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Domestic Battery Laws in Florida

October was National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time designed to raise awareness of the terrible toll that domestic violence can exact on families – especially women and children. Recognizing this, many state legislatures (including Florida) have enacted tough laws designed to severely punish the perpetrators of domestic violence. For a person who has been falsely charged with domestic violence, though, a conviction can jeopardize his or her future and freedom.

What Constitutes Domestic Battery in Florida?

Under Florida law, battery (for purposes of the domestic battery statute) includes intentionally touching, hitting, or striking another person without that person’s permission or causing bodily harm to another person. It is not necessary that bodily harm occur; however, the penalties one receives if he or she is convicted are more serious if bodily injury was inflicted on the victim.

In order for a battery so defined to be considered a domestic battery, the battery must be inflicted on a “family or household member.” A “family or household member” is any person who lived with the defendant in the past or who presently resides with the defendant. In addition, it also includes an individual who has a child in common with the defendant. Therefore, the following individuals are generally found to be “family and household members”:

  • Spouses or ex-spouses;
  • Brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. (whether related by blood or marriage);
  • Parents and adult children;
  • Unrelated individuals who lived together as a family in the past or who presently live together; and
  • Parents of a child, regardless of whether the parents ever lived together.

Even a first-time conviction for domestic violence wherein the victim suffers no notable injuries can still result in up to one year of incarceration and up to $1,000 in fines. In addition, there are other conditions that must be satisfied as part of your sentence (such as completion of a batterer’s intervention program at your expense).

Defending Against Domestic Violence Charges

It is the prosecutor’s decision whether to pursue charges against you, even if the “victim” in your domestic violence case wants to drop the charges. Experienced and resourceful defense counsel is the best way to assure yourself of the best possible outcome in your case. You may have defenses available to you, including:

  • You and the victim are not “family and household members”;
  • The incident was purely verbal and no physical blows were exchanged;
  • You were attacked or threatened first and your act of striking the “victim” was an act of self-defense; or
  • The incident did not happen but was brought the police’s attention as the result of a false report made by the victim.

Knowledgeable and aggressive Miami criminal defense attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner is able to assist individuals charged with domestic violence-related offenses. He will thoroughly investigate the facts of your case to ensure all exculpatory and favorable evidence is considered by the court. Contact his office today at (305) 670-9919 and discuss your case with the attorneys of Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. today.

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