How Does Florida Define Domestic Violence?

The State of Florida takes domestic violence extremely seriously. This is true of domestic violence cases handled in both criminal and civil courts. The potential penalties for perpetrators and protections for victims or potential victims reflect the seriousness with which the State takes these cases. However, what exactly does Florida define domestic violence to be?

How Florida Defines Domestic Violence Cases

There are two parts to domestic violence in Florida. First, there is an act. This act is either an actual overt act or a threat. While the act does not necessarily have to be violent, this is often the case. Florida law considers the following to be acts of domestic violence:

  • Assault
  • Aggravated assault
  • Sexual assault
  • Battery
  • Aggravated battery
  • Sexual battery
  • False imprisonment
  • Kidnapping
  • Stalking
  • Aggravated Stalking
  • Any criminal offense that results in physical injury or death

The second part of domestic violence in Florida is that the act is committed against someone with whom the perpetrator of the act has some kind of familial relationship. A familial relationship includes:

  • A spouse or former spouse
  • Those related by blood
  • Those living together currently or in the past as a family
  • Those who have children together regardless of whether they were married or not.

Depending on whether the domestic violence case is brought in civil or criminal court, the available punishments for the perpetrator or remedies for the victim may vary. For instance, a domestic violence victim may petition a civil court for a restraining order. A restraining order is legally binding and orders one party to remain a certain distance away from another party. Violation of a restraining order can come with serious penalties on top of those already associated with domestic violence charges.

In order to obtain a restraining order, often referred too in Florida as an Injunction, the party seeking the order will usually go before a family court judge and provide testimony and other evidence that an act of domestic violence has occurred, or is likely to occur. This must be presented to the judge before a permanent restraining order will be put in place against a party. There are, however, temporary restraining orders available in certain cases. A temporary restraining order may be granted without a hearing and based only on the sworn pleadings submitted by a party. While easier to obtain than a permanent restraining order, temporary restraining orders are only enforceable for 15 days before they will need to be extended.

Other penalties associated with domestic violence can include prison followed by restraining orders. Furthermore, a person convicted of domestic violence may be ordered to attend family violence counseling. It should also be mentioned that, following a criminal conviction, offenders can lose certain rights and privileges, limitations on firearm rights included. In fact, federal law prohibits those convicted of domestic violence to own, possess, or use a firearm.

Florida Family Law Attorneys

If you are a domestic violence victim, the dedicated attorneys at Orlando Family Team can help you pursue protection and other remedies in family court. Contact us today.