The state of Florida takes a hard-line stance on the issue of domestic violence. The laws put in place are well meaning and attempt to punish individuals who recklessly engage in violent acts at home. Unfortunately, domestic violence cases can also be a politically charged issue that is prior to aggressive prosecution and subjective evidence. This means that some of those who have been accused of such crimes may not be getting a fair opportunity to argument their case or refute the false or exaggerated statements that may have come from an overly emotional spouse.
One of the most important things you can do if ever presented with such a scenario is to develop a strong understanding of the laws governing domestic violence and assault while working with a criminal defense attorney who can make sure that you are taking every precaution necessary in finding a favorable solution. Understanding your rights during this difficult time will make the process much simpler and more straightforward, allowing you to focus on what is important without the worry that you are being taken advantage of by those looking to prosecute.
Under Florida law, "domestic violence" means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprimination, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.
In this definition, "family or household member" refers to spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are currently residing together as if a family or who have lived together in the past as if family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married. With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past shared together in the same single dwelling unit.
For domestic assault in particular, you need to understand how Florida law defines assault. Considering that there is not an actual "domestic assault" charge, an individual accused of this crime will be charged with simple assault.
According to Fla. Stat. §784.011, assault is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.
Domestic assault is considered a second-degree misdemeanor in Florida. This charge, if convicted, comes with a presumptive termination of up to sixty day in jail and / or up to $ 500 in fines.
In addition to the penalcies listed, Florida goes a step further by passing a law that requires anyone convicted of a crime that states domestic violence to serve a minimum of five days in county jail if they intentionally caused bodily harm. This sentence requirement is waived if the defender is sentenced to a prison term in a state correctional facility. In addition to the five days, courts can include a longer jail sentence, a probationary period and community service.
Having a strong understanding of the state laws regarding domestic violence in Florida should enable you to approach the allegation in a productive manner, helping you excuse your case and make sure that your rights are protected. A domestic violence accusation has the potential to turn your life upside down, so having a game plan is vital in getting these charges reduced or dismissed and moving on with your life.