Domestic battery, also commonly referred to as domestic violence, is a very common but serious criminal charge in the State of Florida. Penalties vary significantly from case to case depending on the details of the specific incident. If you someone is accusing you of domestic battery, or you have already been charged with domestic battery, it is essential to have a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of domestic battery laws in the state of Florida. The attorneys at Traffic Law Firm are here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
What is a Domestic Battery Charge in Florida?
Unlike normal battery, assault, aggravated assault or aggravated battery, domestic battery is different because there is a domestic aspect to it. An assault can originate from someone you know to someone you have never met before. In order to qualify as a domestic battery, the individuals involved must fall into at least one of these categories:
- The individuals involved are intimate partners
- The individuals involved are currently married, or have been married in the past
- The individuals involved are currently living together, or have lived together in the past
- The individuals involved are family
- The individuals involved parent a child together regardless of any biological connection to the child
- To see the full explanation as described by Florida Law, Statutes 741.28, click here.
What is an Injunction?
An injunction is a temporary court-ordered restraining order issued by a judge. In many cases, a judge may issue an injunction, even if the case for the actual domestic battery charge has not been heard yet. Injunctions are a way of protecting the victim from potential further harm. If the two share a household, the accused will usually be forced to find housing in a different location while the victim is allowed to stay in the household. Injunctions usually last 14 days, but can be extended up to a year.
What Qualifies for an Injunction in Florida?
According to Florida Statute 741.30, an injunction can be granted when the victim believes they are in imminent danger from the accused individual. This can manifest itself in a couple of different ways including:
- Bodily harm or damage
- Words, acts or a combination of the two that puts the victim in fear
- The victim believes they are in danger of being harmed by the accused
- In these cases, the victim may file for an injunction against the accused. In this case, the victim must prove they are in danger.
What are the Penalties for Domestic Battery in Florida?
In general, domestic battery is considered a first degree misdemeanor. This carries up to one year in jail and fines of up to $1000. Felony domestic battery is a third degree felony which carries up to five years in jail and fines of up to $5000. In Florida, there are additional penalties that can be added on top of jail time or fines. They include, but are not limited to:
- A 26 week Batterer's Intervention Program
- Community service
- Loss of civil rights, including concealed carry permits
- If there is bodily injury involved and the accused is found guilty, the judge must assign a minimum 5-day jail sentence.
Is there a potential for more serious penalties in a domestic battery case?
Yes. Aggravated Domestic Battery with Serious Bodily Injury and Aggravated Domestic Battery With Use of a Deadly Weapon are both second degree felonies. They carry up to 15 years in jail and fines of up to $10000. Serious bodily injury is defined as any injury of a permanent nature.
A deadly weapon can be anything ranging from a baseball bat, to a knife to a gun.
What are the penalties for violating an Injunction?
Violating an injunction is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1000
What are other outcomes related to domestic battery?
Injunctions can be granted even if there is no familial relationship between the victim and the accused. If the victim can prove they have met the criteria two times within six months of their injunction, the court may impose an injunction on the accused.
A court can also impose a no-contact order between both parties. This forces both parties to not
interact with each other until further notice. A judge can do this without either side asking for it.
Violating a no-contact order bears the same penalties of violating an injunction.