Domestic Battery


SHORSTEIN, LASNETSKI, & GIHON
helps people defend against
Domestic Battery
allegations.

When people think of domestic battery, they almost always envision a man with clenched fists and a woman with bruises and black eyes.  Although this unfortunately does happen each and everyday in this country, the vast majority of domestic battery cases involve a single altercation between significant others who usually have been drinking alcohol.  There usually are no visible signs of injury.  The listed victim almost never wants the State to prosecute and often feels victimized by the State when they are told charges will not be dropped.  The vast majority of these cases involve minimal contact and victims who are not in fear.  Regardless of your situation, no matter how serious or minor you think it is, it is vital to speak with an experiencedJacksonville criminal defense attorney if you have been charged or accused of domestic battery.  Call us today!

What is a domestic battery?

 Battery is defined in Florida Statute 784.02 as

the touching or striking of another against their will or intentionally causing bodily harm to another. 

This definition is extremely broad and could encompass a push, shove, restraining, or grabbing another person against their will. No injury is required to arrest and convict a person for battery. 

What makes a battery a "domestic battery?"

There are certain statutes that relate to a person charged and/or convicted of a battery on a family or household member. The definitions of "domestic violence" and "Family or household member[s]" are found in Florida Statute 741.28


Domestic violence” means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.


“Family or household member” means spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married. With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit.


What if my family or household member wants to drop the charges?

A listed victim does not have the power or authority to drop charges.  Only the State Attorney's Office can drop or file charges.  Every State Attorney's Office makes their own policies on how they handle domestic battery cases when the listed victim wants to drop the charges.  Most prosecutors will not drop charges simply because the listed victim does not want prosecution.  They typically will drop charges only if they do not believe they can prove the case.  It is important to find an attorney who is experienced in assessing a domestic battery case, investigating and obtaining evidence and information and presenting that evidence and information to the prosecutor. 

What are the possible defenses to domestic battery?

Every case is different, but some common defenses to domestic battery allegations are:

Self Defense

Many domestic battery cases involve minimal contact and a mutual argument, often involving alcohol.  Many times, it is the listed victim who is most vocal in wanting the State to drop the charges.  Many listed victims are very vocal that they were the aggressors and that the person charged was defending themselves. In other cases,  the listed victim says that it was a mutual argument fueled by alcohol.  There is often evidence that the person charged was acting in self defense. 

Evidence

Clients often have evidence that either shows that they are not guilty or that a listed victim, police officer or witness are not telling the truth.  This may be in form of recordings, witness testimony, photographs, physical evidence or anything that disputes what the State witnesses are saying. 


Lack of Evidence

It is the State's burden to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  A reasonable doubt can arise from a lack of evidence.  Often, there are no independent witnesses in domestic battery cases. Listed victims may not be cooperative with the prosecution. There may be no visible signs of injury.  All of these issues and more may factor into whether the State can prove the case.


Conflict in Evidence

As mentioned above, many domestic battery cases involve alcohol use by both parties.  Alcohol impairment can effect a listed victim's memory and perception of events.  Oftentimes, listed victims dispute that they told officers facts that are in the police report.  Multiple witnesses may give conflicting statements about what they saw or heard.  Photos or physical evidence may not be consistent with the statements of witnesses or the listed victim.  All of these and more conflicts in the evidence can lead to reasonable doubt. 


What are possible consequences of a domestic battery?

The consequences of any plea to domestic battery are severe. 

Possible jail - The maximum sentence for a domestic battery is one (1) year in jail.  If there is an injury, the judge must sentence you to at least five (5) days in jail. 

Probation and Batterer's Intervention Classes - For first time offenders, the minimum sentence a judge can render is probation which includes intensive batterer's intervention classes that last 26 weeks or more.  In addition to jail, the judge can order other restraints on your liberty including restrictions on contact with family members, fines, court costs, community service, and more. 

Restrictions on firearms -
A domestic battery can infringe upon your right to own, possess and purchase a firearm.

No sealing or expunging -
whether you receive a withhold of adjudication or are adjudicated guilty of a domestic battery, you would not be eligible to seal or expunge your record.  This means that this arrest and your case information would be available to the general public on the internet and through background checks.

CALL US!

Allegations of domestic abuse can have very serious consequences, whether the allegations are true or not.

If you have been accused of a domestic battery, domestic assault, domestic aggravated battery, domestic aggravated assault, stalking, violation of an injunction (or restraining order), harassing telephone calls, or any other domestic crime, call our experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers:

Shorstein, Lasnetski, & Gihon

904-642-3332 (Jacksonville)
or
 
contact us online.
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