In Florida, domestic battery involves the touching or causing of bodily harm to somebody else where the victim and perpetrator have a particular relationship. The particular relationship must be one of family or household member. Although domestic battery is a first degree misdemeanor, it’s a serious charge that can have a wide array of consequences, including injunctions. If you are charged with domestic battery, an knowledgeable St. Petersburg domestic violence attorney can help you navigate the legal system. At Hanlon Law, we have many years of experience fighting for the accused.Domestic Battery
In Florida, domestic battery is a first degree misdemeanor and if you are convicted, you may face a maximum of a year in jail or 12 months’ probation, plus a fine of $1000. There are also other noncriminal consequences. For example, a conviction could affect a child custody arrangement. Repeat offenses can have greater consequences.
In order to obtain a conviction for domestic battery, the prosecutor will need to show: (1) actual or intentional touching or striking, (2) of someone else, (3) without consent or intentionally inflicting bodily harm on another, (4) when the struck person is a family or household member. The prosecutor can only get the conviction for domestic battery if he can show the proper relationship between victim and perpetrator.
A family or household member under Florida Statutes section 741.28 exists between spouses, blood relatives, ex-spouses, relatives through marriage, those living as family members, those living together as family members previously, and those who share a child even if they are or were unmarried at the time of conception, birth, or currently. Co-parents don’t need to have ever lived together in order to have a qualifying relationship. However, other family or household members must be living together currently, or must have lived together in the past in one dwelling unit.Defenses and Penalties
If you’re convicted of domestic battery, you will face mandatory penalties because of the domestic nature of the offense. These include probation for 12 months, community service, loss of your concealed carry rights, a requirement that you complete a 26-week Batterer’s Intervention Program, and 5 days of required jail time if you’re found guilty and there was bodily injury. The court can decide not to impose the intervention program, but it should say on the record why you shouldn’t qualify for it under section 741.325.
You shouldn’t assume a conviction is assured because you’re charged with domestic battery. However, a conviction can have far-reaching consequences. You are not eligible to have your record sealed or expunged in a domestic battery case, regardless of whether adjudication is withheld. This means if you plead guilty, you’ll have a record for the crime, without exception. You should not enter a guilty plea without discussing your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
There are various defenses you may be able to raise of which you may not currently be aware. These can include challenging the credibility of the alleged victim, lack of injuries, lac of evidence to corroborate allegations of battery, self-defense, defense of property, defense of others, Stand Your Ground, and consensual confrontation or mutual combat. Still, these types of cases can be complicated and may involve alcohol abuse, mental health problems, a pending divorce or child custody dispute, spiteful family or friends, and injunctions. It’s important to choose an attorney who understands how much hangs in the balance in this context and has the experience to mount a strong defense.Retain a Skilled Domestic Violence Attorney in St. Petersburg
A domestic battery conviction can affect many areas of your life, including your divorce or your ability to have contact with your child, and it carries social stigma as well. If you are concerned about domestic battery allegations in St. Petersburg, you should talk to a seasoned criminal defense lawyer. At Hanlon Law, our founder Will Hanlon has provided strong strategic defenses to the accused since 1994. Please contact Hanlon Law at 727.897.5413 or via our online form.