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West Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer / Blog / Criminal Defense / What Is – And Is Not – Domestic Violence In Florida

What Is – And Is Not – Domestic Violence In Florida


The definition of domestic violence in Florida is necessarily wide-ranging, as several types of criminal offenses may fall under that proverbial umbrella. The legislature intended to extend that umbrella as far as possible, so that more victims could seek justice – but sometimes, domestic violence may not actually be the right charge for someone who has committed this kind of offense. If you are afraid you may soon face this kind of charge, it is important to understand the law on this issue.

Three Criteria

Florida’s domestic violence statute sets out certain criteria that an event must meet before one can be charged with that kind of offense. The official definition of domestic violence in the state is any criminal offense (including, but not limited to, several that are affirmatively listed in the law) which results in injury or death to a ‘family or household member’ of the perpetrator’s.

If one examines the statute, one can see there are three things that must happen in order for a person to have committed domestic violence. They are:

  • A person committing a criminal offense;
  • Which resulted in physical injury or death;
  • For a person who is a ‘family or household member’ of theirs.

If your case lacks any of these three factors, you may have committed another type of violence – but you have not committed domestic violence under Florida law.

A Specific Victim

‘Committing a criminal offense’ that resulted in ‘physical injury or death’ are two fairly self-explanatory concepts, but defining who exactly qualifies as a ‘family or household member’ can be confusing. Florida state law lays out the categories of people who qualify, though it is true that sometimes a person’s role in another person’s life may be more vague than the law foresees.

‘Family and household members’ under the relevant statute include:

  • Spouses;
  • Former spouses;
  • Co-parents who were never married;
  • People related by blood or marriage; and
  • People who are (or have been) ‘residing together as a family.’

It is the latter category that can often cause confusion – notably, for example, people in a dating relationship are not included if they do not have children together and are not living together. A knowledgeable attorney can help.

Contact A West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Attorney

Being accused of a crime of violence is frightening at any point, and having a knowledgeable West Palm Beach criminal attorney on your side can help you to determine what you have been charged with and how best to move forward. The firm of Perlet & Shiner, P.A. is ready and willing to try and assist you with your case. Call our office today to speak to an attorney.



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