Charged with Domestic Assault
It’s never easy to face a Florida domestic assault charge. When the police and courts get involved in a family dispute, matters can easily spiral out of hand, turning an already contentious issue into a major life obstacle. Making the issue even more difficult is the fact that “domestic assault” in Florida covers a wide range of possible events – which may or may not have actually happened in your case.
Anyone charged with domestic assault in Florida needs immediate, experienced legal assistance to protect his or her legal rights and build the best possible defense in court. If you’re facing domestic violence charges, please don’t hesitate to contact the dedicated Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys at Farah & Farah. We’ll help ensure that police and prosecutors respect your legal rights while we fight to uncover the facts in your case and win the best possible outcome for you.
What Counts as Domestic “Assault” In Florida?
Florida’s domestic assault statute, section 741.28, includes any of the following acts in its definition of “domestic assault,” as long as they were carried out by one family or household member against another family or household member:
- aggravated assault,
- aggravated battery,
- sexual assault,
- sexual battery,
- aggravated stalking,
- false imprisonment, or
- any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death.
The definitions of each of these crimes under Florida law differs from the others, and when combined, they cover a wide range of possible injuries one family member or household member might be accused of causing to another.
Who is a “Family or Household Member”?
In order to convict a person of domestic assault in Florida, the prosecutor must do more than show that the person committed any of the above-listed acts against another person. The prosecutor must also show that the act was done by one “family or household member” against another. If this relationship does not exist, the charged person cannot be convicted of domestic assault, although he or she might face charges for another type of assault, battery, or similar crime.
Florida law specifies that a “family or household member” includes:
- a spouse;
- a former spouse, or “ex;”
- a person related by blood or marriage;
- a person who is currently living with another as if they were a family, or who has done so in the past; or
- the parent of the charged person’s child, whether or not they ever lived together.
One way to think of a domestic assault charge in Florida is like an adding problem. To equal “domestic assault,” a suspected crime must include a violent act plus a relationship. The prosecutor must demonstrate that the violent act and the relationship both exist “beyond a reasonable doubt” in order to prove a domestic assault charge.
If there is no relationship, the charge might be “assault” or a similar crime, but it cannot be domestic assault. It’s important to recognize the difference because domestic assault carries stricter penalties in Florida than many similar crimes that don’t involve a domestic relationship.
The Aggressive Defense You Need in Jacksonville, Florida
Domestic assault cases are often “he said, she said” affairs based on little actual evidence. Nevertheless, they are prosecuted aggressively in Florida, and an equally aggressive defense is necessary for the full protection of your legal rights. The tenacious Jacksonville domestic assault defense attorneys at Farah & Farah can build the effective case you need – one that protects all your legal rights and fights for the best possible outcome. Contact us today at 855-797-9899 for a confidential consultation.