If you are arrested or charged with a domestic violence-related crime in Florida, you will likely face incarceration if you are found guilty. Florida laws provide mandatory minimum jail terms for individuals who commit misdemeanor domestic battery of the first degree and more serious felony domestic violence charges. You may also be subject to additional fines, probation, and other consequences if found guilty of domestic violence.
You are not required, and should never have to defend yourself against these allegations and navigate the criminal court system alone. If you or a loved one has been charged with domestic violence in Florida, The Law Offices of Matthew Konecky criminal defense attorneys in Palm Beach County might be of assistance. An experienced domestic violence defense attorney may be able to help you in avoiding charges or a conviction, and to achieve a more favorable conclusion in your case.
What is Considered Domestic Violence in Florida?
Domestic violence in Florida is defined under Section 741.28 of the Florida Statutes. Domestic violence, according to the legislation, is defined as any of the following acts that cause physical damage or death to a family or household member of the accused:
- Aggravated assault
- Aggravated battery
- Sexual assault,
- Sexual battery,
- Aggravated stalking
- False imprisonment, or any other crime
Domestic Violence in Florida: Misdemeanor vs. Felony
Domestic abuse as a misdemeanor assault offense is essentially the threat of violence and carries a maximum sentence of 60 days in jail. Domestic battery is a first-degree misdemeanor with a potential sentence of one year in jail.
There are also numerous felonies, such as aggravated battery with a lethal weapon, aggravated violence based on substantial physical injury, aggravated battery on a pregnant female, and others. All of these accusations could be categorized as domestic violence, depending on the connection between the parties.
It should be emphasized that depending on the charge, all of these felonies entail a maximum term. As a result, third-degree felonies carry a maximum term of five years in jail, second-degree felonies a maximum of 15 years in prison, and first-degree felonies a maximum of 30 years in prison.
While these are all maximum punishments, it is important to note that very few persons are sentenced to the maximum penalty for any specific offense. The sentencing is based on the totality of the circumstances, such as the injuries in a specific case, a person's prior criminal history, and other factors. With the help of an experienced Florida domestic violence defense attorney, penalties can likely be reduced depending on the case. In many situations, your sentence might involve far more time in prison than the legal minimum, however, if this occurs in your case, we may be able to persuade the court to extend your sentence above the required minimum.
First Offense Domestic Violence Penalties in Florida
If you are charged with domestic violence for the first time in Florida, it's almost certain that you will be facing a first-degree misdemeanor conviction. A first-degree misdemeanor can result in up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine. Your first arrest may be traumatic. The good news is that first-time offenders are frequently handled more leniently depending on the case which can lead to a better conclusion. With the help of a first-time offender defense attorney in Palm Beach and Broward County, your lawyer can intervene and help convince the prosecution that your offense is a one-time event that will never occur again.
If the court determines that the offender purposefully inflicted physical harm, a statutory minimum sentence of 10 days in jail may be imposed. The penalty for your first offense of domestic violence includes a required minimum term of 15 days in jail if the alleged crime happened in the presence of a child under the age of 16 who is a family or household member of the victim or the accused.
Individuals convicted of domestic violence or who enter a no-contest plea to a crime of domestic violence must serve a minimum of one year on probation and must attend and finish a batterer's intervention program.
Domestic violence accusations are frequently dropped or reduced by an experienced Palm Beach County criminal defense attorney. Mandatory counseling or jail time may not be necessary in certain situations.
Domestic Violence Defense Attorney in Palm Beach County, FL
Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in West Palm Beach, FL if you or a loved one has been charged with a domestic violence-related crime, especially if it is the first offense. We also defend clients who have been issued with a domestic violence injunction for protection or victims who want domestic violence charges against a loved one dropped. Contact us or call us at (561) 671-5995 so we can review your case immediately.