Domestic violence is a classification of charges versus a direct charge. Under Florida law, a domestic violence charge may be lodged if specific persons feel threatened. FL Statutes 2002 Section 741.28 defines domestic violence as “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.” The statutes further define household or family member as anyone related by blood or marriage and include those who have lived together in the past, parents who have a child regardless of whether they have lived together or not.
Divorces and Domestic Violence
Oftentimes, during breakups including divorce, one party will file a charge of domestic violence against their partner. In some cases, spouses or partners argue over something simple like car keys and one partner strikes back and shoves the other, throws a drink at them or continues to accelerate the disagreement resulting in a prolonged shouting match. While none of these situations may seem terribly serious, each can lead to domestic violence charges.
Charges and Penalties
Those who are charged with domestic violence will have to surrender their Florida concealed carry permit and turn over any firearms they may legally own. If a defendant is found guilty, they will lose the right to ever possess a firearm again and will not be able to obtain a concealed carry permit. In addition, those who are found guilty will be required to complete a Batterers Intervention Program which could last as long as 26 weeks. At a minimum anyone found guilty will be sentenced to a five-day jail stay if the judge determines the victim suffered any bodily harm.
When Victims Do Not Press Charges
Under Florida law, once a complaint of domestic violence has been lodged, the victim need not do anything to follow through. The State Attorney’s Office will follow through with the charges regardless of the wishes of the victim. That means defendants could be removed from their home, lose contact with their children and face additional charges if they return to their home.
Defending against these charges is imperative because a guilty finding will have long-term consequences. In some cases, we have found defendants could not have committed an offense because they were not in the house and in other cases, we have found that the victim was actually the person who accelerated the situation and laid hands upon the defendant. Either way, working with a criminal defense attorney is the best way to ensure your rights are protected in court.
Domestic violence is a classification and charges could include assault, assault and battery or battery charges among others. Anyone facing charges that could lead to a domestic violence classification is urged to contact a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney who has experience handling these types of cases.