What is Domestic Violence?
According to Florida Statute 741.28, domestic violence involves any assault, battery or criminal offense that causes physical injury or death of a family/household member by another family/household member. If this sounds broad, that’s because it is. Domestic violence in Kissimmee is one of the most severe categories of crimes in the area. It include a laundry list of specific offenses, like: assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping and false imprisonment.
Who is Considered a Family or Household Member?
Contrary to popular belief, domestic violence doesn’t just happen between currently married couples. The following are all covered under Florida law:
- Current or ex-spouses
- Family members related by both blood and marriage
- Individuals living together as a family
- Parents of the same child, regardless of current or past marital status
The only condition under the law is that the victims in question either currently or have previously lived together in the same home.
Penalties for Domestic Violence in Kissimmee
The punishments for domestic violence are almost as far reaching as the crimes themselves, spanning from brief stays in county jail to probation and beyond.
At minimum, if an offender is found guilty of intentionally causing bodily harm to another family/household member, they will be sentenced to:
- 10 days in the county jail for a first offense
- 15 days for a second offense
- 20 days for third or subsequent offenses, unless the court opts to impose a term in a state prison.
This might change, however, if a minor is involved. If the crime was committed in front of a family/household member under age 16, the punishment for third and subsequent offenses jumps to 30 days in the county jail, unless the court sentences the offender to a term in a state prison.
Because domestic violence is so serious, the punishments aren’t limited to time spent in county lockup. In accordance with Statute 741, offenders are also required to complete a court-ordered batterer’s intervention program and are subject to at least one year of probation. Other penalties might also include:
Understanding Injunctions and No Contact Orders
Injunctions and no contact orders function to provide immediate protection for victims of domestic violence. The court may impose either temporary or long-term protection from abusers if there’s sufficient evidence that it’s needed. This protection helps the victim by:
- Restraining and keeping the offender away from the victim
- Removing the perpetrator from a home shared with the victim
- Requiring the perpetrator to participate in counseling or additional treatment
When a victim requests protection, the court will schedule a hearing to gather information from both parties. In the interim, the judge may issue a temporary injunction if it’s clear that the victim is in immediate danger of abuse. This order of protection will remain in effect until the hearing date to ensure the victim’s safety.
At the formal hearing, both the victim (petitioner) and the abuser (respondent) stand before the judge to discuss the domestic violence allegations. Upon reviewing statements from both sides and/or evidence, the judge will make a final ruling and issue an injunction if he/she sees a pattern of abuse or risk of future abuse.
Penalties for Violating an Injunction
There are a number of ways a respondent can violate injunctions for protection, and the penalties are steep. If a perpetrator violates the order, they’ll face a minimum of a first degree misdemeanor. Injunction violations happen when the offender:
- Refuses to leave the home shared with the victim
- Is present within 500 feet of the victim
- Commits additional domestic violence acts
- Threatens the victim
- Destroys the victim’s property
- Communicates with the victim by phone, text, email, etc.
These violations can each land the abuser in prison for up to one year, but more serious violations carry heavier sanctions. According to Statutes 775 and 784, repeated harassment and cyberstalking are treated as aggravated stalking, and an offender who continues to threaten their victim will face a third degree felony and up to five years in prison.
Domestic Violence Claims Stain Your Record. Get the Help You Need.
Are you facing a charge for domestic violence in Kissimmee? Don’t let the sting of this claim follow you forever. Discuss your situation with the expert legal team at Smith & Eulo Law Firm. We’ll work to restore your reputation and defend against allegations of domestic violence. Call now.