Written by attorney Jeffrey David Boston

Domestic Violence Battery in Florida

Domestic Violence Battery in Florida is also known as Battery (Domestic Violence) and is frequently abbreviated as "B (DV)" or just "DV."

The crime entails battery, which is the intentional touching or striking of another person against that person's will. For a battery to be "B (DV)" it must occur between family or household members [Florida Statute 741.28(2)]. A family or household member means spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons living together or those who have resided together as if a family, and persons with a child in common. With the exception of persons with a child in common, the persons involved must be residing together or have resided together in the same single dwelling unit.

B (DV) involves pushing, pulling, poking, pounding, and punching, and occasionally slapping and kicking. Law enforcement is called by the alleged victim, a witness, and sometimes the defendant, out of remorse or his believing it to be a "mutual combat" matter. law enforcement than interviews the alleged victim, maybe a witness or two, and sometimes (not often enough) the one arrested, who in turn becomes a defendant.

The reason why one is arrested and not given a notice to appear in court is sometimes due to the severity of the injuries involved, and always in order to separate the persons involved. Law enforcement has to make sure there is a "cooling off" period where there is no chance of further interaction because law enforcement does not want blood on its hands. Too often in the past, before the "primary aggressor" approach was implemented, the persons involved would soon be back arguing and battering, leading to injury or even death.

After a person is arrested, the matter is forwarded to "the state" (the local prosecutor's office), where it decides whether to file a formal charge. If there is an "Information" (formal charging document) filed by the state, the case would conclude with it being dropped by the state, the defendant pleading, or there being a trial. If the state files, then later decides to drop the case, such typically is not done until trial day and only done because it cannot prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, due to any of many reasons, and/or because the alleged victim did not want to proceed.

In such a case where the victim does not want to proceed [which is typical in B (DV) cases], the state usually has the person attend a class for such victims and complete a drop charge affidavit. In B (DV) cases, the alleged victim typically is a woman in a man-woman case, and a child in a child-adult case. Of course, there are exceptions and law enforcement is fair overall in its assessment of who is the "primary aggressor."

A primary aggressor is just what you would think it to mean - the person who was more aggressive; maybe not the one who started the argument or even the fight, but the one who caused the most harm (a bruise is worse than a red mark; a cut is worse than a scratch) or whose action was more egregious (a slap is worse than a push).

B (DV) is a first degree misdemeanor. A relatively new crime, B (DV) by strangulation, is a third degree felony. A B (DV) defendant may also be arrested and charged with Aggravated B (DV), a 2nd degree felony.

To avoid the time, stress, and money involved in a typical B (DV) case, one may not want to contact law enforcement if only poked in the shoulder or given a relatively soft push (many calls have been made over such "crimes"). Better yet, if in an argument, lessen the chance of things turning violent by sitting if standing, refusing to talk anymore, or or even walking away. Have the presence of mind to realize what is occurring.

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