Understanding Florida’s domestic battery laws are essential if you or someone you know has been charged with this crime. But it can be challenging to fully understand the legal ramifications of domestic violence battery in Florida if you’re just reading the laws themselves.
That’s why we’ve put together this article. It answers the question, “what is domestic violence in Florida” in a straightforward way so that you can quickly find the information that you need.
What Is Considered Battery Domestic Violence in Florida?
To understand what domestic battery is, we first need to review what battery in general means. Battery is a physical act that results in harmful or offensive contact with another person without that person’s consent.
Domestic battery is a specific type of battery. It occurs when the act of battery is committed by someone against a member of either their family or their household.
Who Is Subject to Domestic Violence Charges?
Aggravated battery domestic violence in Florida can only occur when the action giving rise to the charge happens between individuals with a particular relationship to one another.
A person can be subject to a domestic violence charge in Florida if the person they commit battery against is their:
- Spouse or former spouse
- Live-in partner
- Parent of a shared child
- Family member
- In-law or step relative
What Actions Are Considered Domestic Violence?
Battery domestic violence in Florida charges also only exists if specific actions are committed. These include each of the following:
- Aggravated assault
- Domestic battery by strangulation
- Aggravated battery
- Sexual battery
- Aggravated stalking
- False imprisonment
- Other criminal offenses that result in the death or injury of a family or household member
To sum it up, there needs to be both a special relationship between the victim and perpetrator and a certain action for a domestic violence charge in Florida to stick.
Florida Domestic Battery Laws
Domestic battery in Florida is governed by statute 741.28. It lays out the requirements for a domestic battery case and the punishment for individuals who commit the crime.
The law classifies domestic battery as a 1st-degree misdemeanor. The penalties can include up to 1 year in jail or 12 months of probation and a $1,000 fine. But the specific penalties that a person faces for this crime can vary based on their unique situation.
What Is the Sentence for Domestic Battery in Florida
A person’s sentence for domestic battery in Florida may depend on whether this is their first offense or not. Charges can also vary based on the significance of the crime and the severity of the injury.
There is no mandatory minimum sentence for someone who commits domestic battery in Florida. Some prosecutors will offer defendants the opportunity to complete a pre-trial plea agreement.
Your first offense often doesn’t include jail time. But it does carry other consequences, such as entering into the domestic violence pre-trial intervention program and having a lifelong criminal record.
Prosecutors are typically much less lenient on repeat domestic battery offenders. If a person commits this crime multiple times, they face a higher probability of going to jail for a period of time.
Florida law also establishes certain mandatory penalties due to this crime’s ‘domestic’ nature. These include:
- Minimum of 5-days in jail for a guilty plea if an injury occurred
- Completion of a 26-day battery intervention program
- 12 months of probation
- Community service hours
- Loss of civil liberties like the right to carry a concealed firearm
- Imposition of a no-contact order
Statute of Limitations for Domestic Violence in Florida
The statute of limitations for domestic violence in Florida depends on the way that the crime is classified:
- 1st-degree misdemeanors have a 2-year statute of limitations
- 2nd-degree misdemeanors have a 1-year statute of limitations
- 3rd-degree misdemeanors felonies have a 3-year statute of limitations
Defenses for Domestic Battery in Florida
Even when a domestic battery has been committed, there are some scenarios in which the perpetrator may not be held liable for their actions. Successful defenses for domestic battery in Florida can include:
- Defense of property and standing your ground
- Defense of others and self-defense
- Allegations not being corroborated by the evidence
- Absence of injuries
- Vindictive victim
If you think that one of these defenses would apply to your case, it’s best to reach out to an attorney. They can help you establish a defense that limits or eliminates your liability for domestic battery.
Can Domestic Battery Charges Be Dropped?
Sometimes arguments can get out of hand. During these arguments, the events that transpire may not always be symptomatic of more serious problems.
When this happens, a victim who initially asked for domestic battery charges to be filed may wish to drop the case at a later date.
However, Florida law doesn’t allow a victim to drop domestic battery charges on their own. Why? Because the court system wants to make sure that victims are protected above all else. And a person may be pressured into dropping the charges if they still live with their perpetrator.
That being said, courts will consider the victim’s input. If the injuries sustained aren’t severe and a judge is convinced that further domestic battery is unlikely to occur, they may agree to drop the charges.
How A Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
A criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the entire legal process around a domestic battery case. They can work with you to establish a fact pattern, negotiate with the prosecution, and file pre-trial motions.
If it comes to it, a criminal defense attorney can also ensure that you have a strong advocate during your trial. They can even help you get ready for your trial to increase your chances of a positive outcome.
If you’re looking for a criminal defense attorney in Pinellas County, Florida, Golden Key Law Group, PLLC can help. We have years of experience handling cases like yours and know what it takes to create a successful case.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation.