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Misdemeanor Charges

Domestic violence crimes have received more attention in the media than they ever had in years past. Just a mere allegation or charge of domestic violence can destroy a person’s life. Even a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence should not be taken lightly.

If you are charged with domestic violence you should aggressively fight the charge. A conviction could change your life forever. It is in your best interest to find yourself an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Lawyer for Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Charges 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) 765-6585 right now to have our lawyers provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.

Broward County Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Information Center

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Defining Domestic Violence

You may have an idea of what constitutes domestic violence but the Florida statutes on domestic violence includes a broad number of scenarios. Domestic violence can be thought of as a prohibited act against a family member. The list of prohibited acts is as follows:

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

If any of the above acts is committed against a family or household member, the crime becomes a domestic violence crime. Family or household member includes a wide range of people including 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.

So, while most people may think of domestic violence as a situation where someone strikes their spouse, under the definition above, domestic violence could also include something seemingly minor such as harassing an ex-spouse online, because that could be considered stalking.

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Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Penalties

Domestic violence convictions, even for misdemeanor offenses, can come with a minimum of 1 year of probation as well as being made to attend batterer’s intervention programs and mandatory prison terms. Whether the domestic violence is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depends on the underlying crime but the mandatory prison term is based on several factors.

If the person is guilty of domestic violence and intentionally caused bodily harm to another person, that person will serve at least:

  • 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 mandatory prison terms accompany the underlying charge. The misdemeanor charges for domestic violence are:

  • Assault;
  • Battery; and
  • Stalking;

An assault is an intentional, unlawful threat to commit violence on a person, combined with the apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which makes a reasonable person think the violence will be imminent. The maximum punishment for assault is 60 days in prison and a $500 fine.

A battery, on the other hand, is an actual, intentional touching or striking of another person against their will or intentionally causing bodily harm to another person. Battery is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in prison and a $1,000 fine. Battery can trigger the mandatory sentences above.

Finally, stalking is also a first degree misdemeanor. The crime of stalking is defined as when a person willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person.

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Florida Domestic Violence Resources

Domestic Violence Statute | Florida Statutes – The link here will take you to the Florida Statutes page for domestic violence. The Florida Statutes are the laws for the entire state and this particular link will take you to the entire chapter of the code dedicated to domestic violence.

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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Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Attorneys in Broward County, FL

Were you arrested or do you believe that you could be under investigation for domestic violence 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) 765-6585 or complete an online contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

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