Q. What does domestic violence mean?

A.  Domestic violence is considered a modifier or classification of several types of criminal offense. On its own, domestic violence is not a criminal offense. Traditionally, domestic violence is invoked on charges of stalking, assault, battery, or aggravated similar charges. The classification of domestic violence affects the statutes that are applied and thus the penalties as well.

Q. Is domestic violence limited to physical contact?

A. No. Domestic violence can be a classification of repetitive actions of verbal or physical violence, pushing, shoving, self-defense, screaming, arguing, or emotional displays of aggression or anger. Domestic violence can occur between spouses, partners, or family members. It is important to remember that not every verbal or physical altercation will constitute domestic violence.

Q. Do I have to live with an individual in order to be charged with domestic violence?

A.  No. Domestic violence is not limited to individuals residing at the same location. Florida law states that domestic violence is an act between two family members or members of the same household. The definition of these individuals includes a current or former spouse, someone related by marriage or blood, individuals who reside together as a family (or have in the past), and individuals who have a child together. For individuals who have a child together, they need not be married or living together in order to constitute domestic violence.

Q. Should I just plea to the charge?

A. Every domestic violence case is unique. It is impossible to suggest one particular course of action that will fit the needs of every case. That being said, there are specific mandatory guidelines for individuals who do enter a plea in such cases, including a mandatory Batterers Intervention Program, which lasts for 26-weeks at the expense of the individual charged. If bodily harm was a factor in the case, a five-day mandatory jail sentence is also imposed. Anyone who enters a plea in a domestic violence case will also be required to dispose of any owned firearms, and forfeits the right to own or possess firearms in the future.

In addition to these common questions, there are myriad complexities and possibilities for every domestic violence case. Many individuals who are charged with domestic violence are unaware of the potential consequences, as well as what their rights and responsibilities are. If you have been charged with domestic violence, take action immediately. You need the support of an experienced Florida Criminal Defense Attorney who can protect your rights and seek out all possible outcomes.

Attorney Marc A. Joseph is prepared to fight for your rights and protect your best interests. At Marc A. Joseph, P.A. we understand that people make mistakes and arguments happen. Unfortunately, even if the alleged victim chooses not to file charges, the prosecution can still build a case against you. Do not wait to get the help you need, contact Marc A. Joseph, P.A. today for a free consultation. Call us at (813) 234-6374.