Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
West Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer / Blog / Criminal Defense / Can A Crime Of Domestic Violence Be A Misdemeanor?

Can A Crime Of Domestic Violence Be A Misdemeanor?


Domestic violence, also called intimate partner violence, is justifiably seen as a serious offense in Florida. However, the seriousness of such a crime does not always translate into felony convictions for those found guilty of this type of offense. If you have been charged with a domestic violence offense, it is possible that even if you are found guilty, you may come away with a misdemeanor sentence as opposed to a felony, depending on the specific facts of your situation.

Many DV Offenses Are Misdemeanors Generally 

Under Florida law, no specific crime of domestic violence exists. Rather, the term functions as a kind of umbrella for any criminal offense that results in “physical injury or death” to a specific class of victim – generally a “family or household member” of the alleged perpetrator’s. Thus, if a crime fits this profile and yet does not rise to the level of a felony offense, a domestic violence misdemeanor can exist.

Many common crimes that fall under the umbrella of domestic violence are, in fact, misdemeanors in the normal course of events: for example, assault, battery, and stalking may all be prosecuted as misdemeanors, punishable by up to 1 year in jail, plus fines and any assorted court costs. Domestic violence battery is by far the most common IPV-related crime in Florida, which can be anything from a shove to a knock-down, drag-out physical fight.

Domestic Violence As Sentence Enhancement

While misdemeanor domestic violence charges are common, it is worth it to keep in mind that in many cases, the presence of a domestic violence factor can act as a sentencing enhancement, turning what would normally be misdemeanor charges into felonies. For example, Florida law defines false imprisonment as a third-degree felony in most cases – if perpetrated as a crime of domestic violence, that factor may result in the defendant being charged with a second-degree felony instead.

If you have been charged with domestic violence, obviously the end goal is to avoid a sentence at all. A knowledgeable attorney can help to protect your rights and represent your interests – but it is worth it to keep in mind that a lesser sentence is much easier to manage than a greater one. Legal help can make all the difference.

Contact A West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Attorney

If you have been charged with domestic violence in Florida, you deserve your day in court, and a West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney from Perlet & Shiner, P.A. can help ensure that you get to tell your side of the story. Contact our office today at (561) 721-0552 to speak to an attorney.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn