domestic battery

Understanding Domestic Battery Charges

Domestic battery charges are serious and often come with severe, long-term consequences. If you are facing a domestic battery charge in Florida, it is vital that you speak with a criminal law attorney right away to help defend you. Here is what you should know about domestic battery charges.

What is domestic battery? 

Domestic battery is defined in Florida Statute 741.28. The statute states that domestic battery is any intentional touching or striking that caused a bodily injury to a family or household member. Domestic violence means any assault, aggravated assault, sexual assault, stalking and aggravated stalking, kidnapping, and false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death to a family or household member by another family or household member. The law also specifies other criminal offenses that result in a physical injury or death to a family or household member.

Who can press domestic battery charges?

The Florida Statute 741.28 defines a family or household member as one of the following: 

● Spouse

● Former spouse

● Relative by blood or marriage 

● People living together as a family

● People who lived together as a family in the past 

● Parents of common children, even if they do not live together 

Consequences for domestic battery charges 

Domestic battery charges are severe and can have life-long impacts if convicted. A first offense domestic battery charge is considered a first-degree misdemeanor and requires a minimum of 10 days in jail. The second offense comes with a minimum 15-day sentence. Third and subsequent offenses come with a minimum of 20 days in jail. You may also be placed on probation for at least one year. If a minor under 16 was present when the incident occurred, the consequences are more severe, starting with a minimum of 15 days in jail for the first offense, then increasing to 20 and 30 days for the second and third offenses. 

Those found guilty of domestic battery must also complete a 26-week batter’s intervention course (also called counseling). If you plead guilty or no contest to a domestic battery charge, you cannot expunge or seal your criminal record; it will stay on your record for the rest of your life. If you are not a US citizen and are charged with domestic battery, you may be deported. Domestic battery with strangulation is a third-degree felony and carries up to five years in prison, five years probation, and a $5,000 fine. There are other consequences, such as losing your concealed carry permit. 

What to do if you are charged with domestic battery

If you are facing a domestic battery charge, it is crucial that you get in touch with an experienced criminal lawyer right away. Pleading to a domestic battery charge can have life-long consequences, so do not plead your case before speaking with a lawyer. A criminal law attorney will review your case and work with you to build your defense. Some possible defenses for domestic battery charges include self-defense, defending others or property, discovering inaccuracies about the incident, or no evidence of a physical injury. An attorney will work with you to determine the best line of defense based on your case. 

Facing domestic battery charges? Contact Alison M. Lopes

Alison M. Lopes is an experienced criminal and trial law attorney serving clients throughout Central Florida. Domestic battery charges are serious and should not be taken lightly. If you are facing a domestic battery charge, call our office at 407-442-2724 to learn how we can help you.