In Focus: Domestic Violence Penalties

  • Jun 21 2018

Domestic violence charges carry serious penalties including imprisonment, probation, giving up any firearms you own, fines, and the damage to your reputation may last well into the future. In addition, you may be forced to leave your residence and be denied access to your children. With so much at stake, it is crucial to have an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner if you have been charged with domestic violence.

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence involves acts or threats of violence against any person with who the accused has or had a close relationship. Also referred to as “domestic assault” or “domestic battery” in Florida, domestic violence is defined as an intentional and actual touching or striking of a family or household member without his or her consent.

A household or family member includes current or former spouses, relatives by blood or marriage, individuals with a common child, people who reside in the same house or who have lived together as a family in the past. Additionally, domestic violence can be committed against a third party as a way to intimidate or harass a person with whom the accused has or had an intimate relationship, such as close friends or in-laws, and can also involve acts of vandalism.

Penalties for Domestic Violence

In Florida, domestic violence crimes are aggressively prosecuted, regardless of whether the victim withdraws the complaint or does not want to press charges. Domestic violence is considered a crime, not a personal affair, and charges can only be dropped by prosecutors working for the State of Florida.

Domestic violence can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, and a conviction can result in imprisonment, fines, court fees, probation, a permanent restraining order, mandatory enrollment in a domestic violence treatment program. You may also be required to forfeit your right to own or carry a gun or be denied visitation rights with your children.

In addition, the court typically issues a mandatory restraining order in a domestic violence case. This order bars the accused from having any contact with, or threatening or harming, the alleged victim. The court may also order the accused to vacate the family home, surrender his or her firearms, and refrain from consuming alcohol or illegal drugs. Violating a restraining order is a criminal offense that can lead to additional penalties, and the order may be made permanent if the accused has taken any action that poses a future threat to the victim.

The Takeaway

Given the harsh penalties for a domestic violence conviction and the long-lasting stigma that will tarnish your reputation, it is crucial to have proper legal representation. A skilled attorney can help you explore all your options, assert any defenses and protect your rights.

Posted in: Criminal