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Domestic Violence in Florida

Florida Statute 741.28 states that Domestic Violence is “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 household member can be “a spouse, 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.”

The statute does not require that the accused and the victim to live together at the time of the alleged battery, so long as they lived together at some point in the past. The only exception to this rule is that people who have a child in common do not have to have a history of cohabitation. Because of the broad definitions of “domestic violence” and “family member,” the possibility of being charged with domestic battery is highly likely if you engage in a physical altercation or similar dispute with someone from your family, a romantic partner, or a former romantic partner.

Consequences of a Domestic Battery Charge

Punishments for a domestic battery charge can include:

  • One year of mandatory probation
  • Up to one year in jail
  • Up to $1,000 in fines
  • Participation in a 29-week Batterer’s Intervention Program
  • Counseling
  • Inability to have the charge sealed or expunged
  • Limits on rights, such as owning a weapon or a concealed carry permit
  • A No-Contact order (injunction)

 

Domestic Violence Injunctions in Florida

An injunction is an order by the court that prevents the accused from having any contact with the victim, and possibly any mutual children. If the court has reason to believe that the victim is in immediate danger or that there is any other reason that waiting for a court hearing would be dangerous for the victim, the court can issue a Temporary Injunction. This type of injunction can be imposed to restrict contact between the accused and the victim without the accused having the opportunity to appear in court. If there is not an immediate danger, the court will hold a hearing where the victim and the accused each present their case and the judge makes a determination as to whether an injunction is necessary, and what restrictions should be included in the injunction.

Florida Statute 741.30 provides the following types of restrictions that can be placed upon the accused via injunction:

  • restraining the respondent from committing any acts of domestic violence
  • awarding exclusive use and possession of the parties’ shared dwelling or excluding the respondent from the petitioner’s residence
  • providing temporary support for minor children or the petitioner until the injunction expires or a civil order affecting child support is entered
  • order the respondent to participate in treatment, intervention, or counseling services, and
  • any other relief that the court deems necessary to protect the victim.

A violation of an injunction can result in one year in jail, similar to a probation violation. You can violate a domestic violence injunction by committing any of the following acts, as outlined in Florida Statutes 741.31 and 775.082:

  • refusing to vacate the dwelling shared by the parties
  • going to or being within 500 feet of the petitioner’s residence, school, place of employment, or a specified place frequented regularly by the petitioner and any named family or household member
  • committing a domestic violence act against the petitioner
  • committing any other violation of the injunction through an intentional unlawful threat, word, or act to commit violence against the petitioner
  • telephoning, contacting, or otherwise communicating with the petitioner either directly or indirectly, except for where the injunction allows indirect communication through a third party
  • coming within 100 feet of the petitioner’s vehicle regardless of whether the vehicle is occupied
  • destroying or defacing the petitioner’s personal property, including the petitioner’s vehicle
  • refusing to surrender firearms or ammunition to the court

 

Why You Should Be Represented by an Attorney

A domestic battery charge will remain on your criminal record for life, which can cost you employment and other opportunities. The immediate punishments, such as jail, can also cost you your job and leave a stigma that you cannot escape from. Many accused individuals find the no-contact order to be the most difficult because it can prevent a father or mother from seeing his or her children for long periods of time.

In 2017, 64781 people were arrested for Domestic Violence in the State of Florida.[1] This number includes arrests for domestic violence incidents of: murder, manslaughter, rape, fondling, aggravated assault, aggravated stalking, simple assault, threat, and stalking. Sometimes a person is arrested for domestic violence as a result of an angry or spiteful spouse who misrepresents the conflict in order to have the accused arrested. If you have been arrested for domestic violence, you should contact a criminal defense attorney who can fight the charge and the injunction, with the ultimate goal of earning you an acquittal for the charge.

 

Hire an Attorney You Can Trust

As an Experienced Public Defender, attorney David Cronin has represented thousands of clients like you in cases ranging from misdemeanor assault to major felony offenses. David Cronin has been practicing law throughout Florida for nearly 20 years- working directly with people who are facing harsh penalties for mistakes they wish they could undo. Hire an attorney who understands your situation and will fight not only to reduce your penalties, but also to uphold your rights, because your rights matter too.

Call (904) 239- 6047 for a free consultation today,  The Law office of David Cronin defends in Duval, Clay, Nassau, and St. John’s counties.

 

[1] Florida Department of Law Enforcement, UCR Domestic Violence (2018), https://www.fdle.state.fl.us/FSAC/Data-Statistics/UCR-Domestic-Violence.aspx.