Domestic Battery in Florida

One of the most serious issues facing the State of Florida is the number of domestic battery cases that occur each and every year. Although we generally tend to think of domestic violence as a crime perpetrated by men against women, there are actually many types of situations in which this type of crime can and does occur. For example, one roommate might commit battery against another roommate; an individual may be arrested for hitting his or her sibling; or an adult child could commit a violent act against a parent. Many of these cases happen when one or both of the individuals involved are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

DBpic The vast majority of these domestic violence cases do not involve any injury to the victim and are prosecuted under Florida’s misdemeanor domestic battery, Florida Statute 741.28. The maximum penalty for misdemeanor battery is one year in county jail. However, it is important to know that police officers and prosecutors take all domestic violence cases very seriously. In most cases, if the police are called to a residence for some type of domestic violence, they will likely put the suspected offender in jail due to fear that the situation will escalate and lead to more serious violence after they depart. Police and prosecutors may also seek jail time or a prison sentence if the defendant has a history of domestic violence and has been arrested for similar crimes in the past.

Domestic Battery is defined by Florida Statute 741.28 as the following:

“Domestic violence” means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.”

In the next paragraph of the Statute, a family or household member is defined as follows:

“Family or household member” means spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married. With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit.

Additionally, when a person is arrested and sent to jail for domestic battery, he or she is not permitted to have any contact with the alleged victim. This “no contact” order applies both to direct contact and indirect contact with the victim through a third party. If an individual wishes to have this order lifted, he or she must obtain the judge’s permission. If the person hires a criminal defense attorney, the attorney can file a motion to have the “no contact” order lifted. It is also important to know that the victim of a domestic violence case cannot simply drop the charges. The State of Florida, which is the prosecuting authority, has the power to either drop or proceed with criminal charges. The prosecutor’s office will often get input from the victim regarding this decision, but they ultimately make the final determination.

If you have questions about your domestic battery case, please feel free to call my office at (407) 415-9626 or email me at