In order to be charged with domestic violence, the victim must be a family or household member.
If you’ve been accused of domestic violence in Fort Lauderdale, you might be wondering how serious these charges will be. Could you face the same penalties as individuals charged with assault? What exactly is the difference between domestic violence and assault? More importantly, you might be asking yourself how you can defend yourself against potential charges and legal consequences.
The answer to the latter question is relatively straightforward. You need to get in touch with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. With one of these legal professionals by your side, you can approach this difficult situation in the most confident, efficient manner possible. Book your consultation with a defense attorney as soon as possible to start exploring potential defense strategies.
The Law Views Domestic Violence and Assaults Differently
The first thing you need to know is that Florida courts view these as two different crimes. A simple assault typically occurs when someone physically harms a stranger, while domestic violence is when people in intimate relationships harm each other while living in the same household.
Which One is Worse?
Generally speaking, courts view domestic violence as a more serious crime compared to a simple assault. The injuries may be identical, but the penalties are not. If you injured someone in a simple assault, you would face a maximum jail sentence of one year, plus a fine of up to $1,000. This is because under Florida law, a simple assault is considered a misdemeanor in the first degree1.
But if you caused identical injuries to someone in your own household, you would face more serious penalties. While this is also considered a first degree misdemeanor, you will face additional, mandatory penalties if convicted. These include:
- A 26-week Batterer’s Intervention Program
- Probation for a year
- Mandatory 5-day jail sentence
- Community service
- Loss of firearms rights
- No-contact orders
What Constitutes Domestic Violence?
In addition, you should know that a wider range of potential acts can constitute domestic violence2. These include not just assaults, but also:
- Sexual assault
- False imprisonment
In order to be charged with domestic violence, the victim must be a family or household member. This could be:
- A spouse
- A former spouse
- Any blood relative
- An in-law
- Parents of the same child
- Anyone who has resided in the same household as you
Where Can I Find a Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Me?
If you’ve been searching the Florida area for a qualified, experienced criminal defense lawyer, look no further than Gabriela C. Novo, P.C. Over the years, we have helped numerous defendants in the Fort Lauderdale area, including those who have been charged with domestic violence. We know that this situation can be quite distressing, especially if you are facing false accusations of domestic violence. Book your consultation today, and we can help you fight for your rights in an effective manner.