Under Florida law, Domestic Violence Battery is defined as any actual and intentional touching or striking of another person without consent, or the intentional causing of bodily harm to another person, when the person struck is a “family or household member.”
Under Section 741.28, Florida Statutes, the term ‘family or household member’ can include the following:
Wives and husbands;
Ex-wives and ex-husbands;
Individuals related by blood or marriage;
Individuals living together as a family;
Individuals who have resided together as if a family in the past; and
Persons who have a child in common (regardless of prior marriage).
The statute specifically requires that the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit. The only exception is for persons who have a child in common.
Domestic violence is a serious offense in Florida. If pursued criminally, Domestic Battery is classified as a first degree misdemeanor, with penalties that can include up to one year in jail, twelve months probation, and a fine of up to $1000.00 plus court costs and other penalties frequently imposed.
Due to the ‘domestic’ nature of the crime, the accused will face additional mandatory penalties under Chapter 741, Florida Statutes, including:
- Completion of a Batterer’s Intervention Program(BIP) (unless a showing can be made and the Court finds there is no need or reason in a particular circumstance);
- Mandatory 12 months of probation;
- If a defendant is adjudicated guilty they intentionally caused harm to the victim, there is a minimum mandatory five (5) days of jail; SeeSection 741.283, Florida Statutes;
- Community service hours;
- Loss of important civil liberties;
- Imposition of an injunction or ‘no contact’ order.
If you are charged with a felony based upon choking or strangulation, a weapon being used, the victim being over 65 years of age, if the victim is a pregnant or if the victim suffers serious bodily injury, you can be charged with a felony and may face five (5) or fifteen (15) years in prison depending upon the offense, how it occurs and injury (if someone dies as a result or a firearm is used, the penalties can be even greater). Likewise, a sexual battery or any other offense that would classify you as a “sexual offender” or “sexual predator” would bring additional consequences and the risk of profound prison time.
According to Section 741.28 of the 2016 Florida Statutes, domestic violence means any battery, aggravated battery, assault, aggravated assault, stalking, aggravated stalking, sexual battery, sexual assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping or any criminal offense that causes death or physical injury to one household or family member by another household or family member.
If you are facing domestic violence charges, your first call should be to a criminal defense lawyer. Michael D. Leader is a criminal attorney in Fort Lauderdale who will aggressively represent your interests.
The best approach to your defense depends on the facts of your case. Mr. Leader will try to get your charges dropped or prevent them from being filed when possible and appropriate. If this is not possible, he will fight to defeat the allegations or find a resolution that makes sense for his clients, when possible. Call 954-523-2020 today to schedule a free initial consultation with Leader & Leader P.A.
Who Is Considered a “Family or Household Member?”
As previously mentioned, domestic violence is a crime committed by a household or family member against a household or family member. These include people related by marriage or blood, spouses or former spouses, people who currently reside together as if a family, and those who have resided together in the past as if a family. The term also includes people who have a child together regardless of whether they have been married.
In order to be considered household or family members, the people must currently be residing together or have resided together in the past in the same single dwelling unit. The only exception to this is for parents who have a child together.
What Does It Mean to Violate “an Injunction for Protection against Domestic Violence?”
In some cases, the court will grant an injunction for protection against domestic violence. If you willfully violate this injunction, you could face serious consequences.
Depending on the facts of your case, you may be found to have violated an injunction for protection against domestic violence if:
- You refused to vacate the dwelling that you shared with the alleged domestic violence victim;
- You visited the petitioner’s school, place of employment, residence or a specified location where the petitioner or any named household or family member goes regularly;
- You committed domestic violence against the petitioner;
- You committed another violation of the injunction through an intentional unlawful act, word or threat to commit violence against the petitioner;
- You communicated with the petitioner indirectly or directly, unless the injunction allows indirect contact through a third party;
- You intentionally and knowingly came within 100 feet of the petitioner’s motor vehicle;
- You destroyed or defaced property of the petitioner; or
You refused to surrender ammunition or firearms after the court ordered you to do so.
Civil Domestic Violence injunctions are very serious and are often permanently issued. If you learn that someone is seeking an injunction against you or you have been served you should contact legal counsel immediately and seek representation. The consequences of a civil injunction can be serious and follow you for life! Furthermore, if may allow someone to make your life very difficult and subject you to repeated arrest if they claim you have violated the injunction. Many times, the mere allegation can be enough to get you arrested and you are often not given the benefit of the doubt because you already have the injunction.
Claims of domestic violence are often abused by people in divorce or child custody cases, estranged ex-girlfriends/boyfriends and/or spouses, another parent of your child or people facing immigration issues.
If you are facing charges for domestic violence or for violating an injunction for protection against domestic violence, contact Leader & Leader P.A. Call 954-523-2020 to schedule a consultation with a criminal defense lawyer in Fort Lauderdale.