Domestic Violence Crimes

Domestic Violence Crimes are guided by some special definitions that are explained in Florida Statute 741.28.

“Department” means the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
“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.

“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.

“Law enforcement officer” means any person who is elected, appointed, or employed by any municipality or the state or any political subdivision thereof who meets the minimum qualifications established in s. 943.13 and is certified as a law enforcement officer under s. 943.1395.

Battery Domestic Violence

Under Florida law, Domestic Violence Battery is defined as any actual and intentional touching or striking of another person without consent, or the intentional causing of bodily harm to another person, when the person struck is a “family or household member.”

Family or Household Member

Under Section 741.28, Florida Statutes, the term ‘family or household member’ can include the following:

  • Wives and husbands;
  • Ex-wives and ex-husbands;
  • Individuals related by blood or marriage;
  • Individuals living together as a family;
  • Individuals who have resided together as if a family in the past; and
  • Persons who have a child in common (regardless of prior marriage).

The law requires that the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit. The only exception is for persons who have a child in common.

Penalties for Battery DV

Domestic Battery is classified as a first degree misdemeanor, with penalties that may include

  • up to one year in jail
  • up to 1 year of probation,
  • up to $1,000 USD fine.

Aggravated Battery Domestic Violence

Aggravated battery requires the same unwanted touching or striking of another person as simple battery. However, aggravated battery is considered more serious because of characteristics of the commission of the crime or of the victim. Aggravated battery occurs when the defendant uses a deadly weapon, intentionally or knowingly causes great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement or permanent disability to the victim or batters a person whom the defendants knows or should know is pregnant.

Aggravated battery is usually charged as a second degree felony with a maximum sentence of up to 15 years imprisonment and $10,000 in fines. A mandatory minimum sentence can be imposed if the defendant possessed or discharged a firearm at the time of the attack.

Stalking

Stalking is the unwanted pursuit of another person. Things of stalking includes following a person, appearing at a person’s home or place of business, making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or objects, or vandalizing a person’s property.

Therefore, stalking is not single event, but rather a pattern of behavior meant to cause harm or distress. The individual’s actions must be considered in connection with other actions to determine if someone is being stalked. It includes repeated harassing or threatening behavior toward another person, whether that person is a total stranger, slight acquaintance, current or former intimate partner, or anyone else.

Under Florida Statute 784.48 stalking is the willful, malicious, and repeated following or harassing of another.

Stalking is a misdemeanor of the first degree.

Aggravated Stalking

While aggravated stalking under Florida Statute 784.48 is the willful, malicious and repeated following or harassing another with credible threats with the intent to place person in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury; or willfully, maliciously, repeatedly follows or harasses minor under 16; or after injunction for protection or any court-imposed prohibition of conduct, knowingly, willfully, maliciously and repeatedly follows or harasses another person.