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Understanding Domestic Violence in Florida

In 2018, 104,914 crimes of domestic violence were reported to Florida law enforcement agencies, but we may never get an accurate representation of the extent of abuse in the state or globally. Many victims of domestic violence do not report their perpetrator’s actions to the police for reasons such as shame, fear, or they are unable to by their abuser.

We understand the seriousness of this epidemic, and to help the problem, we want to help others recognize what their options are when it comes to domestic violence.

What Constitutes Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is more than a marital spat; it’s abusive behavior that an intimate partner inflicts on the other partner. Some signs that you may be experiencing domestic violence include the following:

  • Hurting you physically — slapping, hair pulling, hitting, burning you, or intentionally injuring you in any way

  • Calling you names and hurting you emotionally

  • Isolating you from your loved ones

  • Stalking

  • Withholding medical help

  • Harming your pets

Florida Statute 741.28(2) defines domestic violence as 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.

Penalties

Once a person has been arrested for a domestic violence offense, they will be taken to jail, where they will be held until they appear in front of a judge, which takes place 24 hours within their arrest.

During this initial appearance, the accused person will be given a bond for their release but often under several conditions. There may be a no-contact order with the victim or they may not be able to return to the scene of the offense. If the state decides to file a formal charge and the defendant is found guilty, the abuser will serve a minimum of one year on probation, during which the defendant must attend a 6-month long batterers’ intervention program.

Obtaining an Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence

In addition to involving law enforcement, it is advisable to file a petition requesting court-ordered protection. This injunction can prevent an abuser from contacting their victim and forbid them from coming within 500 feet of a victim’s home, business, or other places they frequently visit.

When filing a petition, there are three possible outcomes:

  • The court may schedule a hearing at the earliest time available. If the judge decides there is an immediate and present danger of domestic violence, the judge can issue a temporary injunction, even if the abuser is not part of the hearing.

  • The judge may request to hear both sides. If he or she decides that the petitioner is the victim of domestic violence, the judge can issue an injunction.

  • The judge may deny the injunction if the allegations are legally insufficient.

Protect Yourself from Harm

If you find yourself in a dangerous situation such as domestic violence, you should contact law enforcement. Florida law requires officers investigating allegations of domestic violence to assist the victim in obtaining medical treatment. They must also inform victims of the resources available through the domestic violence center. Additionally, the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence operates a statewide hotline where survivors can seek information, advice, and referrals.

Our Domestic Violence Attorney is Here to Help

Our family law attorney has been advocating for client’s rights for more than 20 years, and we are here to help protect you if you have been harmed.

Let our Bartow attorney provide you with the reliable legal counsel you need during this critical time. Call us today at (863) 644-5566 to schedule a free consultation.

 

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