Al's Legal Corner - Did You Know?

Question: Can a person be charged with Domestic Violence if the victim does not live with the Defendant?

Answer: This is a question which arises periodically in my practice. Simply put, the answer is yes. In fact, if the victim and Defendant are parents of a child in common, there is no need for the couple to have ever lived together, much less to have ever been married. As the definition of family has changed through the years to an almost undefinable term in this 'anything goes' society of 2017, the statute has become written so broadly that it encompasses a wide net of people. Below is language from the actual Florida Statute, 741.28.

“Domestic violence” means 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.

"Family or household member” means spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married. With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit.

Domestic Violence carries a serious negative stigma in the community, one which negatively impacts one's entire future, whether it be in a personal or business nature. It is a Criminal offense, with enhanced penalties due to the domestic nature of the relationship between the parties. The time to hire a private practice lawyer is immediate, and not a few weeks into the case after waiting to see how things go at the first couple of Court dates. Changing from Court-appointed counsel to private practice counsel midway is like hiring a new head football coach during the middle of the season.

If you, or someone you know, has been accused of Domestic Violence, call my office immediately. We are only digits away, 24/7!