Dawn Meikle, aged 55, was arrested in Port St. Lucie, Florida, after law enforcement officials report she got in a physical confrontation with her husband for cutting the cheese in bed. Meikle’s husband alleged that she eventually kicked him out of bed and began another round of elbowing and kicking. Meikle’s husband attempted to restrain her “for his own safety” and he accidently split open her lip. He also alleges he sustained scratches on his chest during the incident. Meikle was taken into police custody and arrested for battery.
Confrontations between spouses happen and sometimes they escalate into violence. While this may seem to be an amusing story, the accused could have faced much more serious charges of domestic violence battery under under Florida law.
Florida Law Takes Domestic Violence Seriously
Under Florida law, Domestic Violence Battery occurs when there is intentional touching or striking of another person without consent or intentionally causing bodily harm to another person, when the other person is a family or household member. While the law obviously applies to spouses, it also applies to other members of a household. This is because Florida law defines ‘family or household member’ broadly and includes the following:
- Former Spouses
- Biological relatives
- Unrelated people who live together (e.g. roommates)
- Anyone who has lived together in the past
- Individuals who have a child in common
The statute is clear that family and household members must be currently living in the same home or have lived in the same home in the past. The only exception to this rule is for individuals who have a child in common, even if they were never married. This means confrontations between housemates and other guests that escalate can be covered under Florida’s domestic violence laws.
Domestic Violence Battery Carries a Stronger Penalty
Domestic Battery is a first-degree misdemeanor. Penalties for domestic battery include up to one year in jail or twelve months probation, and fines up to $1,000. Because the battery happened within the context of domestic violence, the accused may face additional mandatory penalties and requirements which include:
- A required Batterer’s Intervention Program;
- Twelve months of probation;
- Five days in jail when there is a guilty finding and bodily injury occurred (See Section 741.283, Florida Statutes);
- Mandatory community service hours;
- Restrictions under a no contact order.
Contact an Attorney
Domestic violences charges are serious. Without exception, Florida law does not allow anyone who has been convicted of domestic violence to seal or expunge the charge from their criminal records. This means that a domestic violence battery charge will follow you for a life. If a seemingly wacky, or funny, situation got out of control and you find yourself facing domestic violence battery charges, contact Moses & Rooth. We understand that at lot is at stake with this charge and we can advocated for you to ensure you get the best result possible. Contact us today at 407-377-0150 to schedule an appointment.