“How Much Jail Time Will I Get for Domestic Violence in Florida?”

For those arrested for domestic violence in Fort Lauderdale, one of the first questions is, “How much jail time will I get?” Fort Lauderdale domestic violence defense attorney

As Broward domestic violence lawyers, it’s impossible to say for certain without examining the specifics of your case, but what we can say is this:

  • You will probably be held in jail at least until your first appearance – even in misdemeanor domestic violence cases. Ideally, that first appearance is within 24 hours of the arrest, though it can take longer if the arrest occurred early in the weekend or right before a holiday.
  • You will likely be granted the opportunity to be released on bail. However, your release will probably be dependent on a number of special conditions, such as having no contact with the alleged victim, relinquishing possession of any firearms, and possibly GPS monitoring.
  • An arrest doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be convicted or even charged. Hire a defense lawyer who can engage prosecutors in talks early, presenting factual defenses, legal issues and mitigating circumstances. This can sometimes sway prosecutors early on not to file charges or to file lesser charges – both of which minimizes your risk of jail time.

Now, let’s say you are convicted for domestic violence. You will probably serve some jail time, but the exact amount can vary widely.

One of the reasons for that is that “domestic violence” doesn’t refer to a single crime. It can involve anything from threats, harassment and stalking to kidnapping, sexual battery or felony battery. What differentiates it as an act of domestic violence is the relationship between the two parties. A violent act is considered one of domestic violence if the accuser and accused are family or household members who live together or used to live together as a family OR they share a child together (regardless of whether they ever lived together).

Domestic Violence Assault. 

F.S. 784.011 involves the intentional and unlawful threatening by the accused who also had the apparent ability to carry out that threat, thereby creating a well-founded fear in the victim that violence was about to take place. It does not require physical contact. For a first-time offense without aggravating factors, it’s a second-degree misdemeanor. It’s punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. That doesn’t necessarily mean you will serve a full 60 days, but it is possible. Aggravating factors such as prior offenses could bump this up to a more serious offense.

Domestic Violence Battery. 

F.S. 784.03 is probably the most commonly-charged offense in Florida domestic violence cases. It involves the actual or intentional touching or striking of another person against their will or intentionally causing bodily harm to someone. It’s a first-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 1 year in jail for a first-time offense. That doesn’t mean you’ll be sentenced to a full year if convicted (especially if it’s your first offense), but this charge does require a minimum mandatory 5 days in jail. Plus you’ll likely need to successfully complete a 26-week batterer’s intervention class and be subject to other requirements, such as no contact with the victim and forfeiting your firearms. You can also be given up to one year of probation and a maximum fine of up to $1,000. If you have a prior DV conviction or the alleged victim was seriously hurt, this charge gets bumped up to a third-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

Our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers are committed to protecting the rights of the accused – no matter how serious the crime. Even in cases where the evidence against you seems substantial, there is almost always a way to minimize the fallout.

Call Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

Additional Resources:

F.S. 741.28, Domestic violence definitions

More Blog Entries:

Palm Beach Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer Explains “Prior Bad Acts” Evidence, Jan. 4, 2024, South Florida Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Blog

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