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Domestic Assault / Battery

Assault and battery are both serious criminal offenses, but the possible consequences an alleged offender faces for committing either one of these crimes against family or household members can be even more severe. While many people and even some courts tend to use assault and battery interchangeably, the terms actually have very specific individual meanings under Florida law.

Prosecutors know that many judges will have a very unfavorable view of alleged offenders in these types of cases, and this can often lead to extremely harsh punishments being imposed. An alleged offender could not only receive a lengthy prison sentence and ordered to pay an enormous fine, but he or she could also lose his or her firearm rights and suffer enormous hardships when seeking housing or employment.

Melbourne Domestic Assault Lawyer

Were you arrested for alleged domestic battery or assault in Florida? It is important to take these charges very seriously and immediately seek legal counsel.

The Brevard County domestic battery attorney at The Law Offices of James B. Coulter provide aggressive defense for clients all over Melbourne as well as people who were arrested while visiting the area. Our firm will provide a thorough evaluation of your case when you call (321) 586-9944 today to schedule a free consultation.


Brevard County Domestic Battery Information Center


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Florida Definitions of Domestic Assault Victims

Title XLIII of the Florida Statutes deals with domestic relations, and Florida Statute § 741.28(1) includes assault, aggravated assault, battery, and aggravated battery among the criminal offenses that constitute domestic violence. Florida Statute § 741.28(2) further defines family or household member as meaning any of the following:

  • Current or former spouses;
  • Persons related by blood or marriage;
  • Persons who are presently residing together as if a family;
  • Persons who have resided together in the past as if a family; or
  • Persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have resided together at any time.

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Domestic Battery Charges and Penalties in Brevard County

Domestic assault and domestic battery are different criminal offenses, but it is possible for an alleged offender to be charged with both crimes. These charges apply to people who allegedly commit one of the violent crimes listed under Chapter 784 of the Florida Statutes against a family or household member.

Florida law defines and classifies these crimes as follows:

  • Domestic Assault, Florida Statute § 784.011 — The intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to a family or household member, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in the family or household member that such violence is imminent is classified as a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
  • Aggravated Domestic Assault, Florida Statute § 784.021 — Domestic assault committed with a deadly weapon without intent to kill or with an intent to commit a felony is classified as a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Domestic Battery, Florida Statute § 784.03 — Actually and intentionally touching or striking a family or household member against his or her will of the other, or intentionally causing bodily harm to a family or household member is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
  • Felony Domestic Battery, Florida Statute § 784.041 — A third or subsequent domestic battery offense against a family or household member or any actual and intentional touching or striking a family or household member against his or her that causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement is classified as a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Aggravated Domestic Battery, Florida Statute § 784.045 — Domestic battery in which an alleged offender either uses a deadly weapon, intentionally or knowingly causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement, or the alleged victim was pregnant and the alleged offender knew or should have known that the alleged victim was pregnant is classified as a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

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Florida Domestic Assault FAQ

Is my case dismissed if the alleged victim does not want to press charges?

No. The State Attorney’s Office decides whether to file these charges and prosecute the case. However, an alleged victim’s reconciliation with an alleged offender may be used to convince a prosecutor to drop the charges rather than risk taking a flawed case to trial.

What is an injunction for protection?

An injunction for protection against domestic violence is a civil court order that places multiple restrictions on alleged offenders and provides protection from abuse for family or household members. Injunctions can prohibit alleged offenders from any type of contact with alleged victims and possibly children. Any violation of these types of court orders are punishable by fines and imprisonment.

Why was I arrested if there were no injuries or any signs of violence?

Police officers who respond to incidents of domestic violence will often place alleged offenders under arrest simply out of a sense that it is necessary to prevent the possibility of any further and possibly more severe harm to alleged victims. Remember that assault charges often stem from threats of violence rather than acts of violence, so law enforcement will often feel justified in taking an alleged offender into custody if an alleged victim feels threated in any way simply by what an alleged offender has said rather than what he or she has physically done.

What can I do if I have been falsely accused of this crime?

It is not uncommon for alleged victims to exaggerate or completely manufacture claims of domestic battery or assault—especially in contentious divorce or child custody proceedings. People in these types of situations will want to be sure to immediately contact a lawyer who can fully investigate the alleged incident and fight to clear the name of the alleged offender.

If I know that I am guilty, why should I hire an attorney?

While many alleged offenders have a sincerely held belief that they can appear in court and honestly express their remorse in a calm manner, emotions can always run high during these proceedings. Additionally, it is important to understand what specific charges you would be pleading guilty to. In an effort to quickly resolve their cases, alleged offenders can often accept plea deals that do not serve their best interests. An attorney will fight for the best possible outcome and make sure that you are fully aware of any potential consequences.


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Find A Domestic Battery Lawyer in Melbourne

If you have been arrested for domestic assault or domestic battery in Brevard County or surrounding areas in Florida, you should not delay in retaining legal representation. The Law Offices of James B. Coulter represents clients who live in the Palm Bay area as well as out-of-state visitors who were charged while visiting the Sunshine State.

The Law Offices of James B. Coulter have experience handling these types of cases on both sides of the aisle. Our Brevard County domestic assault attorney can review your case during a free, completely confidential consultation as soon as you call (321) 586-9944.

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Our Office Location
Law Offices of James B. Coulter
1402 Highway A1A, Ste A Satellite Beach , FL 32937
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American Bar Association
Florida Justice Association
Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity
Brevard County Bar Association


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The information provided on this website is for general information purposes only. The legal information you obtain at this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult a criminal defense lawyer in Orlando, FL, for advice regarding your own individual situation.
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