How do Domestic Violence Laws in Florida differ from Battery?

Florida criminal law creates a separate category of crimes under the general category of Domestic Violence. Battery, which means an unlawful touching, and assault, which means putting another in fear of an unlawful touching, are the element crimes in Florida under Domestic Violence criminal laws. A battery is a misdemeanor if there is a touching but no serious bodily harm. A Battery becomes a felony battery when there is serious bodily harm or permanent disfigurement. The definition of felony battery has both statutory and case law definitions as the nature and extent of injuries inflicted by a battery vary from situation to situation. There are hundreds of cases concerning when a misdemeanor battery becomes a felony battery and they all give little finality to a judgment or opinion of your South Florida criminal lawyer. Many of these cases were litigated in Florida criminal courts in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. I mention this because most criminal defense lawyers in South Florida handle the majority of these criminal cases and are familiar with the judges and courts in South Florida and how domestic violence cases are filed by the prosecutor and viewed by criminal judges. Ultimately it is a jury decision on when an injury rises to serious bodily injury or permanent disfigurement. As a rule if there are broken bones, lacerations or scaring then a misdemeanor battery becomes a felony. The distinction between a battery and a domestic battery is the relationship between the alleged perpetrator and the “victim”. The Domestic Violence statute defines a domestic relationship as any of the following: a family member up to the third consanguinity (nephews, uncles, aunts, nieces and one level beyond), any persons living together or who have lived in a common living situation any time in the six months before the event (a roommate of six months ago is a domestic battery situation), dating persons, children, parents and those related by birth. The “living together” requirement is not required, only a social, dating, family or shared living conditions person requirement takes a common battery or common assault into the Domestic Violence statute. Bond is often not available in Domestic Violence cases and the statute contains a significant number of restrictions on those out on bond and those serving probation sentences.

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