Domestic violence, or domestic battery, is the assault or unlawful touching of a person who can be legally classified as a household or family member. Domestic violence is prosecuted harshly throughout the state, and penalties exceed that of “regular” assaults. Here are some frequently asked questions about the crime.

How is domestic violence defined?

Under Florida law, the crime occurs when you intentionally touch or strike another person without their consent. It also occurs when you intentionally cause bodily harm to another person. That person must be legally defined as a member of your household or family.

Who can be defined as family or household members?

Under 741.28 in the Florida Statutes, wives, husbands, ex-spouses, those related to you by blood or marriage, any individual living with you as family, those who have resided with you as family in the past, and any person with whom you have a child in common fits the definition.

What are the penalties for domestic violence?

When you are convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, you may be subject to up to one year in jail or 12 months of probation. You may also be required to pay $1,000 in fines. There are additional mandatory penalties due to the nature of the crime. These include five days of jail, completion of an intervention program, community service hours, a no contact order, and the loss of some civil liberties.

Can a domestic violence charge be expunged?

If you are charged with domestic violence in the state of Florida, it is impossible to have your record expunged. Florida statute says that anyone charged with the crime is ineligible to have their record expunged or sealed. If you plead to the charge, it will follow you for life. There are no exceptions.

How can the charge be defended against?

It is never advisable to defend yourself in court, but it is an especially poor decision if you have been charged with domestic violence. Some common defenses include self-defense, defense of others, and stand your ground. There are other possible defenses depending upon the facts of your case.

If you have been arrested for domestic violence, contact our offices as soon as possible. We have experienced attorneys who are ready to fight for you in court. Contact us now so that we can review the facts of your case and give you advice as how to proceed. Initial consultations are always free. Call now.

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