FLORIDA CRIMINAL LAW
Florida Assault & Battery (Domestic Violence and Non-Domestic Violence) Law Frequently Asked Questions
All Florida Domestic Violence attorneys must know Florida’s Assault & Battery law as codified in Florida Statute 784, in addition to the Domestic Violence statute. Assault and Battery come in many different forms, includingDomestic
Violence and Non-Domestic Violence variations. The hyperlinks on this page will take you directly to the specific law referenced.
Assault & Battery are rarely charged together for the same act. Therefore, if a defendant is charged with hitting someone with their fist, the defendant would normally be charged with battery, but not assault. Likewise, if the defendant swings and misses, then the charge would be an assault, but not a battery.
Either offense, domestic or not, may charged may be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the allegations made.
For example, Aggravated Assault normally involves the use of a weapon of some kind. A weapon could be a baseball bat, a knife, a stick or in the most serious form, a firearm. The same is true for Aggravated Battery.
Domestic Violence is a specialized form of assault or battery, and may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. The penalties are enhanced, and the consequences are far more serious. For example, under federal law, when a person is sentenced to any sentence – even without being convicted – that person is unable to own or possess a firearm or work in certain occupations.
Since most assault or battery cases arise outside of the presence of a law enforcement officer, they are one of the most seriously abused criminal laws, especially in domestic cases. False allegations of domestic violence in Florida are at epidemic proportions because couples having problems will often a) call the police “to calm things down” or, b) lie to the responding officers.
When law enforcement officers are called on in response to a case involving Florida domestic violence assault or Florida domestic violence battery (or the aggravated variants), the officers must follow Florida law regarding a “primary” aggressor and the “primary aggressor” is going to jail and will be held until First Appearance. In the case of a lie, the result is rather predictable. In the case of “calm things down” scenario, both parties are separated and usually, only part of the story is told. For example, one party will refuse to tell the officers anything, but the other one may tell about being slapped – leaving out the part that they hit their partner first. As result, the wrong person is determined as the “primary aggressor” and charged with domestic violence assault or domestic violence battery.
These laws are very politicized and are prosecuted vigorously. Florida domestic violence attorneys know to take these “crimes of violence” very seriously.