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Domestic Violence Sentence Enhancements

Domestic violence can take on several forms. While some are visible to the eye, others are much harder to see, if they are visible at all. Bruises, cuts, and other identifiable trauma are obvious signs of physical domestic violence, and this type of domestic violence is aggressively prosecuted in Florida. The penalties and consequences for this crime can exceed that of conventional battery charges. There are three things that you should know when it comes to domestic violence charges in Florida:

  • The definition of domestic violence
  • Penalties for domestic violence
  • Defenses to domestic violence

What is Domestic Violence?

The state of Florida defines this crime as any battery, assault, sexual assault, or other offenses that result in the death or physical injury of a family or household member. The crime does not have to be violent or have an injury involved. The violence can include hitting, punching, slapping, shoving, pushing, kicking, sexual abuse, stalking, unwanted sexual advances, and even threats of harm. 

Domestic Violence Penalties and Enhancements

A person commits battery if they have intentionally and struck or touched another person against the person’s will or intentionally caused bodily harm to another person. This means that battery can be something as simple as intentionally touching another person against their wishes.

Domestic battery is a first-degree misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of up to a year in jail. However, there are some situations that may constitute a second or third-degree felony offense that can result in much higher penalties. These sentence enhancements are most likely to occur in cases that involve the use of a deadly weapon, when the defendant has committed similar prior offenses, in the case of domestic strangulation, if the violence occurred in the presence of a child, if there was intentional bodily harm, or a pregnant woman was the victim of simple battery. The Government will gather evidence to help establish these enhancements.  Many times the government relies on video surveillance, officers body camera, visible injuries, medical records, blood, photographs of the scene and victim, evidence found at the scene and witness statements to prove these enhancements.  

Defenses to Prevent Sentence Enhancements

Domestic battery defense is complex, and you need to be certain that you have an experienced attorney on your side that can explain your legal options. The crime can be defended, but you should not try to defend yourself.

Common defenses to domestic battery to prevent sentence enhancements may include lack of intent, defense of property, you were defending another person, false allegations, and self-defense.

Domestic violence is a serious crime in the state of Florida and can have devastating consequences, especially if your sentence is enhanced. That is why it is vital that you have an experienced attorney on your side that can build a defense for you and work to avoid the sentence enhancements.

Contact an Experienced Florida Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you are facing domestic violence charges, you need to be certain that you have an attorney on your side. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Moses and Rooth will investigate the situation surrounding your charges and work to create a defense that will prevent sentence enhancements if possible. Contact us today by calling (407) 377-0150 to schedule a free initial consultation.