In our culture, many people view domestic violence as an unforgivable act. The mere accusation stains your reputation forever. Recent headlines have revealed that an alleged abuser could lose friendships and even their job.
Domestic violence allegations are difficult because they often boil down to one person’s word vs. another’s. There may be no witnesses to the alleged event, and even character witnesses can only speak on what they saw from outside the relationship.
The hard truth is this: Many domestic violence allegations are false. According to a 2020 YouGov study, 8% of Americans have been falsely accused of abuse. This is a small percentage, but it represents 20.4 million adults.
In Part One of this two-part series, we will define the crime and reveal its penalties.
What Exactly Is Domestic Abuse?
Most of us are aware that domestic abuse can take place between cohabitating, romantic partners. There are, however, other acts of violence the law considers domestic.
If partners had ever been romantically involved, from casual dating to a one-night-stand, any violence between them could be considered domestic. You could run into an ex you haven’t spoken to in years, but if that meeting ends badly, you could be accused of domestic violence.
Domestic abuse also happens between close family members such as siblings, parents, children, and so on. Whether they live together is irrelevant. Imagine siblings who rarely communicate getting into a fight during a family reunion. Despite the lack of a consistent relationship, their blood relation could make this fight a domestic violence case.
Furthermore, domestic violence can occur between housemates, regardless of their relationship outside the home.
The depth and nature of your relationship will not matter once you’ve been convicted of this crime. On your record, it will simply say that you were guilty of domestic violence. Potential employers and landlords probably won’t ask any further questions, simply denying your application.
Florida Domestic Violence Penalties
In Florida, domestic violence is a first-degree misdemeanor, the highest of the misdemeanor class. These crimes can be penalized by up to one year in jail with fines up to $1,000.
Due to the nature of the domestic violence, the state can also heap other penalties on the accused. These include:
- One year of probation
- Community service hours
- A minimum of five days in jail
- Loss of concealed carry license
- A “no-contact” order with the victim
- A 26-week Batterer’s Intervention Program (BIP)
Although the accused may already be under a “no-contact” order, the alleged victim can also file for further protective orders, and they may be able to renew these orders once they expire.
Furthermore, a domestic violence charge can alter the outcome of a divorce. If the court believes you abused your spouse, they can force you to give up more property and pay a larger amount of spousal support.
As you can see, domestic abuse is a serious charge with steep penalties. If you’ve been accused of this crime, make sure to read Part Two of our series, where we offer some credible defenses against this crime.
Contact our firm today for help against domestic violence accusations. We can give you a free consultation, and we may be able to prepare a defense for you. Our number is (904) 701-0591, and you can reach us online. **Consultation fees may apply to family law consultations.