| Read Time: 4 minutes | Domestic Violence
How Long Can You Go to Jail for Domestic Violence in Florida

Florida has strict domestic violence laws that allow a judge to send someone to jail for a long time. But just how long you spend in jail depends on the underlying charge.

Domestic violence is always charged alongside another crime, such as domestic violence assault or battery—and even some of these underlying charges can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony.

If you get charged with a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, you will face up to a year in jail. If the State charges you with felony domestic violence, such as felony domestic violence battery, and the judge sentences you to incarceration, you’d be in prison for at least a year, potentially longer up to the maximum penalty for the charge. 

So, how long can you go to jail for domestic violence? The answer is that it depends on the underlying charge. And remember that getting charged does not mean you are guilty. The State must prove the charges, and the best way to get the strongest defense possible is by working with a skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable lawyer from Moses & Rooth.

At Moses & Rooth, our lawyers are former prosecutors with decades of real courtroom experience fighting for justice. They understand what you are up against and can plan a defense strategy to fit your needs.

How Much Jail Time for Domestic Violence in Florida?

So, how long can you be in jail for domestic violence? The answer is not always straightforward because there are many factors that figure into sentencing.

Domestic violence offenses carry minimum mandatory jail or prison sentences under Florida law. But you are not guaranteed to get only the minimum sentence after a guilty finding. The judge can give you up to the statutory maximum. But, a skilled and aggressive defense lawyer could argue that the court should put you on probation instead of incarcerating you beyond the minimum mandatory jail term. 

According to Florida’s domestic violence law, the minimum jail sentences are as follows:

  • Ten days for a first offense,
  • Fifteen days for a second offense, and
  • Twenty days for a third or subsequent offense.

The minimum sentences increase if your child witnesses the offense. In those circumstances, the minimum penalties are as follows:

  • Fifteen days for a first offense,
  • Twenty days for a second offense, and
  • Thirty days for a third or subsequent offense.

A child is a person under 16 years of age, according to Florida’s domestic violence laws.

Keep in mind that the above penalties are only the minimum. You could get up to the maximum sentence for the crime charged. For example, you could go to jail for one year for a misdemeanor battery conviction. 

Do Not Face Domestic Violence Charges Alone

If you are facing charges for domestic violence, you need an attorney by your side to fight for your rights. Contact Moses & Rooth today for help forming a defense against your charges.

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What Is the Sentence for Domestic Violence?

There are additional penalties beyond jail time as well. If you get convicted, Florida’s domestic violence laws require the judge to impose one year of probation and order you to attend and complete a certified batterers’ intervention program. The judge may also order you to complete community service hours or impose other conditions as part of your probation. 

The court can place you on probation instead of a jail or prison sentence beyond the required minimum mandatory sentences.

However, the law authorizes a judge to sentence you to a term of imprisonment greater than the minimum mandatory sentence and put you on probation as well.

In addition to a jail or prison sentence for domestic violence, you could face additional consequences of a domestic violence conviction, including the following:

  • Lifetime criminal record,
  • Loss of the right to possess a firearm and ammunition,
  • Loss of voting rights, and 
  • Possible immigration consequences for non-citizens, even if you are here legally.

In short, the consequences of a domestic violence conviction can permanently alter your life. Don’t let that happen without a fight. Call the domestic violence defense lawyers from Moses & Rooth immediately to plan a winning defense strategy.

What Is Domestic Violence?

What exactly is domestic violence? Under Florida law, domestic violence refers to the crimes of: 

  • Assault,
  • Aggravated assault,
  • Battery,
  • Aggravated battery,
  • Sexual assault,
  • Sexual battery,
  • Stalking,
  • Aggravated stalking, 
  • Kidnapping,
  • False imprisonment, or
  • An offense that results in physical injury or death of one family or household member against another.

A family or household member refers to

  • Spouses,
  • Former spouses,
  • People related by blood or by marriage,
  • People presently living together as if a family,
  • People who once lived together as if they were a family, and
  • The parents of a child, irrespective if they were never married.

Except for people who have a child together, family or household members must currently live together or have resided together in the past in the same dwelling unit. 

Why You Need a Tough Defense Lawyer for Your Domestic Violence Charges

A domestic violence arrest launches you into the criminal justice system, even if you have no prior criminal record. Many alleged victims later decide that they want to drop the charges, and people often believe that if the victim wants to drop the charges that they will automatically be dismissed. However, that is not the case.

Even if the alleged victim recants their story, the prosecutor is the person who decides if they go forward with the case or not. Florida law requires each state attorney’s office to train prosecuting attorneys in domestic violence cases.

As a result, these lawyers have extensive experience dealing with the difficulties domestic violence cases present. Prosecutors fight vigorously to protect domestic violence victims even when the alleged victim wants the charges dropped, has a fifth amendment privilege not to testify, or does not appear in court.

Typically, the prosecutor will still go forward with the case if there is enough independent evidence, outside of the victim’s statement, to support a guilty verdict. 

With so much on the line, why would you take your chances with an inexperienced lawyer? At Moses & Rooth, our lawyers are former prosecutors who have fought for justice in domestic violence cases as prosecutors and defense attorneys. They understand the complexities of these cases and can help you know what to expect. 

Facing Jail Time For Domestic Violence? Contact Us Today

Call Moses & Rooth at 407-377-0150 for a free consultation. We are always prepared to defend your rights. We’ve handled some of the most complex and difficult cases in Central Florida. Contact our award-winning attorneys today.

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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