Domestic violence is one of the most common reasons why people are arrested. It doesn’t take much for an emotional situation to get heated and become a fight that gets out of control. And once people are angry or emotional, they can say and do things that escalate fast.
But that doesn’t mean that domestic violence charges aren’t serious. Domestic violence encompasses a slew of different charges. But first it’s necessary to understand that Florida Statute § 741.28 defines domestic violence as assault or battery in varying degrees that occurs between:
current or former spouses
people related by blood or marriage
people currently or formerly residing together as a family, or
parents who have a child in common, regardless of whether they were at any time married.
You can be charged with a domestic violence offense even if you are not married or were never married to the other party involved. You must have lived together at some point in order for the domestic violence term to apply to your situation unless you are sharing a child. If you are co-parents then any issues are automatically domestic violence issues even if you never lived together.
Domestic Violence Offenses
The term domestic violence designates that the event occurred between persons who fit the definition of having domestic ties. Under Florida law there are ten separate domestic violence offenses including:
Domestic violence assault is assault on a person without using a weapon. An assault is defined by statute as an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent. Assault without a weapon is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum punishment of 60 days in jail and a fine up to $500.
Aggravated assault is the same as simple assault but someone used a weapon without any intent to do serious harm or kill them. Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony that comes with a maximum punishment of five years in prison and a fine up to $5,000.
This term is often used interchangeably with assault but it’s a different offense. Battery occurs if you strike someone. Battery is a first-degree misdemeanor. Punishment for a battery conviction can be a maximum of one year in jail and a fine of $1,000.
Domestic Battery by Strangulation
Putting pressure on someone’s neck either using an object or hands or restricting their breathing by blocking their nose and mouth is charged as domestic battery by strangulation. It’s a third-degree felony with a punishment upon conviction of up to five years in prison and a fine up to $5,000.
Aggravated battery is a second-degree felony. Someone will be charged with domestic violence aggravated battery if they use a weapon or great physical force to cause great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement, or permanent disability to another person. Conviction for aggravated battery can lead to a punishment of prison for up to 15 years and a fine up to $10,000.
Sexual battery refers to any sexual penetration, with either a body part or an object, without consent. It’s a first-degree felony and conviction could carry a punishment of up to 30 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
Using a weapon or great physical force that cause injury can up the charge to a life felony meaning potentially a sentence of life in prison and a fine up to $15,000.
Florida stalking laws apply to stalking done online as well as in real life. That means that Florida law treats emails, texts, phone calls, and social media messaging the same as showing up in person at someone’s home or work. Stalking is a first-degree misdemeanor that carries a punishment of up to 12 months in jail and a fine up to $1,000.
Aggravated stalking involves threatening great bodily harm or death online, in texts or messages, or in person. It’s a third-degree felony with a punishment of up to five years in prison and a fine up to $5,000.
Florida law defines false imprisonment as holding a person against their will. For example, not letting someone leave the house or not allowing them to contact a friend or relative. It’s a third-degree felony that has a punishment of up to five years in prison and a fine up to $5,000.
Domestic violence kidnapping isn’t what you might think of when you think about kidnapping. Usually, the term kidnapping brings to mind images of people being grabbed and stuffed into cars to be held for ransom. But in Florida a domestic violence kidnapping means holding someone against their will with the intent to inflict bodily harm on them, kill them, or terrorize them. It’s a first-degree felony that has a punishment of up to 30 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
In a domestic violence situation, often charges are stacked so that someone arrested for domestic violence is facing a handful of different charges. The prosecutor will try and see what charges they can make stick from these ten different types of domestic violence charges.
Domestic violence charges are often dismissed because it can be very difficult for the courts to sort out domestic situations. Things are said and done in the heat of the moment that aren’t really indicative of the state of the relationship all the time so it’s not uncommon for people to regret their actions after a domestic incident and work out an agreement that solves the problem.
If you’re facing domestic violence charges after a family altercation, call today to get legal advice that is specific for your situation. Don’t let an emotional moment have an impact that could last for a decade or more.