In 2019, 105,298 crimes of domestic violence were reported to Florida law enforcement agencies resulting in 66,069 arrests, according to recent data provided by the Florida Department of Children and Families. If you’re part of the more than 66,000 arrested and charged with a domestic battery, it can be incredibly frustrating and confusing when you don’t know your rights.
In this brief article, a St. Petersburg defense attorney with our team at Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan shares helpful information to help you navigate a domestic battery charge.
What is Domestic Battery?
Before you can understand the best defense for your case, it’s important to break down the definition of domestic violence (sometimes called domestic assault) and domestic battery. The two are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to two separate concepts.
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, on the other hand, is defined as the actual and intentional touching, striking, or causing of bodily harm to another family or household member without their consent. For example, if you strike your spouse during a fight, you may be charged with domestic battery. The important factor here is intent — if you meant to touch or strike the person against their will, despite the lack of any injury, you may nevertheless be charged or convicted of Domestic Battery.
Who Is Legally a “Family Member” or “Household Member”?
Household members don’t always have to include spouses. In fact, it can include children, siblings, or anyone else residing in the home. According to Florida Statute Chapter 741, family or household members are legally defined as:
“Family or household member” means spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married. With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit.
Can You Fight a Domestic Battery Charge?
You may have several defenses to consider to help you fight your domestic battery charge. However, it should be noted that you should never make the decision to plead guilty without a criminal defense attorney in St. Petersburg who will first thoroughly evaluate your case and review all of your legal options. It’s also important to have an attorney present when questioned by authorities, even if you have not been formally charged. Many domestic battery cases involve “he-said she-said” allegations. An experienced defense attorney can properly evaluate whether you may be able to raise a claim of self-defense, any credibility issues of the alleged victim, possible alibi defenses, or whether a defense of accident or mistake is available..
Contact one of our experienced attorneys to discuss your legal options today.
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.