In Florida alone, there are well over 60,000 domestic violence-related arrests each year. While not all of these arrests result in further legal action, domestic violence charges are something that should be taken very seriously. Domestic violence charges can result in probation and jail time.
If you’re currently facing a domestic violence charge, it’s important to get an idea of what you expect. Read here to learn what you should know if you’ve been charged with domestic violence in Florida.
How Is Domestic Violence Defined in Florida?
Most people think of domestic violence as two people in a romantic relationship who have had a physical altercation, however, state laws in Florida have a much more detailed definition of the crime.
According to the Florida State Statutes, domestic violence (ss. 741.28-741.31) ‘means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.’
A 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.’
What Are The Penalties For Domestic Violence in Florida?
The penalties for domestic violence can vary and this crime can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the severity of the situation and the defendant’s history. These penalties can include:
- Probation (up to 12 months)
- Jail time
- A mandatory batterers’ intervention program (BIP)
- Community service
- A no-contact order with the victim
- Limited firearm rights
A person who is convicted of domestic violence with the intention of causing bodily harm will be required to serve a minimum of five days in county jail.
Florida state law also prohibits anyone who has been convicted of domestic violence from having their record sealed or expunged.
What To Do If You’re Facing Domestic Violence Charges in Florida
If you’re in the Tampa Bay area and are dealing with a domestic violence charge, the first thing you should do is contact an attorney. Working with a legal professional will allow you to understand your rights and give you an idea of what to expect if your case goes to trial.
Criminal defense attorney, Daniel J. Fernandez, can provide a free consultation and discuss your situation. If you need legal assistance call Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Daniel J. Fernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez at 813-229-5353.