What the State of Florida Considers Domestic Violence

Domestic violence charges encompass a wide range of behavior. Generally, domestic violence includes any type of violence or threatened violence against a family member. Unfortunately, domestic violence is a real problem across the United States, with millions of individuals suffering abuse every day. However, many individuals are wrongfully accused of domestic violence. Having domestic violence charges on your record can harm your personal reputation and your professional life. For example, domestic violence charges may be used against you in a custody proceeding to argue that you should not be able to see your children unless supervised by a third party. Tampa Domestic Violence Attorney Marc A. Joseph, P.A. understands Florida’s domestic violence statutes and what must be proven for these claims to stand in court. Criminal lawyer Marc Joseph, a skilled Tampa  attorney with effective domestic violence defense strategies that will help ensure that your legal rights are protected throughout your case and will work hard to build a strong defense on your behalf. If you are facing domestic violence charges, Marc Joseph, P.A. has the skills needed to fight for you in court.

What is domestic violence according to Florida law?

In a criminal case, the prosecution, acting on behalf of the state of Florida, must prove the elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. What does this mean? Prosecutors must show that, if all of the evidence in the case was presented to a jury, the jury would find that no other explanation exists but that the defendant did commit the crime.

According to Florida Statute 741.28, “Domestic violence” includes assault, battery, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any other type of crime that results in the injury or death of a family member or household member. The crime must be committed by another family member or household member.

What is a family member or household member? This category of individuals includes spouses or ex-spouses, as well as individuals related by blood or marriage. Those that live together, lived together in the past as a family, and individuals with a child in common are also family members or household members, according to the statute. It should be noted that except for individuals who have a child in common, the household or family members must be living together (or they lived together in the past) for domestic violence charges to proceed.

Clearly, domestic violence charges may be filed for a variety of behaviors. In many cases, there is little physical evidence in a domestic violence case. For example, to commit assault, one must threaten to commit a violent act against someone else, and the victim must believe that such harm is imminent. It would be simple for someone to accuse another person of assault because all that is required is the threat of harm.

Every allegation of domestic violence is unique. No two cases are the same. However, defending a domestic violence charge requires a careful examination of the facts of the case and all of the evidence that has been gathered to support the charges. In some situations, evidence should not be admitted in a case and used to bring charges against someone. Attorney Marc Joseph is an experienced criminal defense attorney who demands that the prosecution proves every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, using only evidence that has been lawfully obtained.

What happens if I am convicted of domestic violence charges?    

Domestic violence charges are treated differently than many other crimes in Florida. For example, after being arrested for some crimes, like driving under the influence, the accused may be able to pay a bond and get released. The accused must show up for a court date at a later time, which could be several days or weeks after the initial arrest.

However, if someone is accused of a domestic violence crime, it is likely that the accused will have to stay in jail until that person has a hearing in front of a judge. If you have been arrested for domestic violence charges, it is possible that you will not be able to get in touch with your family members or your employer for a significant period of time. Even if you have been wrongfully accused of domestic violence, you may have to wait in jail until you are able to go before a judge. Although this seems unfair, it is due to the fact that the state of Florida takes domestic violence charges very seriously. Once released from jail, many offenders commit domestic violence crimes again—therefore, to prevent these incidents from recurring, offenders must stay in jail in many cases.

The penalties for a conviction of domestic violence are laid out in Florida Statute 741.281. If the accused is found guilty of domestic violence, or has adjudication withheld on or pleads nolo contendere to such charges, that individual may face at least a year of probation. In addition, the accused may be ordered to complete a batterers’ intervention program as a condition of the probation. If the court deems it appropriate, the court may sentence the accused to any term of imprisonment.

Do I need an attorney if I have been accused of domestic violence?

If you have been accused of a crime in Florida, it is wise to immediately seek legal counsel. Criminal charges carry a number of consequences. The accused’s reputation may be forever tarnished. Those accused of domestic violence may lose their jobs. Criminal charges may be used against others during divorce and custody proceedings as well.

If you have been accused of domestic violence, you need to find an experienced Tampa domestic violence attorney as soon as possible to fight your charges. There are a number of ways to defend against domestic violence charges and possibly have them reduced or even dismissed, depending on the individual facts of your case.

For example, if evidence obtained in a search was used to file or support domestic violence charges that were brought against you, the evidence must have been obtained lawfully. If the evidence was obtained in an illegal search, it is said to be tainted and cannot be used against you.

It may also be possible to raise certain defenses to fight domestic violence charges. For example, many of those accused of domestic violence were defending themselves in a physical altercation. Florida allows for the use of both deadly force and non-deadly force in self-defense if certain circumstances are met. Your experienced Tampa criminal defense attorney will be able to gather evidence to support a self-defense argument, if applicable in your case, and submit it to fight your charges.

Marc Joseph, P.A. possesses the experience and skills necessary to aggressively defend your case and protect your legal rights. Attorney Marc Joseph has more than 16 years of experience in criminal defense matters, including domestic violence cases. At Marc Joseph, P.A., our legal team has assisted clients with both misdemeanor and felony charges and has obtained favorable results in many of our cases. Our firm takes pride in treating our clients with the respect they deserve and taking their cases seriously. We understand that criminal charges are stressful not only for you, but for your family and loved ones as well.


Contact Attorney Marc Joseph today at (813) 234-6374 for your free case evaluation. We look forward to meeting with you to discuss your legal rights and to help you understand all of your criminal defense options.