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How Much Jail Time Will I Get If Convicted Of Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a serious offense that can result in significant consequences. However, Florida law on the subject is confusing; the way the relevant statute is worded, it may appear as though no jail time is required upon conviction. In reality, almost everyone convicted of a crime of domestic violence will serve time behind bars – the length of time depends on the underlying offense.
No True “Domestic Violence” Offense Exists
Florida’s law defines domestic violence broadly; it does not exist as a crime in itself, but as a sort of status. Any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death to a “family or household member” of the alleged perpetrator will fall under that umbrella. However, this does not mean that crimes of domestic violence will all have the same sentence, or even that they will all have sentences along the same continuum. Domestic violence is used as a sentencing enhancement of sorts, rather than as a charge in itself.
If one examines the statute, they can see that the minimum jail sentence for a crime of domestic violence is 10 days for a first offense, increased by 50 percent each time. However, the law explicitly does not preclude a convicted person from being sentenced to “probation, community control, or an additional period of incarceration.” In other words, the ‘domestic violence’ part of a sentence may be minimal, but the underlying offense, such as battery or kidnapping, can add on months and years.
Additional Consequences May Be Ordered
While the standard sentence for most crimes is spending time behind bars, it is important to keep in mind that other consequences might be appropriate as well, depending on the specific circumstances of your case. For example, a domestic violence conviction in Florida means that you will be required to attend a batterers’ intervention course (at your own expense), plus serve one year of probation.
Even after you have served your sentence, there can also be long-term consequences for such an offense. In Florida, a domestic violence crime cannot be expunged from one’s criminal record, and thus, future landlords and employers can see the offense if a background check is performed. It can also affect a person’s ability to legally possess a firearm, and, if convicted of a felony, the right to vote itself.
Contact A West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Attorney
If you have been charged with a crime of domestic violence in Florida, it is crucial that you understand the potential stakes at hand. A West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney from the firm of Perlet & Shiner, P.A. can help protect your rights. Call our office at 561-721-0552 to speak to an attorney today.