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Is Domestic Violence A Felony in Florida?

If you face a domestic violence charge in Florida, you probably have many questions. One of the most common is, “Is domestic violence a felony in Florida?” The basic answer is – it depends. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it is not, depending on the severity of what happened that led to the arrest.

The Denson Firm has the experience to ensure you have the proper information and lead as your criminal defense attorney when facing serious charges such as domestic violence.

What Is Considered Domestic Violence in Florida?

Florida law considers domestic violence as the unlawful touching or intentional bodily harm of a person who is a household member or family under state statute, which can include:

  • wives,
  • husbands,
  • ex-spouses,
  • co-parents (married or unmarried),
  • individuals who currently live together as a family,
  • individuals who previously lived together as a family, and
  • individuals who are related by blood or marriage.

A domestic violence charge in Florida is a serious offense with greater penalties and consequences than simple battery.

Is Domestic Violence A Misdemeanor or Felony in Florida?

When considering the answer to the question “Is domestic violence a felony or a misdemeanor in Florida?” there are multiple factors involved that would dictate the difference, which includes certain actions that are deemed to be domestic violence crimes under the law, such as:

  • assault,
  • aggravated assault,
  • battery,
  • domestic violence by strangulation,
  • aggravated battery,
  • sexual battery,
  • stalking,
  • aggravated stalking,
  • false imprisonment,
  • kidnapping, and
  • other criminal offenses, including those leading to physical injury or death of a household or family member.

Generally speaking, if it is the first charge for the defendant, meaning there is no criminal record of violent behavior and no deadly weapons were involved, it would be considered a domestic violence misdemeanor in Florida. If there is assault but no physical harm, it would likely be a misdemeanor as well.

Domestic violence felony charges are frequently associated with battery or domestic violence convictions. Additionally, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping, aggravated assault, domestic battery by strangulation, sexual battery, and aggravated stalking are domestic violence felony charges. These charges are associated with severe penalties, including years in jail, high fines, and other strict consequences that can affect your freedom, job, financial future, family, and relationships for a very long time.

Domestic Violence Penalties

The penalties for domestic violence in Florida are severe and will range depending on the factors involved in the crime. As a general rule, felonies will carry the most severe penalties and consequences.

As an example, a conviction of battery comes with penalties of up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000 and is a misdemeanor. However, aggravated battery, which includes the use of deadly weapons, is considered a second-degree felony. It would also come with up to fifteen years in prison and up to a maximum of $10,000 in fines.

If a defendant is found guilty of domestic battery, additional penalties can also include no-contact orders, the loss of the ability to carry a firearm, community service, and probation. It is important to know that anyone convicted of domestic violence would have to serve mandatory jail time if they intentionally harmed the victim.

A 26-week batterer’s intervention program will also be mandated. This program is intended to help the defendant develop better family and household relationships and learn healthier habits to prevent further domestic violence.

Domestic violence convictions stay on your record for life and cannot be expunged. All individuals facing domestic violence charges have the right to a lawyer, and it is highly recommended to consult with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest.

Common Defenses of Domestic Battery

There are many common defenses for domestic violence charges in Florida. Depending on the circumstances of what happened, your attorney will formulate the best strategy for your particular case to get the best outcome possible. Common defenses include:

  • Defense of property
  • Defense of others
  • Factual disputes about the case/incident
  • Absence of physical injuries
  • Battery allegations that are not corroborated by other evidence in the case
  • Self-defense
  • Stand Your Ground
  • Mutual combat or consensual confrontation

It is highly advisable not to make your plea without a lawyer. When facing charges that come with such severe penalties that can become long-term consequences or even a risk protection order, you should not tackle the criminal justice system in Florida on your own.

Facing A Domestic Violence Charge in Florida?

If you face a domestic violence charge in Florida, know that you have the legal right to have an attorney. When working with a criminal defense attorney, they will thoroughly review the details of your case. Each case is different, and the outcome is not predetermined.

A criminal defense attorney understands the complexity of gathering evidence and any potential witnesses and how to develop a strategy that is the most appropriate for your particular case. With the varying possible defenses, it is critical to understand criminal law to get the best outcome possible.

Criminal defense attorneys are also advantageous because they can conduct early communications and negotiations with the prosecution that can dramatically impact a domestic violence case, which includes:

  • early presentation of legal issues,
  • factual defenses, and
  • Any mitigating circumstances can make a difference in whether the state decides to move forward with a domestic violence charge.

Bruce Denson has 20+ years of experience helping clients facing criminal charges. He delivers professional legal guidance and knows how to handle big issues such as domestic violence cases. He is with his clients each step of the way and performs thorough investigations, speaks with witnesses, and skillfully represents his clients in court, including presenting motions to the judge and representing you at trial if needed.

Contact The Denson Firm today to schedule a free consultation. We are here to help.

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