Assault And Battery in Domestic Violence Cases
Domestic violence has many different definitions. Florida Statute 741.28 defines domestic violence as “any assault, battery, sexual assault, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another who is or was residing in the same single dwelling unit”. (source)
It is against the law to physically hurt another adult, no matter how the two people are related. Every survivor of domestic abuse has a right under Florida law to be protected. There are two kinds of courts that handle domestic violence: Criminal Court and Civil Court.
Civil Court hears non-criminal matters such as divorce, child custody and Injunctions for Protection (This court, for example, may order a parent to pay child support, or it may order that the children not be removed from the state without approval of the court. If a civil order is not obeyed, the judge may hold a violator in contempt of court, which may result in a fine and/or imprisonment. Injunctions for Protection can also be enforced by the police.
Criminal Court hears crimes such as assault or battery. The police may arrest anyone who commits a crime. Abusers arrested for domestic violence will be held without bond for up to 24 hours so that an advisory hearing can take place. The State Attorney will determine at that time if there is sufficient evidence to prosecute the case. Survivors have the right to attend any hearings and should be notified of what is happening in the case by the State Attorney. If offenders plead guilty, or are convicted of a crime, they can be sentenced to jail, probation, counseling, batter’s intervention program (BIP), payment of a fine, court costs, or ordered to make restitution to the victim of the crime. Criminal violations of a civil Injunction for Protection may be enforced by both the police and the Criminal Court.
Florida’s crime laws define domestic violence as specified types of violence committed against a family or household member (source). In particular, an individual can commit domestic violence against a spouse, ex-spouse, the co-parent of the individual’s child, or a relative related to the individual by blood or marriage. Florida laws also protect against domestic violence occurring between individuals who currently cohabitate or who formerly cohabitated together in the same household.
The types of crimes qualifying as domestic violence under Florida law include assault and aggravated assault, battery and aggravated battery, sexual assault and sexual battery, stalking and aggravated stalking, kidnapping, and others. The criminal offense charged for a domestic violence incident depends on the specific circumstances and events. For example, a threat of physical harm might become an assault charge, while physical contact or injury might become a battery charge. If a prosecutor can establish one of the aggravating factors set by Florida state laws, the state may pursue a charge such as aggravated assault or aggravated battery, which results in prosecution of the offense as a felony and entails a more severe punishment.
In addition, Florida recognizes the issue of violence committed between two persons in a current or former dating relationship. To meet the state’s definition of a dating relationship, the two people must have participated in a romantic, intimate, or sexual relationship. The state issues injunctions to individuals who can prove an immediate danger or injury within a dating relationship. The state may prosecute a defendant who violates an injunction.
Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges
Penalties and Sentences
Florida domestic violence laws specifically include a minimum punishment of five days served in county jail. The court can also sentence a convicted offender to a period of imprisonment in Florida state prison. Alternatively, state laws permit the court to decide on a sentence of probation or community service.
Additionally, a state prosecutor can charge a perpetrator of domestic violence with other criminal offenses established by Florida law. For example, a domestic violence incident may result in charges of assault and battery. Domestic violence may be charged as an assault, which is a second degree misdemeanor, or aggravated assault, which is a third degree felony. Battery may be charged as a first degree misdemeanor or as a third degree felony. Misdemeanor sentences range from a maximum of sixty days to one year, while a third degree felony conviction may result in a sentence of imprisonment for a term lasting up to five years. A domestic violence incident charged as a second degree felony can lead to a sentence of imprisonment for up to fifteen years.
If a victim of domestic violence had an injunction or restraining order in place against the defendant, the state may prosecute a violation of the order as a first degree misdemeanor. A conviction for a first degree misdemeanor may result in a sentence of imprisonment for up to one year.
West Palm Beach Aggravated Battery Defense Attorney
At the law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., in West Palm Beach, Florida, we represent people charged with aggravated battery and assault. Circumstances leading to this charge include assault or battery involving:
- Victims over the age 64
- Victims under the age of 18
- Severe injuries, such as broken bones, serious scars, or disfigurement
If you were charged with aggravated battery, it is important to contact a lawyer that understands the seriousness of the charge and knows how to defend against it. At Andrew D. Stine, P.A., we have extensive experience representing people charged with aggravated assault and battery. Our defense team reviews the evidence and conducts private investigations in order to find holes in the prosecution’s case.
In Florida criminal law, a motive to hurt another individual is a major factor in the prosecution’s case. If you had no motive to seriously injure another person, the charges can be reduced or dropped. Attorney Andrew Stine has handled many aggravated battery and assault cases. He can often identify the true motive behind the charge, including lying to win a child custody battle or property dispute.
Free consultation 24/7: Call West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine, P.A. at (561) 832-1170. Se habla español.