Domestic violence cases can be difficult to handle. There can be a lot of ambiguity in terms of what happened, and what starts out as a normal conversation or argument, can quickly escalate into a situation. A compassionate lawyer will understand how difficult and overwhelming facing these charges can be. If you have been charged with a domestic violence offense in Boca Raton, having the guidance of an experienced family violence attorney is invaluable. A Boca Raton domestic violence lawyer can explore every option available to try and get the charges against you reduced or dropped. Speak with an attorney that you know will fight for a favorable resolution to your case. En Español.
Defining Family/Household Members
To convict someone on family violence charges, the prosecution must prove (1) the elements of the specific offense charged (e.g. assault) and (2) that the alleged victim is a family or household member of the accused.
Under Florida Statutes Section 741.28(3), “family or household member” means:
- Blood relatives
- People related by marriage
- Current or ex-spouses
- People who are presently residing in the same home as a family or who have previously resided together as a family
- People who have a child in common regardless of whether they were ever married
To meet the definition, family or household members must be currently living in the same household or have done so in the past. The one exception to this requirement is people who have a child in common.
Domestic Violence Offenses in Florida
Domestic violence includes a wide range of abusive behavior that occurs within the home or between family members. In Florida, domestic violence is not a crime by itself but instead refers to certain criminal acts committed by one family or household member against another. The following types of offenses can constitute domestic violence in Florida:
- Aggravated battery
- Sexual assault
- Sexual battery
- Aggravated stalking
- False imprisonment
- Any criminal offense that results in the physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member
Domestic violence crimes can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies. Penalties for acts of domestic violence will depend on the specific offense charged, the unique circumstances of the case, and whether the accused has a prior arrest record. For example, domestic battery is classified as a misdemeanor offense, but domestic aggravated assault is a felony. A Boca Raton domestic violence lawyer can attempt to mitigate the penalties that an individual might face.
Domestic violence cases are treated differently than other criminal charges in the following ways:
- A conviction for an act of domestic violence that causes bodily harm or injury requires a minimum sentence of five days in jail
- Mandatory completion of Batterer’s Intervention Program
- No right to post bond until the accused individual appears before a judge
- Often results in the imposition of no contact orders as a condition of release
Being charged with an act of domestic violence can also have negative consequences on pending or subsequent divorce or custody matters. Florida also allows a person to seek an injunction if they have been an alleged victim of family violence or has reasonable cause to believe that they are in imminent danger of becoming an alleged victim of domestic violence.
An injunction is a court order that prohibits someone from taking certain actions. Domestic violence injunctions often prohibit contact, restrict custody or visitation rights, require counseling, and impose other types of sanctions.
Speaking to a Lawyer
Retaining legal representation as early as possible can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Contact an attorney to discuss your defense options and learn how a Boca Raton domestic violence lawyer can help with your case.