In Florida, the state has comprehensive domestic violence laws that address everything from how first responders help victims of domestic violence to mandatory jail time for anyone convicted of intentionally hurting another person during a domestic violence incident.
It is important to understand there is no one single crime that is “domestic violence.” Instead, domestic violence occurs when someone commits a violent or threatening act against their spouse, live-in partner, former partner, child’s other parent, or another close family member who lives in the same house.
Acts Covered Under Domestic Violence Criminal Laws in Florida
Any type of violent crime could fall under the category of “domestic violence.” Whether something is domestic violence or not has more to do with the relationship between the perpetrator of the crime and the victim of the crime than it does what happened. In general, there are a few crimes that occur more often in domestic cases than other types of crimes. These crimes include:
- Sexual assault
- Intimidation and threats
Domestic violence can also include some of the most serious crimes, including violent crimes against children, child abuse and neglect, rape, and murder.
Domestic Violence Laws Call for Enhanced Penalties If Convicted
If the police arrest you for a violent crime and you have a domestic relationship with the victim, you could receive harsh penalties if convicted. The police and state attorney will work hard to build a strong case against you and try to show you caused intentional harm or threatened harm to your partner, former partner, or a family member.
If convicted, the judge will consider a number of factors when considering your sentence. This may include:
- If there are any past domestic violence incidents between you and the victim
- If there are past domestic violence incidents between you and any victim
- The severity of the victim’s injuries stemming from this incident
- Whether or not there were children present when the incident took place
- Whether your actions violated a protective order, known as a domestic violence injunction in Florida
The judge could order you to:
- County jail or state prison time
- Pay fines and court costs
- Complete community service
- Attend a drug or alcohol program
There is a mandatory minimum for domestic violence that causes bodily harm under Florida law. This means you could face mandatory jail time if the court finds that you intentionally caused bodily harm to someone in your family or a former partner. This includes:
- Ten days in a county jail for the first offense
- 15 days in a county jail for the second offense
- 20 days in a county jail for a third or subsequent offense
If you have been accused of domestic battery or another crime that includes inflicting intentional harm, you should reach out to us as soon as possible. If you call us before you face charges, we may be able to prevent them from filing them against you.
In other cases, we can try to get charges dropped, work out a plea deal for a lesser offense, or take your case to court and fight for a not guilty verdict.
Florida Law Allows Domestic Violence Victims to Get an Injunction Against the Perpetrator
Florida allows the victims of domestic violence to petition for an injunction for protection against domestic violence. This is an order of protection that legally restrains a family member or household member from getting near you. You may qualify if you:
- Were a victim of domestic violence; or
- Have reason to believe you are in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence.
A domestic violence injunction limits how close the perpetrator can get to you. This includes staying away from your home, work, school, and vehicle. They cannot return to a shared home, contact you directly, or contact you indirectly through a third party. The injunction may also include your children or other members of your family, in some cases.
If you secure a domestic violence injunction and the perpetrator violates it, they will likely face a first-degree misdemeanor charge as a result. This could mean they have to serve:
- Up to one year in jail; and/or
- One year of probation
If they repeatedly defy the restraining order and threaten you, they could face felony charges.
Goldman Wetzel Can Help You Understand Florida’s Domestic Violence Laws
At Goldman Wetzel, our attorneys understand complex domestic violence criminal laws in Florida. They can be especially complicated to navigate if you face accusations or need help getting an injunction against a family member, partner, or former partner who is threatening you.
Our attorneys take on every case we handle together. We can help you if:
- The police arrested you on suspicion of domestic violence
- You face criminal charges relating to a domestic violence incident
- You need to petition for a domestic violence injunction
- You got served with a domestic violence injunction
Call us today at 727-828-3900 to learn more about how the Goldman Wetzel team can help you.