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Domestic Assault and Battery

Domestic violence defense attorney Tallahassee, Florida

Domestic violence encompasses a variety of violent actions towards a family or household member. Assault and battery are two criminal offenses that are considered domestic crimes when they are committed against a family member, household member, or person in a dating relationship.

When it comes to accusations of domestic assault or domestic battery, there is enormous pressure on law enforcement and court officials to err on the side of protecting the alleged victim. However, it is possible for false and exaggerated claims to occur in these cases.

In many of these cases, the alleged victim becomes frustrated with the prosecution and decides they want the charges dropped. Prosecutors will often fight to the bitter end, but if the victim doesn’t want to prosecute, they can have a very difficult time at trial. Finding a qualified Tallahassee criminal defense lawyer who can provide you with legal guidance is paramount for fighting against these charges against you.

Attorney for Domestic Violence in Tallahassee, FL

Hiring an experienced domestic violence defense attorney in Tallahassee is very important if you have been accused of these crimes in Florida. The attorneys at Pumphrey Law understand Florida’s domestic violence laws and have successfully defended clients facing these charges.

Pumphrey Law represents adults and juveniles accused of this crime in Tallahassee, Monticello, Midway, Bristol, Quincy, and nearby areas. Call (850) 681-7777 or send an online message today to discuss your defense options during an open and free consultation with our legal team.

Domestic Assault Information Center

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Domestic Assault and Battery Charges in Florida

Domestic violence is a broad term defined under Florida Statute Section 741.28 as any of the following criminal offenses committed against a family or household member that results in physical injury or death:

A “family or household” member refers to any spouse, ex-spouses, other people related by blood or marriage, people who are currently residing together as if family, people who have resided together in the past as if family, and people who share a child in common, regardless of marriage status.

Assault is an offense outlined under Florida Statute Section 784.011. A person can face an assault charge without even touching another person.

To convict a defendant of an assault charge, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The defendant intentionally and unlawfully threatened, either by word or by act, to commit violence to the alleged victim;
  2. At the time of the offense, the defendant appeared to have the ability to carry out such threat; and
  3. The defendant’s actions created a well-founded fear in the victim that violence was going to occur.

Under Florida Statute Section 784.021, a person can face charges for aggravated assault for an assault incident that either:

  • Involved the use of a deadly weapon without the intent to kill; or
  • Had the intent to commit a felony offense.

Battery is an offense outlined under Florida Statute Section 784.03. A person can face a battery charge for the intentional touching of another person.

To convict a defendant of a battery charge, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The defendant actually and intentionally touched or struck the victim against their will; and
  2. The defendant intentionally caused bodily harm to the victim.

Under Florida Statute Section 784.045, a person can face charges for aggravated battery for a battery incident that involves:

  • The use of a deadly weapon; or
  • The intentional cause of great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement.

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Penalties for Assault and Battery in Florida

In Florida, those accused of domestic assault and battery are generally prosecuted under the standard assault and battery laws. However, there may be additional penalties and restrictions for those convicted of an assault or battery charge that is classified as a domestic violence case.

A standard assault charge is considered a second-degree misdemeanor, with a conviction resulting in:

  • Up to 60 days in jail; and
  • Up to $500 in fines.

Aggravated assault is considered a third-degree felony, with a conviction resulting in:

  • Up to five years in prison; and
  • Up to $5,000 in fines.

A standard battery charge is considered a first-degree misdemeanor, with a conviction resulting in:

  • Up to a year in jail; and
  • Up to $1,000 in fines.

Aggravated battery is considered a second-degree felony, with a conviction resulting in:

  • Up to 15 years in prison; and
  • Up to $10,000 in fines.

Important: You could also be charged with other offenses such as domestic battery by strangulation, which is classified as a third-degree felony in Florida.

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Additional Penalties for Domestic Assault and Battery

Florida law provides additional penalties for assault and battery cases where the alleged victim is considered as family, a household member, or in a dating relationship with the alleged offender.

What makes convictions for a domestic violence crime different from other assault and battery convictions are the additional penalties and restrictions for the accused person. If arrested for these charges, you will not be able to immediately bond out of jail. Additionally, you may be ordered to avoid contact with the victim or have the arrest be used against you in divorce or other family law proceedings. A conviction for any domestic violence offense, even a misdemeanor, means you will be barred from owning guns for life by federal law.

Domestic assault and battery cases are also NOT eligible for record sealing.

Under Florida Statute Section 741.283, a person who is found guilty of a domestic violence crime that involved intentionally causing bodily harm to another person shall be given a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 days in the county jail. For a second offense, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 days, and 20 days for a third or subsequent offense.

Under Florida Statute Section 741.281, a person who is found guilty of, has adjudication withheld on, or pleads nolo contendere to a crime of domestic violence will be ordered to a minimum 1-year term of probation, along with the completion of a batterers’ intervention program at their own expense.

Important: In domestic violence cases, the decision of whether to press charges and follow through with prosecuting the case falls on the State Attorney and the courts, not the alleged domestic violence victim. However, if the alleged victim does not wish for the case to be prosecuted, this may be presented as a mitigating circumstance to the prosecution and the court.

Contact the office of Pumphrey Law Firm if you have any questions regarding the charges against you or the potential penalties for a conviction.

Defenses to Crimes of Domestic Violence

While a domestic violence charge has dire consequences, there are several defense strategies that may be applicable to help you fight against a conviction, including:

  • Factual disputes – The details of the alleged assault or battery incident may be disputed to challenge the evidence or credibility of the victim or witnesses.
  • Self-defense – A defendant who was acting in self-defense due to them fearing for their own safety, a defense attorney may be able to use this as a defense.
  • Defense of others – A defendant who was acting in defense of others who were in fear of their safety can have a defense attorney use this as a defense.
  • Consent – A defense attorney may be able to challenge the charges if the alleged victim consented to the act.
  • Vindictive victim – In some cases, the alleged victim may have had a motive to exaggerate or report a false incident. A defense attorney can help argue this as a defense.

Call the defense attorneys with Pumphrey Law to receive a free consultation to go over your case details.

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Finding A Domestic Assault Attorney in Leon County, Florida

If you have been arrested for domestic assault or domestic battery in Leon County, contact Pumphrey Law Firm to discuss the facts of your case.

There may be defenses to the charges you face, and finding an experienced lawyer who is familiar with Florida’s legal procedures is your best option to avoid the penalties and social stigma that come with a domestic violence conviction.

The Criminal Defense attorneys at Pumphrey Law will aggressively fight for you, with our end goal being to get your charges reduced or even dismissed entirely. Call us at (850) 681-7777 for your free consultation today.

Page updated on January 30, 2024

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