Penalties for Domestic Violence Criminal Charges in Florida

In Florida, domestic violence is an offense that carries consequences from probation to jail time. It may start with a phone call to law enforcement after tempers have flared in a household, arguments have risen in volume, and the situation has become physical. When law enforcement is involved, serious criminal charges may be filed. If you have been charged with domestic violence, you need to talk to a domestic violence attorney to help you build a strong case on your behalf and fight for your rights.

What constitutes domestic violence?

Although the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about domestic violence is physical abuse, domestic violence also takes many other forms, such as:

Any of the above can be considered domestic violence if they result in the injury or death of an individual who lives with, is related to, or has a child with the person accused of these charges.

Who is defined as a family or household member in cases of domestic abuse?

In Florida, domestic abuse is defined as any criminal offense that results in injury or death that is committed by one family or household member to another. Under this definition, a family or household member can be:

  • A former or current spouse
  • Any person related by blood or marriage
  • Any individuals currently or previously residing together as a family
  • Two people who have a child in common, regardless of whether they were ever married

The persons must currently or in the past have lived together in the same dwelling to be defined as a family or household member under Florida law. The only exception is parents who have a child in common.

What are the potential penalties for domestic abuse?

Anyone convicted of domestic violence may face several potentially severe legal consequences. The type and severity of the penalties depend on the circumstances of the case and whether the person has other charges on their criminal record. Penalties may range from a year of probation to a year in jail. They may also lose the right to own firearms and may lose the ability to have their criminal records expunged or sealed.

Additionally, a person charged with domestic abuse may be ordered to complete a 26-week long  anger management course if they are convicted of the charges. They may also have to pay for these courses out of their own pockets and be ordered not to have any further contact with the alleged victim or victims. This may result in a prohibition from entering their own homes and visiting their children.

What are the duties of law enforcement in domestic violence cases?

Law enforcement officers in Florida are required to investigate all allegations of domestic violence. If anyone is injured, they must help the victim to get medical treatment. They must also let the victim know that there are domestic violence centers where services are available and provide the victim with a copy of the Legal Rights and Remedies Notice to Victims.

Officers must also complete a written report of the incident. In it, they must document any physical injuries they were able to observe and then file the report with a law enforcement agency. The report must also contain the names of the people the officer arrested and if nobody was arrested, they must explain in writing why they came to this decision.

It is the officer’s job to determine who is the main aggressor in situations where more than one person claims to be the victim of domestic violence. The law states that only the main aggressor must be arrested and not people who may be acting aggressively in self-defense or the defense of another vulnerable member of the household.

Get Legal Representation

If you are facing charges of domestic abuse, you should consult with a domestic abuse attorney because being convicted of these charges in Florida carries substantial criminal penalties. If you are charged with domestic violence, your parental rights may be impacted as well as the way shared property can be distributed.

You don’t want to be charged with domestic violence since that offense can have legal penalties that could ruin your life. You don’t want something that might have started as a minor disagreement to turn into something you might regret for the rest of your life. Your lawyer will help you fight for your rights whether you are facing charges or fear you might be accused.


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