Florida Statue 741.28 defines Domestic violence to mean “any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.” There were almost 108,000 reported cases of domestic violence reported across Florida counties and law enforcement agencies surveyed in 2015.
Let that sink in for a moment. The population of the state of Florida at the last census was almost 19 million people, and that number will likely increase by the next Census. Now, we know that not all cases of domestic violence are reported to the police, but we are going to use the numbers we have available to us. That still means that Florida residents had a 1:200 chance of being directly affected by some form of domestic violence in 2015 and actually reported it.
To put those odds in perspective, your chances of getting only four numbers and winning $100 on the Powerball is 1:36,525.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone: man or woman. Statistics show that women are at much greater risk for domestic violence and that while men do make up a large amount of the victims, they are much less likely to report it or tell a friend or family member.
So what happens once a domestic violence case is reported? Florida law treats domestic violence as a criminal act, and not just a private matter. This means that when the police are called, someone is heading to jail. Domestic violence in Florida is also unique in that you cannot post a bond and get out of jail until you’ve actually appeared before a judge. Generally, the condition of the bond also states that you can’t have contact with the alleged victim or go to their place of residence, even if the person arrested owns the house.
This serious issue carries some serious ramifications not only if you’re convicted, but also if you enter a guilty plea; the primary penalty being that you cannot seal or have a domestic violence case expunged if it was resolved with a No Contest or Guilty plea. That’s going to come up on every single background check for employment, career advancement, etc for the rest of your life.
Convictions of Domestic Violence with Bodily Harm carry a minimum sentence of 5 days in the county jail. A conviction of Aggravated Domestic Violence, even with a clean criminal record, carries a mandatory prison sentence and up to 15 years in prison. Once someone has had a previous conviction, a subsequent conviction of domestic battery is most likely charged as a felony and has a maximum penalty of up to 5 years in prison.
Domestic violence is not taken lightly, and the above statistics show why. These are serious cases and they can negatively affect your life for years to come. Call your local Florida Domestic Violence Attorney for help.