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Florida Domestic Violence Laws

A Florida couple was in the news recently after being arrested for domestic violence. The notable part of their story was the “weapons” that were used in the altercation. The Huffington Post reports that Suzanne Hurlvert and Carl Owen Smith got into an argument about Smith’s desire to drink at the bar every night. During the argument Hulvert used her half eaten Taco Bell Bell Burrito extreme to hit Smith in the head. He was eating a Taco Bell pizza and used his plastic fork to stab her in the hand. According to the Huffington Post, Smith was charged with aggravated battery and Hurlvert was charged with domestic violence related battery.

This case brings up questions about Florida domestic violence law and what the penalties can be.

Florida Law

Florida Domestic Relations Law 741.28 defines what qualifies as domestic violence. Domestic violence is defined as “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 and household members include people who have a child together, spouses, former spouses, and persons related by blood or marriage. Unless people share a child together, they also must have resided with the family member or currently live with them.

Penalties for Domestic Violence

The penalties for domestic violence can be very steep. Those convicted of domestic battery may be required to spend up to a year on probation and also must complete a “Batterers Intervention Program.” People found guilty of domestic violence may also serve jail time, be sentenced to community service and/or lose some important rights.

No Contact Orders

Many times the judge will impose a “no contact” order against a party who has been charged with domestic violence. It prohibits the accused from being able to contact an alleged victim. This can be especially problematic when the parties are currently living together or have children in common. The criminal defense strategy may involve trying to get the no contact order dropped if the alleged victim does not want to press charges.


Someone who believes they are or are at risk of becoming a victim of domestic violence may also ask for an injunction mandating that the defendant vacate a shared residence, participate in treatment, and/or stay away from the alleged victim. Defendants are able to contest these hearings and present evidence as to why the injunction should not be granted.

Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges

There are many defenses to domestic violence charges, and a skilled attorney can help you to prepare and present these defenses in court. Some of the most common defenses include disputing the facts of the incident, self-defense, absence of injuries, and mutual combat.

Clearwater Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you were charged with domestic violence or have an injunction filed against you, it is important that you talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to help fight the charges. Our skilled Clearwater, Florida defense attorneys at Roman & Roman, PA can help with your defense.

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