A crime is considered domestic in nature if the victim is a person classified by statute as a family or household member.
A Domestic Violence (DV) Battery is different from a regular Battery with different penalties and prosecutors treat the cases differently considering the relationship between the victim and the Defendant. Most jurisdictions and State Attorney’s Offices in Florida even have separate specially assigned prosecutors for Domestic Violence cases to ensure the victims have input in the cases disposition.
Florida Statute 741.28 provides the definitions of both “Domestic Violence” and Family or Household Member”
“Domestic Violence” – “any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.”
“Family or Household Member” – “spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married.”
The statute requires that the family or household member must be currently residing or have resided together in the past with the only exception being for persons who have a child in common.
Depending on the type of Domestic Violence the crime can either be a felony or a misdemeanor.
A misdemeanor Domestic Violence charge is classified as first-degree, punishable by:
1 year in jail; or
There can be a required minimum amount of jail depending on the facts
1 year of probation; and
Additional conditions may include:
Completion of a 27-week Batters Intervention Program (BIP)
Community service hours
Anger Management classes
No contact order
Different defenses are available depending on the facts of the case, however, not every case will have a defense. The defenses can be legal or factual in nature such as:
Factual disputes about what actually happen;