Domestic Violence FAQs
How big of a problem is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is a serious issue in Palm Beach County. The state attorney’s office in this judicial circuit has devised a separate domestic violence court which spearheads about 95% or more of all domestic violence cases. If you’re arrested for a domestic violence charge, you can expect a hearing in one of these specialized courts.
When you are arrested in Palm Beach County, you are brought before one judge who solely works on domestic violence issues. There are different programs that this court has set up, but they’re all tailored toward trying to be responsible in addressing domestic violence.
Is domestic violence a crime punishable under criminal law in Florida?
Domestic violence is an umbrella term for many different acts of violence that occur between family or household members. Under §741.28 of the Florida Statutes, a family or household member is a spouse, former spouse, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are residing together as a family or who have resided together as a family in the past, and persons who are parents of a child whether or not they are married. A person may face criminal penalties for acts of domestic violence in Florida. Typically, domestic violence is a misdemeanor charge for which a person may generally spend up to one year of incarceration in jail.
What kinds of actions are considered domestic violence in Florida?
Many different criminal acts may be considered domestic violence. The state of Florida considers the following acts of violence domestic violence when they result in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member:
- Aggravated assault
- Aggravated battery
- Sexual assault
- Sexual battery
- Aggravated stalking
- False imprisonment
What is domestic assault and battery?
Domestic assault and battery occur when the assault and battery take place between family or household members. If you are accused of a domestic assault or battery, it’s important to clear your reputation as soon as possible. Allegations of abuse can lead to serious penalties and present obstacles through your future.
Penalties for domestic assault mirror those of a regular assault, which is a second-degree misdemeanor offense in Florida, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. A domestic battery carries the same maximum jail time as a standard battery, which is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
What is a history of domestic violence?
A person with a history of domestic violence has had more than one instance of police coming to his or her house to address a domestic disturbance. Police keep records of each domestic violence incident to which they respond. If the police have been called to a defendant’s home multiple times for domestic violence, they keep track of these incidents in a call log which the state attorney’s office will look at as evidence of a history with domestic violence.
What type of counseling could I be required to attend?
If you’re accused of a domestic violence crime, the court may require you to attend domestic violence counseling. The counseling may address alcohol or drug abuse or anger management. You may be required to attend multiple programs to resolve multiple concerns, or there might be a program available that tackles several concerns simultaneously. If you have children, counseling may also address parenting. The court may sentence you to the program it considers most appropriate based on the facts of the case.
Where can I get a domestic violence injunction in Florida?
A domestic violence injunction protects domestic violence victims. As such, it should be easy to obtain. One can apply for a domestic violence injunction in the circuit in which she is presently residing or in the circuit where the domestic violence occurred. Circuit courts have forms available for petitioners to complete, and the court’s staff is required by law to help petitioners fill the forms out. There is no filing fee that petitioners must pay to ask for a domestic violence injunction. Petitioners complete the forms and swear to the accuracy of the information within them. A person who deliberately provides false information on a petition for a domestic violence injunction can be charged with perjury.