| Read Time: 3 minutes | Domestic Violence
Florida Domestic Violence Laws

Undoubtedly, family and domestic violence (DV), such as child abuse, intimate partner abuse, and elder abuse, is a serious problem nationwide. A critical controversy surrounding Florida’s domestic violence laws relates to false allegations. The debate surrounding the rate of false domestic violence complaints has remained significant throughout the decades. Although some argue that false accusations are marginal, the consequences of a DV charge can have long-lasting effects on those facing these allegations. Individuals facing these charges should consult with an experienced attorney to learn about Florida’s domestic violence laws.

Florida Domestic Abuse Laws

Under Florida law, domestic violence refers to “any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.” Under the statute, family members include those who reside in the same single dwelling unit. However, there are exceptions for those who have a child in common. 

What Is Considered Domestic Violence in Florida?

Domestic violence typically includes abusive behaviors in which one person gains power over another individual. This type of violence can take various forms, including the following:

  • Stalking,
  • Economic abuse,
  • Emotional or psychological abuse, 
  • Sexual abuse, 
  • Physical abuse, and 
  • Neglect. 

The domestic violence laws in Florida also include kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any other criminal offense that results in physical injury or death of one household or family member by another household or family member.

Domestic Violence Charges

The penalties and collateral consequences of a Florida domestic abuse charge depend on the unique facts and circumstances of the offense. 

Battery Offenses

Simple Battery

Charge: First Degree Misdemeanor

Penalty: Up to 1 year in jail, probation, and a $1,000 fine.

Felony Battery

Charge: Third Degree Felony

Penalty: Up to 5 years in prison, probation, and a $5,000 fine.

Aggravated Battery

Charge: Second Degree Felony

Penalty: Up to 15 years in prison, probation, and a $10,000 fine.

Assault Crimes


Charge: Second Degree Misdemeanor

Penalty: Up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Aggravated Assault

Charge: Third Degree Felony

Penalty: Up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Stalking Charges


Charge: First Degree Misdemeanor

Penalty: Up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Aggravated Stalking

Charge: Third Degree Felony

Penalty: Up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Sexual Battery

Charge: Varies (can range from a Second Degree Felony to Life Felony)

Penalty: Varies (can range from up to 15 years to life in prison and varying fines)

False Imprisonment

Charge: Third Degree Felony

Penalty: Up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine


Charge: First Degree Felony

Penalty: Up to life in prison and a fine.

Child Abuse

Charge: Third Degree Felony

Penalty: Up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

In addition to these serious consequences, those convicted of domestic violence may lose certain rights, experience child custody and visitation challenges, and be required to attend intervention programs.

Defenses to a Florida Domestic Abuse Charge

In light of Florida’s broad definition of domestic violence and the serious consequences of a DV charge, it is crucial that those facing these claims consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. An attorney can help you defend against these accusations. Various defenses may be applicable to a Florida domestic abuse charge.

Insufficient Evidence

An experienced attorney can argue that the government lacks sufficient evidence to prove that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. 


In some cases, Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law may apply to a domestic violence charge. However, the accused must be able to establish that they needed to use reasonable force to protect themselves from imminent harm. 

False Accusation

False accusations are unfortunately common in domestic violence cases. In these situations, the accused may argue that the complainant had a motive to fabricate an accusation.


Evidence that the accused was somewhere else when the alleged event occurred is a crucial piece of evidence that can clear the accused’s name. 

Constitutional Violations

Evidence that law enforcement obtained in violation of the accused’s rights may result in a dismissal. 

The relevance and weight of these defenses hinge on the case’s specific details. Thus, it is critical that individuals accused of domestic abuse in Florida contact an attorney as soon as possible. 

Have You Been Charged with Violating Florida’s Domestic Violence Laws?

If you’ve recently been charged with a domestic violence offense, it is imperative that you work with an experienced attorney who can help you ensure your case has as little impact on your future as possible. At the criminal defense law firm of Moses and Rooth, we’ve assembled a team of former prosecutors who can anticipate the government’s strategies and develop a compelling defense to the charges you face. To learn more, reach out to the dedicated DV defense lawyers at Moses and Rooth to schedule a free consultation. You can call us or reach us through our online contact form.

Author Photo

Andrew Moses

Andrew has been practicing criminal law his entire career. After graduating from law school he began working as an Assistant State Attorney prosecuting cases in Orange and Osceola Counties. During his time as an Assistant State Attorney, Andrew handled all types of cases ranging from misdemeanors to such serious felonies as drug trafficking and armed robbery. His experience as a prosecutor helped him gain perspective of the criminal justice system and how the government established its cases.

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