Domestic Battery in Florida is defined as any actual and intentional touching or striking of a family or household member without consent, or the intentional causing of bodily harm to another person.
Under Section 741.28, Florida Statutes, “the term family or household member means spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as a family or who have resided together in the past as a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married. With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit”. A family or household member can include the following:
- Married individuals
- Former spouses
- Individuals related by blood or marriage
- Individuals living together as a family
- Individuals who have lived together as a family in the past
- Persons who have a child in common
Penalties for Domestic Battery
Domestic Battery is also classified as a first degree misdemeanor, with penalties that may include up to one year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
Due to zealous advocacy, initially to protect battered housewives, the Florida legislature added additional mandatory penalties for those convicted of a domestic battery under Chapter 741, Florida Statutes including:
- 12 months of probation
- Completion of a 26 week Batterer’s Intervention Program (BIP)
- 5 days required jail when there is bodily injury where the defendant is adjudicated guilty. See Section 741.283, Florida Statutes
- Additional community service hours
- Loss of important civil liberties;
- Imposition of an injunction or ‘no contact’ order. For additional information on this topic, view our web pages on injunction violations and no contact orders.
Ineligibility for Sealing or Expunging Domestic Charges
Under Florida law, a person who commits an act of domestic violence battery, or any other domestic-related crime of violence, as defined in Section 741.28, Florida Statutes, is ineligible to have his or her record sealed or expunged, regardless of whether adjudication is withheld or not.
Should you be convicted of the offense of domestic battery or should you enter a no contest plea to a domestic violence battery charge, you will have lifetime criminal record for that offense. There are no exceptions to this rule.
Defenses to Domestic Battery
In Florida, domestic violence battery is one of the most defendable charges in all of criminal law, and a decision to plea should not be made without a lawyer thoroughly reviewing your case and considering all of your legal options. Some of the most common defenses include:
- Factual disputes about the underlying incident
- Absence of injuries
- Battery allegations not corroborated by other evidence, a he said, she said event
- Defense of others
- Defense of Property
- Stand Your Ground
- Consensual confrontation or mutual combat
The importance of hiring an attorney in a Domestic Battery case is important. The possibility of a domestic battery charge being dismissed, amended to a lessor offense, or diverted to a pre-trial intervention program, increases substantially with an attorney fighting on your behalf. The hiring of private counsel signals to the prosecutor that you have the initiative and resolve to fight for justice, thereby putting yourself in a better position to receive a dismissal of the charge.
Mr. Deckard has experienced frequent success making contact with the prosecutor early on in a domestic battery prosecution to point out the weakness in the State’s case. One of the key advantages of hiring a private attorney is the ability to make early contact with the prosecution. The early presentation of factual defenses, legal issues, and mitigating circumstances can have a dramatic impact upon the State’s decision to move forward with a domestic battery charge.
No Contact Order
An arrest on a domestic battery charge typically results in the accused being kept in jail over night so that a judge can verbally issue a “no contact order” as a condition of bond. The “no contact order” is given to ensure a cooling off period and to protect a true victim. Experience tells us that most situations blow over and the “no contact orders” are often lifted by the court upon the request by the accused with the agreement of the protected party. However, a violation of a “no contact order” will likely result in your detention until the case is finalized.
DISCLAIMER: THE HIRING OF A LAWYER IS AN IMPORTANT DECISION THAT SHOULD NOT BE BASED SOLELY UPON ADVERTISEMENTS. BEFORE YOU DECIDE, ASK US TO SEND YOU FREE WRITTEN INFORMATION QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE. EVERY LEGAL MATTER IS DIFFERENT. THE OUTCOME OF EACH LEGAL CASE DEPENDS UPON MANY FACTORS, INCLUDING THE FACTS OF THE CASE.