When a domestic occurrence happens sometimes things can get out of our control and even become violent. In those cases, law enforcement may be called to screen the scene. If they believe you’re the aggressor of the situation, you could be arrested and even charged with domestic battery as a result. That means, from one mistake, you could be facing expensive fines as well as a sentence in jail or prison.
If you or someone you know has been charged with domestic battery, it’s imperative you secure legal counsel. These cases are commonly prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law by prosecutors to protect the alleged victim. It’s also important to remember that even if the alleged victim claims they don’t want to press charges, the decision to pursue them is up to the State Attorney’s Office.
Domestic Battery Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Have you been accused of domestic violence or charged with domestic battery? It’s important that you gain legal representation as soon as possible. The consequences of a conviction could mean expensive fines and possible incarceration. You could even lose employment or educational opportunities after your sentence because of your criminal record.
Fight back by hiring the attorneys at Meltzer & Bell. Our domestic violence defense lawyers have the skills needed to fight your charges. We practice throughout the greater Broward County area including Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Pompano Beach and Coral Springs.
Overview of Domestic Battery in FL
- What is Domestic Battery Under Florida Law?
- What Are the Penalties for Domestic Battery?
- What Are the Penalties for Domestic Felony Battery or Strangulation?
- What Are the Penalties for Aggravated Domestic Battery in FL?
- Additional Resources
What is Domestic Battery Under Florida Law?
You may have heard the terms “assault” and “battery” be interchanged while watching late night crime dramas or films. However, the state of Florida has very distinct and different definitions for assault and battery. Assault is when a person threatens another with violence and have the capability of carrying out the threat to the point the victim is in fear.
Battery is when a person intentionally and knowingly strikes another person against their will and consciously causes bodily harm to them. For a crime to be considered domestic battery, the two individuals involved must be either members of the same family or household. Some examples of people who fit that description involve the following:
- People related by marriage or blood;
- Former or present spouses;
- Those who have children in common;
- People who reside together as a family in the same household;
- Individuals who previously or do reside together as a household
Florida law doesn’t require you to be related by marriage or blood for the crime to be classified as domestic battery. If a couple who lives together or has been in a romantic relationship continuously for 6 months is involved in a domestic disturbance, then one of them could be charged with dating violence and face domestic battery penalties.
What Are the Penalties for Domestic Battery in FL?
The penalties for a domestic battery offense depend on your prior criminal history and whether aggravating factors were present during the commission of the crime. Domestic battery without aggravating factors is a first-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by:
- Up to 12 months in jail; and
- A fine of up to $1,000
Having a prior conviction for battery, aggravated battery or felony batter will mean your sentence will be reclassified to a third-degree felony. The penalties for a third-degree felony include the following:
- Up to 5 years in prison; and
- A fine of up to $5,000
It’s important to understand that there are minimum jail terms for people who have been adjudicated guilty of a domestic battery crime. If you intentionally caused bodily harm to the alleged victim, then upon conviction the court will order you to serve a minimum of 10 days in county jail for a first offense, a second offense is 15 days and a third offense is 20.
In addition, if the intent was to commit bodily harm and took place in the presence of a child younger than 16 who is also family or a household member, then the minimum imprisonment is enhanced. You will instead serve a minimum of 15 days for your first offense, 20 for your second offense and 30 days for your third or subsequent conviction.
What Are the Penalties for Domestic Felony Battery or Strangulation?
A domestic battery charge can be elevated to felony battery if certain aspects exist within the crime. These are listed under Florida Statutes Section 784.041 as the following:
- The offense results in great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement in another person; or
- The offender impeded the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of a family or household member, or person they are in a dating relationship with to create a risk of or cause great bodily harm by applying pressure to the throat or neck of the other person by blocking their nose or mouth
A felony battery offense or domestic battery by strangulation is a third-degree felony. The penalties for a third-degree felony include:
- Up to 5 years in prison; and
- A fine of up to $5,000
What Are the Penalties for Aggravated Domestic Battery in Florida?
Aggravating factors are elements within a crime that increase the severity or culpability of a criminal act. If certain aggravating factors are found to be true within the crime, then the court will recategorize it as an aggravated domestic battery. A person is guilty of aggravated battery if they do any of the following:
- Intentionally or knowingly cause great bodily harm, permanent disability or any kind of permanent disfigurement; or
- Used a deadly weapon during the crime
An aggravated domestic battery conviction can lead to a second-degree felony, which includes the following maximum penalties:
- Up to 15 years in prison; and
- A fine of up to $10,000
National Domestic Violence Hotline – Visit the official website for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which is a part of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN). The Hotline is part of the largest nationwide network of program and expert resources equipped to assist domestic violence survivors and those struggling with domestic abuse currently.
Domestic Violence Information | Broward Clerk – Visit the official website for the Broward County clerk to learn more information regarding domestic violence or dating violence services in the Broward County court. Access the site to learn tips on how to stay safe, restraining order information and requirements needed to file, victim parking at court dates and answers to your frequently asked questions.
Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer in Broward County, FL
Were you charged with battery or assault against a family or household member? It is critical for you to have legal counsel who will fight to protect your rights. We advise you to hire an experienced domestic violence attorney to defend you such as the ones at Meltzer & Bell.
Meltzer & Bell aggressively defends clients in Deerfield Beach, Sunrise, Hallandale Beach, Weston, Pompano Beach, Margate, Wilton Manors, Plantation, and the greater Fort Lauderdale area. Our dedicateddomestic violence attorneys will evaluate your case and discuss your legal options as soon as you call (754) 755-8554 to take advantage of a free legal consultation.