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Domestic Assault / Battery

Domestic assault and domestic battery are serious charges in Florida. Although they are similar to general assault and battery charges, the distinguishing characteristic of domestic assault and domestic battery is that the offense is committed in the context of a family or intimate relationship. These offenses are considered domestic violence, and because of that, law enforcement officers and prosecutors take the accusations very seriously.

It is important to get legal advice if you are accused of domestic assault or domestic battery in Pinellas County. Domestic assault and battery can also be upgraded to aggravated assault or aggravated battery if the injuries are particularly severe. This could mean harsher penalties and more consequences. The best thing to do is to talk to a Pinellas County criminal defense lawyer to determine the best defense in your case.

St. Petersburg Domestic Assault Defense Attorney

Being accused of domestic assault or domestic battery is a heavy burden that could affect the rest of your life. Even if a person is not convicted, the accusation could have a serious impact. If you have been charged with domestic assault or domestic battery, contact Melinda Morris at Morris Law Firm, P.A..

Morris is an experienced St. Petersburg domestic abuse defense lawyer who has worked on both sides of the law. As a former assistant state attorney in the Domestic Violence Division, Melinda understands what it takes to build a strong case against a person. This insight is beneficial when protecting her clients from these accusations.

Call (727) 388-4736 to schedule a free initial consultation with Melinda Morris and learn how you can protect your future. Morris Law Firm, P.A. represents clients throughout the Tampa Bay area, including St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Pinellas Park, Dunedin and other surrounding areas.


Information About Domestic Assault and Domestic Battery


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Differences Between Domestic Assault and Assault

Under Section §784.011 in the Florida Criminal Code, an assault is defined as someone intentionally placing another individual in fear of imminent violent contact. To commit an assault, a person does not have to actually touch or hurt the individual. The only thing that is required for an assault is that your actions put someone in fear of immediate bodily harm.

In the domestic violence context, an assault is classified as domestic when the assault occurs between family members related by blood or people involved in a romantic relationship. Note that domestic assault charges can be brought against people who are no longer in a relationship.

Examples of relationships in which domestic charges could apply include:

  • Spouses
  • Former spouses
  • Parents and children
  • Step parents and step children
  • Grandparents and grandchildren
  • People who live together as a family
  • People who have in the past lived together as a family
  • Parents who share a common child

Domestic assault charges can have far reaching consequences if you have children or you have a civil family law case pending in court. In addition to the criminal penalties, you might be required to take anger management classes or complete community service. Additionally, protective orders and other injunctions may be put in place to keep you from contacting your significant other and your children.


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How are Domestic Battery and Battery Different?

Under Florida Criminal Code § 784.03, a person commits a battery if he or she intentionally strikes or touches another person against that person’s will or intentionally causes bodily harm to another person. Similar to a domestic assault, a domestic battery occurs between two individuals who either have a family bond or are connected by some sort of romantic or intimate relationship.

It is important to note if there are multiple battery offenses, the criminal penalties greatly increase. The first battery offense is a misdemeanor offense, and additional battery offenses are considered third degree felonies. The penalties associated with these violent offenses can vary greatly.

Also in the context of civil family law cases, a battery charge gives the civil court a stronger reason to implement injunctions and no contact orders. You may be required to take anger management classes, and you could get reduced visitation and custody rights if you are in the middle of a child custody dispute.


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Possible Penalties for Domestic Assault and Domestic Battery Charges

Penalties for domestic violence offenses often are severe. When a person is charged with domestic assault or domestic battery, he or she could face either misdemeanor or felony charges.

Assault is a second-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 60 days in jail, a fine of up to $500 or both. A first battery offense is a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries a maximum of year in jail and a fine up to $1,000. Additional battery offenses are considered third-degree felonies, which are punishable by more jail time and higher fines.

However, domestic violence convictions can carry other consequences, including losing the right to possess a firearm. This conviction also could create issues in the personal and professional aspects of your life. This could make it difficult to find employment, keep an existing job or secure housing.

Additionally, simply being accused of a domestic violence act could mean having a protective order placed against you. After the original accusation, the alleged victim could request a temporary order, which you could not argue. If approved by a judge, this could last up to 15 days.

The judge then would schedule a hearing for a longer protective order, which you have the right to attend with legal counsel. These orders should be taken seriously because they can create strict boundaries and restrictions for a person. Any violation could result in criminal penalties.


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Finding A Domestic Battery Defense Lawyer in Pinellas County

Domestic violence allegations sometimes are exaggerated. Once a report is filed, it is necessary to vigorously defend yourself against the charges. Contact Pinellas County domestic assault defense attorney Melinda Morris of Morris Law Firm, P.A.. Morris and the legal team understand how sensitive domestic violence charges can be and they can help you build a strong defense in your case. Call (727) 388-4736 to schedule a free consultation.

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