Several states have enacted regulations pertaining to the prosecution and prevention of domestic violence. In Florida, victims have legal options through the civil and criminal court systems to protect themselves. If you’re a Florida resident, here are some important things to know to keep yourself and your family safe.
Definition of domestic violence
Laws in Florida define domestic violence as acts of violence committed against a household member or relative. This means that a person can commit this type of violence against a child, spouse, ex-spouse, stepchild or in-law. The regulations in the state also protect against domestic violence that occurs between individuals who are currently living together or previously lived together.
Types of crimes that fall under the domestic violence umbrella include assault and aggravated assault, battery and aggravated battery, sexual battery and sexual assault, stalking and aggravated stalking, and kidnapping.
The charges associated with domestic violence depend on the events and circumstances. For instance, a threat to harm someone could become an assault charge while actual physical contact could lead to a battery charge.
Penalties for domestic violence
Domestic violence laws in Florida include a minimum sentence of five days in the county jail for a conviction. The court may also sentence someone convicted of domestic violence to confinement in a Florida state prison. State laws give the court discretion to decide on the probation sentence or to determine whether the offender will have to perform community service.
If a domestic violence victim has a restraining order in place, the state can prosecute the offender for violating the order as a first-degree misdemeanor. This can lead to up to one year of imprisonment.