In Florida, violent crimes are punished very severely. The penalties for such crimes, including domestic violence, can be steep and may lead to jail time, costly fines, a damaged reputation, and it could seriously hurt your relationships with your family members. If you were arrested for domestic violence, or you have been accused of domestic violence, it’s important to understand what you’re up against. In order to prepare for your case, make sure you know the potential penalties for domestic violence crimes in Florida.
Defining Domestic Violence
Any act of violence committed by a family member, household member, or romantic partner could be considered an act of domestic violence. This can include child abuse, or spousal abuse. Such violent acts are considered domestic abuse whether or not the abuser is related by blood, and can apply to spouses, gay couples, dating couples, or couples who have recently broken up.
While domestic violence typically refers to physical abuse, it can include psychological abuse, sexual abuse, economic abuse, or emotional abuse.
Examples of domestic violence include:
- Hitting, slapping, punching, or otherwise assaulting
- Battering, shoving, or pushing
- Biting, pulling hair, or clawing
- Coercing the victim into some type of sexual behavior or contact
- Yelling or otherwise breaking down the victim’s sense of self-worth
- Closing the victim off from the outside world, controlling his or her comings and goings
- Controlling the victim’s finances, making the victim reliant on the abuser
Consequences of Domestic Battery
There are several consequences that may follow an accusation of domestic violence. Even if your accuser has no proof and you are not convicted, the accusation alone could harm your personal and professional life. If you have children, any charges of domestic violence could endanger your relationship with them and might jeopardize your custody or visitation rights. If you are convicted, the penalties will likely be much steeper. Not only could you face legal consequences for a domestic violence conviction, you might also lose your children and be ordered to sever all contact with your family.
Florida law classifies acts of domestic violence as domestic battery, and such crimes are usually punishable as first-degree misdemeanors. The penalties may include up to 1 year in jail, up to 1 year of probation, and a fine of $1,000. If you have previous domestic batter convictions, your charges might increase to third-degree felony charges, which could result in up to 5 years in prison. If the charge is elevated to a second-degree felony, the convicted person could spend up to 15 years in prison.
In the state of Florida, all individuals found guilty of domestic battery are required to complete a 36-week Batterer’s Intervention Program, serve 12 months under probation, spend at least 5 days in jail (if the victim is bodily injured), and the convicted party will lose concealed carry rights. Additionally, the convicted person will be required to follow a no contact order, and may also have to complete community service hours.
If you are facing charges for domestic violence in Florida, our firm can help. Contact Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A. to get started on your criminal defense case today.