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An Overview of Florida’s Domestic Violence Laws

In Florida, the crime of Domestic Battery can be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on whether or not the accused has a prior conviction for battery or the accused falls into one of the special crimes like domestic battery by strangulation. Domestic battery refers to the touching or striking of another person against that person’s will; with both individuals being family members, household members, in a dating relationship, in a romantic relationship.

Simple battery occurs in Florida, when a person actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other or intentionally causes bodily harm to another person. Domestic battery compromises one of the prior battery elements; coupled with the “special relationship” element described in the prior paragraph, as between the parties. Simple battery and domestic battery are both First Degree Misdemeanors in the State of Florida if it is the first offense lodged against the accused and no special circumstance like “strangulation” is noted.

Simple battery, like domestic battery, is generally a first degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one year in jail. With domestic battery having additionally penalties specially articulated in Florida law. The special conditions of domestic battery are contained within the provisions of probation, as spelled out under Florida law, which include but are not limited to: specialized classes, no contact orders with the victim, community service hours, counseling and other requirements that must be completed as part of any probationary sentence handed down by a sentencing judge.

In Florida, there are also special statutory conditions that can elevate or enhance a misdemeanor battery of “domestic” or “simple” to a felony battery. Under Florida law, a simple battery or a domestic battery can easily be charged as a felony battery, punishable as a Third Degree Felony, with a maximum punishment of five years in jail, if the person arrested for simple or domestic battery has “one prior conviction” for battery, aggravated battery, or felony battery.

For the purpose of the word “conviction” under the enhanced Florida felony battery statute, it means the accused was determined to be guilty, which resulted from a plea or a trial, regardless of whether adjudication is withheld or a plea of nolo contendere is entered. The time of the last conviction for battery, domestic battery or felony battery is of no issue under this enhanced provision of Florida law.

Furthermore, a person commits a third degree felony under Florida Law if the accused commits domestic battery by strangulation when the accused knowingly and intentionally, against the will of another, impedes the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of a family or household member or of a person with whom he or she is in a dating relationship, so as to create a risk of or cause great bodily harm by applying pressure on the throat or neck of the other person or by blocking the nose or mouth of the other person. In Florida a third degree felony is punishable by up to five years in the Department of Corrections.

If you or a loved one have been arrested, accused or indicted on a crime of domestic battery, felony battery or domestic battery by “strangulation” then you need to contact a seasoned criminal defense attorney. West Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer Andrew D. Stine has been protecting those accused of domestic battery in Palm Beach County since 2001. Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer Andrew D. Stine has put together a formula for success and a road map to success for those accused of all crimes of battery. Hire Stine or Do the Time!

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