Understanding Domestic Violence Charges

In Florida, domestic violence is broadly defined as any criminal offense that results in an injury or death between two people who are relatives, family members, or who share the same household. Domestic violence can include assault, battery, sexual battery, stalking, kidnapping, or false imprisonment, as defined in FL Statute 741.28(2). Domestic violence charges carry significant penalties that will stay with you for the rest of your life. If you are facing a domestic violence charge, it is important to understand the penalties you will face if convicted. Learn more about domestic violence charges and their penalties below.

Who Can be Charged with Domestic Violence?

Only certain people can be charged with domestic violence as defined in Florida Statute 741.28(3). The defendant must be a family or household member of the alleged victim. They can be current or former spouses, relatives by blood or marriage, people living together as a family, or those who have children together (even if they do not live in the same house). Other than cases where two people have a child but do not reside together, all other relatives must currently live in the same household or have shared a dwelling in the past.

Types of Charges for Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is any criminal offense directed at a family or household member that results in an injury or threat of harm. There are several types of domestic violence charges you could face:


Battery is intentionally touching or striking another against their will, resulting in bodily harm or injury. Domestic battery is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, one year of probation, and a $1,000 fine.


Assault is when someone threatens a violent act against another. To be convicted, the court must prove that the defendant had the immediate ability to commit the act and that the alleged victim feared the violence would occur. These charges are first-degree misdemeanors and carry a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail if convicted.

Aggravated assault or battery

Assault and battery cases are classified as “aggravated” when a deadly weapon is used. Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony, and aggravated battery is a second-degree felony.

Battery by strangulation

Domestic battery that involves intentionally constricting the airways of another person, preventing them from breathing through their nose or mouth, faces harsher sentencing than simple or aggravated battery. Battery by strangulation is a third-degree felony.

Additional Penalties for Domestic Violence

Those convicted of domestic violence may face other penalties on top of their sentencing. If the alleged victim was injured during the incident, you could face a minimum jail sentence of 10 days for your first offense and up to 20 days for your third or subsequent offense. You may need to complete a Batterers’ Intervention program, as well. There may also be temporary injunctions or no-contact orders placed upon you, and you will lose your right to conceal carry a firearm. In addition, your record for assault or battery charges cannot be expunged, meaning these charges will stay on your criminal record.

Possible Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges

Domestic violence cases are complicated, with many underlying factors contributing to the altercation. Possible defenses for domestic violence charges include lack of evidence, absence of injuries on the alleged victim, or an unintentional injury. Another common defense is that the alleged victim’s injury was an act of defense against yourself, others, or your property. Or, it may be revealed that the alleged victim made a false claim to get back at an ex-partner. Improper procedures or case handling could also affect the legitimacy of the case and be used in the defense.

Facing Domestic Violence Charges? Contact an Orlando Defense Attorney

Criminal defense attorney Alison M. Lopes works with you to understand the complicated matters of your case and fights for your rights. When faced with the possibility of a domestic violence conviction, it is vital to contact a lawyer immediately. The outcome of your case could affect the rest of your life. Do not wait to seek representation in your case. Call our office at 407-442-2724 to schedule a consultation.