| Read Time: 4 minutes | Domestic Violence
What Is Considered Domestic Battery in Florida

Florida authorities take domestic violence accusations very seriously. Unfortunately, disagreements between family members and romantic partners typically unleash strong emotional responses and sometimes result in police officers responding to the scene. Anyone facing domestic battery charges may want to know:

  • What is a domestic battery charge?;
  • What are the penalties for domestic battery?; and
  • Should I hire a lawyer if I am charged with domestic battery?

A domestic violence lawyer at Moses and Rooth can answer your questions about domestic battery in Florida.

What Is Domestic Battery in Florida?

The domestic battery meaning varies from state to state. Florida defines domestic violence as any assault, aggravated assault, battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death to a family or household member by another family or household member.

Domestic battery is one type of domestic violence charge. It includes the crime of battery committed against someone that the state considers a “family or household member” of the accused. Florida law includes the following people in the definition of “family or household member” for purposes of domestic battery charges:

  • Current or former spouses,
  • Persons who currently reside together as a family,
  • Persons who previously resided together as a family,
  • Persons related by blood or marriage who have resided together at some point, and
  • Co-parents whether or not they have been married.

Florida defines battery as: 

  • Intentionally touching or striking another person against his or her will; or 
  • Intentionally causing bodily harm to another person. 

Therefore, committing battery against someone considered a family or household member amounts to the crime of domestic battery.

Penalties for Domestic Battery in Florida

In Florida, domestic battery is a first-degree misdemeanor. First-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail or up to one year on probation, in addition to a fine of up to $1,000. 

Florida imposes other mandatory penalties for domestic violence-related crimes, including:

  • A mandatory jail sentence,
  • Added community service hours,
  • Loss of concealed carry rights,
  • Participation in a 26-week Batterer’s Intervention Program, and
  • Imposition of an injunction or no contact order to protect the alleged victim from further abuse.

Florida implemented extra penalties for domestic violence convictions to curb the number of domestic violence incidents in the state.

Potential Legal Defenses to Domestic Battery Charges

In many situations, domestic battery cases arise out of intense situations between loved ones. Nevertheless, they can result in serious consequences if you do not take steps to defend yourself.  Many defenses exist that can help disprove domestic battery charges, including:

  • Lack of documented injuries,
  • Eye-witness testimony,
  • Self-defense,
  • Defense of others,
  • Defense of property, and
  • Lack of evidence.

Evidence of a valid legal defense can negate an element of the charged offense and benefit your case. Having an attorney in your corner to represent your interests during negotiations with the prosecutor can give you a better chance of having your charges reduced or dismissed.

How Does a Domestic Battery Charge Affect My Future?

A domestic battery conviction can impact your current employment status and your ability to find a different job in the future. Additionally, the conviction causes permanent damage to your reputation at your workplace and within your community. The conviction may cause others to believe that you struggle with anger or violent outbursts. Some people may cut you out of their lives entirely after a domestic violence accusation. 

If you are going through a divorce, a domestic battery charge can affect the court’s custody determination, resulting in less time with your child. Hiring an experienced lawyer can help you minimize the long-term impact of a domestic battery arrest.

What Should I Do After a Domestic Battery Charge?

Many people do not know what to do when facing domestic battery charges. Our team offers some guidance for handling the moments following the accusations.

Avoid Contact With Your Accuser

You should not try to contact the person who accused you of domestic battery. This includes trying to send them a message on social media or through a third party. Contacting the alleged victim can make things worse by resulting in more criminal charges.

You will likely need to make alternative living arrangements until the domestic violence case is resolved. Moving out of a shared residence can decrease the tension between you and the alleged victim, preventing further disagreements.   

Preserve Relevant Information

You should preserve any evidence that paints a picture of what happened during the domestic dispute. For example, if an objective witness can testify that you were in a separate location at the time the alleged victim claims you assaulted them, keep their name and contact information handy to provide to your attorney. Other examples of relevant evidence to a domestic violence allegation include:

  • Cell phone video footage,
  • Statements from eyewitnesses,
  • Body-worn camera footage from responding officers, and
  • Statements from those familiar with the relationship.

Any evidence that contradicts the accusations against you is relevant to the case.

Contact a Lawyer Before Talking to Police

You should not participate in an interview with law enforcement officers without your domestic violence attorney present. Police officers can lie and give you false information to pressure you into making a false confession.

Remember, police officers are only interested in pinning the charges on someone. A defense lawyer can accompany you to police interviews and prevent you from incriminating yourself. 

What Is Considered Domestic Battery? Contact Moses and Rooth Today to Find Out

At Moses and Rooth Attorneys at Law, we know what it takes to defend our clients against accusations of domestic battery. Our founding attorneys Andrew Moses and Jay R. Rooth are former prosecutors who are fully aware of the tactics used by prosecutors in domestic violence cases.

Our team can provide unique insight and sound advice to deliver the best possible outcome in your case. We strive to ensure that our clients know what to expect throughout the criminal process.

An attorney at Moses and Rooth is always available. Reach out to us today so we can start reviewing your case.

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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