What Is Domestic Violence?

September 3, 2021

It’s hard to miss the national discussion around domestic violence these days. During the COVID-19 pandemic, incidents of domestic violence rose dramatically. Domestic violence can happen in any kind of relationship—parent/child, married partners, couples living together and other friends or family members. You do not need to be in a romantic relationship to experience domestic violence. In fact, it can happen to or be committed by anyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, ethnicity, income or education.

If you’ve been accused of domestic violence, make sure to call a domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible. These are serious charges that can have an impact on the rest of your life.

Defining domestic violence

Domestic violence usually includes both a physical and psychological abuse component. Victims may suffer sexual abuse, stalking, financial abuse, verbal abuse and otherwise threatening behavior. You may have heard about the “cycle of violence,” where an abuser is triggered, commits an abusive behavior, then enters a “honeymoon period” to convince the victim to stay. The honeymoon period confuses victims and makes them doubt whether the abuse is really that bad.

The domestic violence umbrella covers a number of crimes. In Florida, it’s defined as “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.”

While general domestic abuse does include psychological, financial and verbal abuse, those are not usually prosecuted as crimes.

Domestic violence in Florida

In Florida, the most common domestic violence charge is simple assault, making up about 80 percent of the charges incurred. Aggravated assault is the second most common charge. In 2018, there were 196 domestic violence-related homicides committed. By far, the most common victim is the spouse, but co-habitants and children are also at risk.

If you are the victim of domestic violence, be sure to call the police, shelters and other domestic abuse resources. Many places offer resources to help victims escape domestic abusers. However, if you were charged with a domestic violence-related crime, it’s important that you call an attorney as soon as possible. Whatever the facts of your case, you need a domestic violence lawyer to help you navigate the complex legal system—and help you get a fair result.

Is domestic violence a felony or misdemeanor?

Since domestic violence is charged by the actual crime committed (battery, assault, rape, stalking, murder), the prosecution will determine whether the charges are either a felony or misdemeanor. Prosecutors charge defendants based on how much evidence they have, and whether they believe they can succeed on a certain charge. That’s why defendants need an attorney. Your lawyer will review the charges and evidence. If the prosecution’s case is lacking evidence, or there were mitigating circumstances, you may be able to negotiate a plea deal—or get the charges dismissed altogether.

When you need the assistance of a domestic violence lawyer, call K.J. Law P.A. today.

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