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West Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer / Blog / Criminal Defense / Misconceptions About Florida Domestic Violence

Misconceptions About Florida Domestic Violence


Statistics from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement show that in 2019, approximately 105,000 domestic violence-related offenses were reported in the state, with countless more almost certainly going unreported. Yet despite its prevalence, there are many misconceptions about how domestic violence crimes are treated under Florida law. If you have been charged with a domestic violence offense, it is crucial that you understand the position you are in and not be taken in by misinformation.

Covers Many Offenses

Perhaps the most enduring misconception about domestic violence crimes in Florida is that a person can only be charged with one if they attack or harm their spouse. Historically, this was often the case, but Florida’s domestic violence definition is much further-reaching than that. The state defines domestic violence as any criminal offense that results in physical injury or death to a “family or household member,” perpetrated by another family or household member. A family or household member can be a spouse – but it can also be an ex-spouse, a person related to you by blood or marriage, or several other categories of people.

In addition, while most people think domestic violence is its own crime, Florida’s laws do not specify a single crime of domestic violence. Rather, if someone is charged with a domestic violence offense, they are charged with the underlying crime – for example, assault, battery, kidnapping, or stalking – and the existence of domestic factors act as a sentencing enhancement of sorts if they are found guilty. A jail sentence may be longer, or the fines assessed may be more expensive.

Who And How

Other myths or misconceptions surrounding domestic violence offenses tend to revolve around who allegedly commits them. There is still a lingering perception, for example, that women never commit domestic violence offenses, when in reality, data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that men report female perpetrators of domestic violence offenses in statistically significant amounts. That said, it is relevant to note that many instances of domestic violence in the LGBTQ+ community go unreported, and the percentages of who allegedly victimizes whom may be skewed.

Perhaps the most important misconception is that the lack of visible injuries on an alleged domestic violence victim does not mean they are lying about the treatment they have experienced. If you have been involved in an incident of domestic violence, but inflicted no visible injury to your victim, this will not get you off the hook. While the statute does require “physical injury or death,” this does not mean that the injury has to be readily apparent.

Contact A West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Attorney

If you have been involved in an incident of domestic violence, it is crucial that you be aware of the serious charges you are facing. A West Palm Beach criminal attorney from the firm of Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A. can help to ensure your rights are protected in court, and to make sure your side of the story is heard. Call our office today to speak to an attorney.



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