In Florida, law enforcement authorities take domestic violence allegations very seriously.
Unfortunately, disagreements between family members and romantic partners typically unleash strong emotional responses and sometimes result in serious injuries to the persons involved.
Due to the seriousness of domestic violence, a first offense can lead to severe criminal penalties.
If you’re facing a first-time offense for domestic violence in Florida, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Even your first offense for domestic violence can severely impact your life.
Contact Orlando Defense today to start your free consultation.
What Counts as Domestic Violence in Florida?
Florida Statutes Section 741.28 provides relevant definitions for the crime of domestic violence in Florida. The statute says that “domestic violence” means committing any of the following acts that result in physical injury or death to a family or household member of the accused:
- Aggravated assault;
- Aggravated battery;
- Sexual assault;
- Sexual battery;
- Aggravated stalking;
- False imprisonment; or
- Any other criminal offense.
The trigger for domestic violence charges occurs when the person accused of the crime and the person who was injured or killed by the accused individual’s actions are “family or household members.”
In Florida, those considered family or household members include:
- Former spouses;
- Persons related by blood or marriage;
- Individuals presently residing together as a family;
- Individuals who previously resided together as a family; and
- Parents with a child in common.
Except for parents who have a child in common, the family or household members must currently reside together in a single dwelling unit or must have done so in the past to sustain a domestic violence charge.
Penalties for Domestic Violence: First Offense
If you received a first-time domestic violence charge in Florida, you’re probably facing a first-degree misdemeanor conviction. A first-degree misdemeanor carries the potential of up to one year in jail and a fine of $1000.
If the court finds that the defendant intentionally caused bodily harm, it can include a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 days in jail.
If the alleged crime occurred in the presence of a child under 16 who is a family or household member of the victim or the accused, the penalty for your first offense of domestic violence includes a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 days in jail.
Individuals found guilty of domestic violence or who enter a no-contest plea to a crime of domestic violence must serve a minimum term of one year on probation and attend and complete a batterer’s intervention program as a condition of that probation.
However, a skilled Orlando criminal defense attorney can often work to get domestic violence charges dismissed or reduced. In those cases, mandatory counseling or jail time may not be required.
First-Time Domestic Violence Charge in Florida? Contact an Attorney to Represent You
If you’re facing a domestic violence first offense conviction, having a qualified criminal defense attorney to represent you can mean the difference between a jail sentence and a stint on probation.
As a former public defender with over 20 years of experience, Attorney Jeffery Higgins possesses significant trial experience involving a wide range of criminal offenses. Call Orlando Defense today to get started with your free consultation.