Domestic Battery is charged by Florida Statute 784.03 and 741.28. The offense has the same elements as standard battery, that being an intentional touching of another person against that person’s will, with the added element that the person on the receiving end of the unwanted touching is a family or household member. Florida Statute 741.28 defines family or household member as spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who reside together as a family (or have resided together in the past as a family), and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have ever been married.
The distinction between domestic battery and standard battery is an important with respect to the penalties that a court must impose if one is sentenced to the charge of domestic battery. While one can be sentenced to up to 364 days in jail and/or 12 months probation for standard battery, a sentence for domestic battery must also contain a twenty-seven week “batterer’s intervention program” pursuant to Florida Statute 741.281. Also pursuant to that Statute, the Court must order the defendant to a minimum of one year of probation.
The vast majority of our domestic battery clients and their spouses simply had a bad night. In most instances the charge is not reflective of the person’s character nor of the relationship they have with their spouse. This is particularly true when alcohol is part of the equation, as it often is in the Florida Keys when people are on vacation and enjoying themselves.
In many instances both parties involved do not want the State Attorney’s Office to press forward with charges and would prefer the matter be dealt with privately as a couple. While the final decision with respect to the filing of charges will always rest with the Office of the State Attorney, they will always take into account the wishes of the parties involved, and in fact are obligated to do so pursuant to the Florida Constitution.
Additionally, the majority of our domestic battery clients have no prior criminal history, making them eligible for a diversionary program. If they successfully complete the program the charges are dismissed.
Contact the Key West Attorneys at Robertson & Hunter
The Key West lawyers at Robertson & Hunter have helped many, many clients that find themselves charged with domestic battery. If you are arrested and charged with domestic battery, contact the experienced Key West attorneys at Robertson & Hunter today.