Domestic Violence Classification
What is Domestic Violence in Florida?
With the exception of Domestic Battery by Strangulation, Domestic Violence is not a Florida criminal offense that exists all by itself. Rather, prosecutors classify certain existing Florida criminal offenses such as battery or assault as domestic violence in order to add additional consequences to a conviction.
When does the domestic violence classification apply?
Domestic violence occurs between family members or household members. Husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, persons living together as a family, and persons who are parents of the same child could be involved in a domestic violence case.
What are the consequences of a domestic violence conviction?
In addition to the penalties applicable to the particular criminal offense, a person that is convicted of an offense with the domestic violence classification will face the following consequences:
- If the Defendant is adjudicated guilty, the law instructs the judge to sentence the Defendant to a minimum 5 days in jail where “bodily harm” has been shown;
- The Defendant must complete a domestic violence program;
- The Defendant may not seal or expunge his or her domestic violence record;
- Under federal law the Defendant will lose his or her right to possess a firearm;
- The state will revoke the Defendant’s concealed weapon’s permit.
What are some Defenses to an offense classified as Domestic Violence?
- The Florida Stand Your Ground Law
Under the Florida Stand Your Ground Law a person is justified in using force or a threat of force against another if the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend him or herself against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force.
- Self Defense
If a jury, or in the case of a bench trial, the judge, were to find that there was a reasonable doubt as to whether or not a person was justified in using force or a threat of force to protect himself or herself, then the jury or judge should find the person not guilty.
- The Witnesses are Lying
Alleged victims and witnesses in Domestic Violence cases sometimes make false accusations because they have a motive to lie. For example, child custody issues, cheating in a relationship, and other conflicts can motivate a person to claim Domestic Violence occurred when it did not. A Defense Attorney can expose these motivations and attack false allegations.
A Common Question Regarding a Domestic Violence Charge
- Does the State Have to Dismiss the Domestic Violence Charge if the Victim Decides Not To Prosecute?
No. Although the victim can request that the State Attorney’s Office not prosecute, the decision whether or not to prosecute is up to the prosecutor. If the prosecutor can prove the case using other witnesses, videos, photos, or a 911 call, they will normally proceed with the case with or without the victim.
Are you looking for the best lawyer for a Domestic Violence charge in Tampa Florida? Contact Attorney David C. Hardy.
Tampa Attorney David C. Hardy is a former prosecutor that now represents persons accused of Domestic Violence charges. He is Board Certified by the Florida Bar and the National Board of Trial Advocacy as an Expert in Criminal Trial Law. As a prosecutor and defense attorney, he has extensive experience handling all types of Domestic Violence cases.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for Domestic Violence in Hillsborough County Florida, Pinellas County Florida, or Pasco County Florida, Attorney David C. Hardy has the knowledge, skills, and experience to guide you through this process and obtain the best possible results.