Dating Violence

The American public has become hyper aware of domestic violence crimes. A spate of high profile athletes who have been accused of domestic violence has brought the topic to the forefront of the American consciousness. Those who are just accused of violence against a significant other, not only face the negative social stigma but also possible felony charges and jail time.

If you have been arrested or are under investigation for dating violence, you should seek out legal counsel.

Lawyer for Dating Violence in Broward County, FL

Were you arrested for a domestic violence offense anywhere in South Florida? You will want to contact Meltzer & Bell as soon as possible to try to achieve the most favorable outcome to your case.

Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell represent individuals accused of domestic violence crimes in Miramar, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Davie, Plantation, Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, and many surrounding areas of Broward County. Call (954) 745-7457 right now to have our lawyers provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.


Florida Dating Violence Information Center


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What is Dating Violence?

The term dating violence is not one that is used or heard by the general public regularly. More often, any type of violence committed on a significant other is generally just referred to as domestic violence. So what is the difference between dating violence and domestic violence?

First, domestic violence is defined in the state of Florida as any of the following acts committed against a family or household member:

  • Assault;
  • Aggravated assault;
  • Battery;
  • Aggravated battery;
  • Stalking;
  • Kidnapping;
  • False imprisonment; or
  • Any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death.

The terms family or household member do not include people in a dating relationship, unless the dating couple are presently residing together as if a family or have done so in the past or the dating couple have a child in common. If the alleged offender and the person they are dating cannot be categorized as family or household members, then the alleged offender cannot be charged with domestic violence.

Instead, Florida has a separate statute to deal with dating violence. The type of violence that is required is the same as for domestic violence above; assault, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or a criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death. Whether two people are considered to be dating is based on whether the individuals have had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature and on the following factors:

  • The dating relationship must have existed within the past 6 months;
  • The nature of the relationship must have been characterized by the expectation of affection or sexual involvement between the parties; and
  • The frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship must have included that the persons have been involved over time and on a continuous basis during the course of the relationship.

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Consequences of Dating Violence

The main punishment for dating violence is based on the underlying violent crime. So for instance, if you assault someone you are dating, you would be charged with assault and if convicted you would face assault penalties. The alleged victim, however, would have an additional cause of action to seek an injunction for protection against an alleged offender if there is a reasonable belief that the victim is in imminent danger of another act of dating violence.

The court will decide whether to grant a temporary injunction based solely on verified pleadings or affidavits. A temporary order may be granted for no more than 15 days until a full hearing is held. After a full hearing, the judge can order any relief the court thinks is appropriate including an injunction that:

  • Enjoins the offender from committing any acts of violence;
  • Ordering other relief the court deems necessary;

These injunctions commonly include a restriction that keeps the offender from going within 500 feet of the victim’s residence, work, school, or children. They may also prohibit contact with the victim all together.


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Florida Dating Violence Resources

Florida Dating Violence Statute – This link will take you to the official website of the Florida Legislature. Specifically, you will be taken to the part of the law that references dating violence. This section of the Florida code includes the exact wording for a petition for injunction as well as the definitions for related causes of action such as sexual violence and repeat violence.

Florida Dating Violence Checklist – The Florida courts have produced a dating violence information sheet. Following this link will take you to a .pdf of the sheet which includes basic details of dating violence elements, remedies at law, and what can happen if an abuser violates an injunction.


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Dating Violence Attorney in Broward County, FL

Were you arrested or do you believe that you could be under investigation for dating violence charges in South Florida? No matter how confident you are in your innocence, you should not say anything to authorities until you have first contacted Meltzer & Bell.

Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell are experienced criminal defense lawyers in Fort Lauderdale who represents individuals in communities all over Broward County, including Hollywood, Tamarac, Weston, and Wilton Manors, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Plantation, Pompano Beach, Sunrise, and many others.

You can have our attorneys review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call (954) 745-7457 or complete an online contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.


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