Florida residents who are victims of domestic violence may be able to seek relief through both civil and criminal courts. For example, a person would ask for a restraining order or injunction from a family court. Domestic violence occurs when an individual commits an act of violence against a partner or former partner or anyone who is a family member either biologically or through marriage.
The state does allow for injunctions by those who are abused by a romantic partner even if that person is not related by marriage. This may be true even if the victim is abused by someone who he or she used to date. A dating relationship is any relationship that was romantic, intimate or sexual in nature. Stalking, kidnapping and sexual assault are all considered to be forms of domestic violence in Florida in addition to aggravated assault and aggravated battery.
The penalties for committing domestic violence may include incarceration and community service. In some cases, a judge has leeway to determine what type of sentence to impose. Additional penalties may be added if a person violates an injunction. It is possible to claim self-defense as a reason why an attack should not be seen as domestic violence.
Having the assistance of a criminal defense attorney may make it possible to obtain a favorable outcome in a domestic violence case. Examples of favorable outcomes may include getting the case thrown out or winning an acquittal at trial. It may also be possible to have penalties such as jail or prison time reduced or replaced with community service or probation.