When a dispute between family members escalates, it can result in arrests, criminal charges, and legal penalties that can change someone’s life. Florida law carries harsh consequences for crimes related to domestic violence, including hefty fines, lengthy prison sentences, strict probation requirements, and more.
If you’ve been accused of domestic violence in Tampa, contact the Mike G Law team for a free case evaluation. We’re here to listen to your side of the story—and shield your legal freedoms to the full extent of the law.
Domestic Violence Laws
What is legally considered domestic violence?
A wide range of actions may be considered domestic violence (“DV”) under Florida law. Typically, DV includes any crime that results in physical injury or death (such as assault or battery), threats of physical injury, or loss of freedoms (like kidnapping or false imprisonment).
Furthermore, domestic violence laws cover more than just married couples. They include any family or household member, including former family members who have left the household. DV laws cover:
- Current or former spouses
- Current or former partners who live(d) in the same household
- Parents and family members, related either by blood or marriage
- Parents who share a child
Florida Domestic Violence Penalties
1. Jail or Prison Time
The most serious potential penalty associated with domestic violence charges is jail or prison time.
According to Florida Statute 741.283, anyone convicted of a domestic violence crime must serve a minimum of 10 days in jail for a first-time offense—or longer if the convicted person has a history of DV charges.
But those 10 days are just a minimum. For example, if a person is found guilty of a first-degree felony like aggravated child abuse, they may face up to 30 years in prison.
2. Probation & Counseling
Even if you are not required to serve jail time, you may be placed under probation for a set length of time if you are found guilty of domestic violence charges. Florida Statute 741.281 states that anyone found guilty of a DV offense will be subjected to a minimum of one year of probation.
Probation is not easy—it typically requires regular meetings with a probation officer and following very specific rules. You may be required to hold employment, stay within city limits, stick to a curfew, and pay fines or reparations. In Florida, you must also attend a batterers’ intervention program as part of your probation, which means regular trips to a program provider. If your case involves drugs or alcohol, you may be required to attend drug or alcohol counseling.
If you are found violating your probation order, a court may impose harsh penalties, including jail time.
3. No-Contact Orders (Restraining Orders)
After a domestic violence conviction, a person may not be allowed to have contact with or come within a certain distance of their accuser.
No-contact orders may be placed for a short period of time or for longer durations. As a result of these types of orders, people may be prevented from returning to their own homes and seeing their children. Additionally, no-contact orders may impede their ability to rebuild the relationships with their involved family members.
Just like with probation orders, violating a restraining order can have severe legal repercussions.
4. Limitations on Firearm Rights
After a criminal conviction, you may lose certain rights and privileges, including your right to carry a weapon.
Florida law demands that those convicted of DV surrender their firearms. Furthermore, federal law prohibits people from owning, possessing, or using a firearm after a domestic violence conviction.
Frequently Asked Questions About Florida Domestic Violence Charges
Is domestic violence a felony in Florida?
A felony is any crime that carries a prison sentence of longer than one year under Florida law. Different classes of felonies involve different sentencing lengths and fines.
Whether or not a domestic violence case carries felony charges in Florida depends on the specifics of the case. In general, these crimes are usually considered felony offenses:
- Aggravated assault or battery
- Child abuse
- False imprisonment
- Sex crimes, including rape and incest
- Murder or attempted murder
If you are being accused of any of these offenses, it’s important to seek legal help now. At Mike G Law, we start working right away to evaluate the charges brought against you and develop a defense strategy to get you the best possible outcome.
What if it’s a first-time domestic violence charge?
Unfortunately, even first-time domestic violence charges can carry hefty consequences, including jail time and fines. Judges sometimes consider past criminal histories during sentencing hearings, but being a first-time offender is not a guarantee that you’ll receive a lighter sentence or fewer consequences.
Even if you have never been accused of a crime, you still need a defense lawyer to represent your case.
What do you do if you’ve been accused of domestic violence?
If you’ve been accused, DO NOT try to work things out on your own. Don’t contact your accuser in any way or ask a friend to contact them. Your accuser may try to use this against you in court.
Instead, DO reach out to a criminal defense attorney. Even if you’ve done nothing wrong, an attorney can help you understand the charges being brought against you and help you navigate the legal process. If your case goes to trial, an attorney can argue your case before a judge and ensure you receive fair treatment.
Get Legal Help Today
Domestic violence-related offenses can carry legal penalties that can ruin someone’s life. What may have started as a minor disagreement could turn into a situation that jeopardizes your future. That’s why it’s important to immediately talk to a defense lawyer if you’re facing charges or fear you will be accused.
At Mike G Law, we aim to fight for your rights—no matter what someone accuses you of doing. You deserve fair treatment in the eyes of the law, and the Mike G team is here to ensure that happens.
Don’t wait. Contact us online or call us at 813.221.4303 to learn how we can help.