Felony Charges

People who commit domestic violence are viewed even more negatively than ever before. The social stigma for domestic abusers can be extremely grim. The penalties for being convicted of felony domestic violence can be much worse.

If you have been charged with a felony domestic violence crime, it is in your best interest to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. Fighting domestic violence charges can be very difficult, don’t take a risk with your reputation and your liberty.

Lawyer for Felony Domestic Violence Charges in Broward County, FL

If you think that you might be under investigation or you were already arrested for an alleged domestic violence crime in Broward County, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel. Meltzer & Bell aggressively defends clients accused of domestic violence in Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Margate, Coconut Creek, Coral Springs, Davie, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and many surrounding areas of South Florida.

Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell will work tirelessly to help you achieve the most favorable possible resolution to your case, including possibly having your criminal charges reduced or dismissed.

Call (954) 745-7457 right now to have our lawyers provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.


Felony Domestic Violence Information Center


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When does Domestic Violence Become a Felony?

Domestic violence is a somewhat unique crime, in that the crime only arises from the commission of a specified set of criminal offenses against a family or household member. That is, domestic violence requires an underlying crime such as assault or battery and that crime must have been committed against a family member for there to have been domestic violence.

First let’s define family member. While the term may seem obvious, the laws of the state of Florida, prescribe several types of persons that you may not think of when you think of family or household members. Any specified crime against such a person can be domestic violence. Family or household members includes the following:

  • Spouses;
  • Former spouses;
  • Persons related by blood or marriage;
  • Persons presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family; or
  • Persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married.

There are several crimes that committed alone are felonies, but also become a domestic violence charge if the crime is committed against any of the above people. Below are the felonious domestic violence crimes.

  • Aggravated assault;
  • Aggravated battery;
  • Sexual assault;
  • Sexual battery;
  • Aggravated Stalking;
  • Kidnapping;
  • False imprisonment; or
  • Certain criminal offenses resulting in physical injury or death.

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Penalties for Felony Domestic Violence

The Florida statutes require mandatory prison sentences for people convicted of domestic violence crimes, if that crime involved intentional bodily harm as most felony domestic violence crimes do. The mandatory prison terms for such people convicted is as follows:

  • 10 days in county jail for a first offense;
  • 15 days in county jail for a second offense;
  • 20 days in county jail for a third or subsequent offense.

If the offender intentionally caused bodily harm and the crime took place in front of a family or household member under the age of 16 then the mandatory prison terms become:

  • 15 days for a first offense;
  • 20 days for a second offense;
  • 30 days for a third or subsequent offense.

These penalties are included with the penalties for the underlying felony offense. Each offense has different elements and different penalties. Let’s briefly discuss some of these felony offenses and their accompanying penalties.

Aggravated assault is an intentional, unlawful threat to commit violence on a person, combined with the apparent ability to do so, while having a deadly weapon or with an intent to commit a felony, and committing some act which makes a reasonable person think the violence will be imminent. This is a third degree felony with a possible 5 year prison sentence and fine up to $5,000.

Aggravated battery is an actual, intentional touching or striking of another person causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement. Aggravated battery does not require great bodily harm, disability, or disfigurement if a deadly weapon was used in commission of the battery. It is also aggravated battery if the victim of the crime was known to be pregnant at the time by the offender. This is a second degree felony with a maximum of 15 years in prison and a possible $10,000 fine.

A person who has previously been convicted of battery, aggravated battery, or felony battery and is convicted again for a subsequent offense can be charged with felony battery which is a third degree felony.

Domestic battery by strangulation, whereby a person knowingly and intentionally, against the will of another, impedes the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of a family or household member or of a person they are dating, by putting pressure on the throat or neck or by blocking the nose or mouth, so as to create a risk of great bodily harm, is also a third degree felony.

A person commits aggravated stalking if they willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follow, harass, or cyberstalk another person and makes a credible threat to that person. This is a third degree felony as well with a possible 5 year prison sentence and up to $5,000 in fines.

Sexual battery is defined as oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by the sexual organ of another or by another with any other object. This is more commonly referred to as rape and is a first degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a possible $10,000 fine.


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Felony Domestic Violence Resources

Florida Criminal Statute – Following this link will take you to the exhaustive list of crimes for the state of Florida. In here you can look up some of the domestic violence crimes that constitute a felony such as kidnapping or false imprisonment.

Office of Domestic Violence | Florida Department of Children and Families – The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) has resources relating to domestic violence available to the public. The link will take you to information and resources such as Domestic Violence Centers and training materials.


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Domestic Violence Felony Charges Attorney in Broward County, FL

Were you arrested or do you believe that you could be under investigation for felony domestic 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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