civil liberties, including the permanent loss of the right to own, use, or possess a firearm.
Related: What Is a No Contact Order?
Just Because You Were Arrested Doesn’t Mean You’ll Be Convicted
There are several possible defenses in domestic battery cases. You should never make the decision to plead guilty without a criminal defense attorney in Clearwater first thoroughly evaluating your case and reviewing all of your legal options. Some of the most common defenses to domestic battery charges include:
- Factual disputes: It’s not unheard of or even uncommon for an angry spouse to “get back” at their former significant other with false allegations of domestic violence. A criminal defense attorney will comb through the facts surrounding the underlying incident of your case and expose any inaccuracies or inconsistencies in the alleged victim’s account that may have been missed by police.
- Self-defense: In Florida, self-defense is an affirmative defense used to justify an otherwise unlawful violent act. If you can prove that your use of force was reasonably necessary to repel another family or household member’s imminent violence, then you may be found not guilty.
- Failure to Prove the Case Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: If the prosecutor is not capable of proving their case beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury, then seeking a verdict of not guilty is appropriate. In this situation, your attorney will determine whether you made a statement at the scene and confirm the existence of physical evidence, if any.
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.