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Understanding Florida’s domestic violence laws

Florida law defines domestic violence as any violent action against a spouse or household member. Examples include but are not limited to aggravated assault, aggravated battery, sexual violence, stalking, kidnapping or false imprisonment.

Potential legal penalties for a domestic violence conviction vary based on the circumstances of the case.

Aggravated assault and battery

Domestic violence charged as aggravated assault typically involves a deadly weapon. Florida categorizes this crime as a third-degree felony when the offender attempts to commit aggravated assault.

Penalties for conviction include a minimum of five days and up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, and probation for up to five years. The mandatory minimum prison sentence increases to three years for a domestic aggravated assault involving a firearm.

Harming someone with a deadly weapon constitutes aggravated battery, a second-degree felony carries a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 15 years in prison.

Simple assault and battery

Threatening to injure a spouse or family member is a simple domestic assault, while actually doing so is simple battery. Simple assault is a second-degree misdemeanor that could result in five to 60 days in jail, a fine of up to $500, and probation for up to six months for a conviction. Simple battery is a first-degree misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year in prison.

Individuals facing domestic violence charges in Florida have legal recourse. An experienced attorney can advocate on a defendant’s behalf in court, whether he or she acted in self-defense or has fallen victim to a false accusation.

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