What Is Domestic Violence and What Is Not?

The state of Florida is serious about fighting domestic violence. In fact, after being arrested, most individuals accused of domestic violence may not be released from jail until they have had a hearing before a judge. In contrast, after being charged with other crimes, such as simple possession of marijuana, an individual may be able to post a bond and get out of jail after just a few hours. Domestic violence is a term that includes a wide range of incidents. According to Florida law, what is domestic violence—and what is not domestic violence? An effective defense strategy against domestic violence charges is always needed in all instances when charges have been filed.

Domestic Violence as Defined by Florida Statute

The definition of domestic violence is laid out in Florida Statute 741.28. It includes assault, battery, kidnapping, stalking, false imprisonment, or other types of crimes that result in the death or physical injury of a family member or a household member. Domestic violence must be committed by another household member or family member. Therefore, domestic violence charges apply to certain acts committed by someone with a specific relationship with the victim.

What relationships meet the definition of a family member or household member? Spouses or former spouses fall into this category. Those related by blood or marriage are also family members or household members. Individuals who live together or lived together in the past as a family also meet the definition.

If someone was injured or threatened with injury, and the relationship between the victim and the accused meets the definition of family member or household member under Florida law, it is likely that domestic violence charges are proper.

The victim must truly feel that he or she was at risk of suffering imminent serious bodily injury such as assault and battery by strangulation or death in most cases of domestic violence. For example, if a husband called his wife over the phone and yelled at her, this behavior will not necessarily rise to the level of domestic violence. However, if the husband was in his car on the way home and told his wife he was going to hurt her when he got home, the wife may certainly feel that serious injury was imminent. In this case, domestic violence charges may be appropriate.

Similarly, a shouting match that occurs between family members or household members in the home may not meet the statute’s definition of domestic violence. Although the shouting may be very upsetting to either individual, it is not necessarily domestic violence.

Additionally, the relationship between the individual must meet the definition of family member or household member. Two friends who get into a fight is not domestic violence. However, if one sibling punches another sibling while the two are living under the same roof, domestic violence charges may be proper.

With domestic violence, a careful examination of the facts of the case must be conducted. Proof of one detail may be sufficient to have domestic violence charges reduced or dismissed. An experienced lawyer will have the right domestic violence defense strategies to fight these charges.


Contact domestic violence defense 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.