Domestic Battery

Florida Battery & Domestic Violence Defense Attorney

Domestic Violence & Domestic Battery

Several years ago, the State of Florida placed a priority on arrests and prosecutions for domestic battery. The reason for this is obvious. Deaths have occurred and serious injuries have occurred in domestic violence situations.

homicide1400wAs a former prosecutor and defense attorney,
Larry Sandefer has handled hundreds of domestic violence charges, and represented people in various types of domestic charges from simple domestic battery, battery on the elderly, elderly abuse, aggravated battery, to homicide and murder.

When the police are called to a domestic dispute, they are often directed to make an arrest in order to defuse the situation. Similarly, the State Attorney has a directive to vigorously prosecute domestic battery.

Factually, it is not always clear who the at-fault party is in a domestic situation. Quite often the first person to make a phone call to the police is the one who is classified as a victim. Sometimes, the actual victim may be the person arrested. Also, there are often mitigating factors which can be considered in domestic situations. Experienced representation by a domestic violence defense lawyer in this area is extremely important.

What is ‘Domestic’ Battery

The Florida Domestic Violence Law

Florida Statute 741.28 defines domestic violence as any assault, battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravating stalking, kidnaping, false imprisonment or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of a family or household member by another who is or has resided in the same dwelling unit.

Family or household members can include spouses, and even former spouses, as well as adults related by blood or marriage. Persons who are living together may also qualify as domestic.

Battery is defined as actually and intentionally touching her striking another person against their will or intentionally causing bodily harm to another person. A battery can be a felony if there is a serious injury or a previous simple battery conviction

A domestic battery can also be a felony if it is alleged that the person committed domestic violence by strangulation.

Quite often charges of false imprisonment were tampering with a witness a company a charge of domestic battery. Often there is an allegation that someone is held in a location against their will or that a person has taken their means of communication, such as a telephone, away from them, thus tampering with their ability to contact the authorities.

A domestic violence injunction is something that is sought in civil court and is not by itself a criminal charge. However, if someone has an injunction against them and violates it, this can become a criminal charge of violation of an injunction, and a person can be jailed for this. If a person is served with a domestic violence injunction, they have a right to defend that before a judge. Notice will be sent. You should seek the assistance and advice of an experienced domestic violence defense attorney or Stalking defense attorney. Whatever occurs at an injunction hearing may be used in the prosecution of a criminal charge.

Bond Under Domestic Battery

‘No Bond’ Situations and No Contact Orders

Special laws apply to arrests for domestic violence. After an arrest, a person will normally appear at an advisory hearing before a judge. Most domestic violence charges require a period of time a person must stay in jail before a person may be released or given a bond. Once you have met that minimum time period and you are given a bond, normally there also will be issued a “no contact” order. This order will include no contact of any type with the alleged victim. This would include contact through other persons, by telephone, directly or indirectly. Violation of this order could result in the bond being revoked and potential additional charges of violation of a pretrial release and, in certain instances, stalking or aggravated stalking. We can file a motion to lift the no contact order but you should not have contact if you have a no contact order, even if the other person wants it or initiates it. They are not under the same order, even if it is consensual, contact violates the order and can result in immediate jail even if initiated by the other person. You should consult with a domestic violence defense attorney about all issues when you have been charged or accused of domestic violence or domestic battery. We can discuss that and options available to you.

Deciding to Prosecute Domestic Battery Cases

How is the Decision to File Charges Made by the State Attorney’s Office?

Can I get my case dropped?

An arrest itself does not automatically mean a charge will be filed by the State Attorney’s Office. However, the State Attorney’s Offices are aggressive in their prosecution of domestic violence. As a result, it is important for an experienced Pinellas County Domestic Violence Attorney, or an experienced Pasco County Domestic Violence Attorney to contact the State Attorney at the earliest opportunity regarding any defenses and mitigation regarding the arrest. Also, if contact is requested by both parties, that will need to be addressed before a Judge. It is important to see a domestic violence attorney early. Larry Sandefer will address with you mitigation matters and other evidence which may need to be obtained or preserved to help your defense or resolve the case favorably to you, such as photographs, telephone calls, and the names of potential witnesses, whether to consider beginning counseling programs or anger management  or substance abuse evaluations.  These are important decision that we can help you with.

The state attorney’s office Sixth Judicial Circuit covers both Pinellas and Pasco counties. Larry Sandefer is a former prosecutor in the Sixth Judicial Circuit having handled hundreds of domestic violence and domestic battery cases both as a prosecutor and defense attorney in both counties. In fact Mr. Sandefer was a Division Director and Lead Trial Attorney at the state attorney’s office overseeing and training attorneys.

     Early intervention by a domestic violence defense attorney can be critical in domestic battery cases especially if our goal is to get the state not to file the charge.  Often, we are able to get an order to allow contact with the other person if that is something which both people want and beneficial in the case. Often, the incident was a misunderstanding and the alleged victim may want to testify in our clients behalf and may wish to go to the state attorney’s office in the clients behalf. We will assist you in doing these things in the proper manner and to optimize the chance of success.

By meeting with the state attorney early, often more serious charges can be avoided or alternatives to charging can be addressed. Attacking a case early can save thousands of dollars in court costs, fines, counseling, or trial. Meeting with an experienced domestic violence attorney early and allowing us to investigate the case will give us the best opportunity at dismissal or avoidance of the charges or a conviction.

Domestic Violence Cases are often felonies.  The most common domestic felonies that we see are a second or more simple battery charge becomes a third degree felony.  Aggravated battery with a weapon or serious injury is a second degree felony and can carry a prison sentence as a disposition.  Battery on a pregnant female is a felony no matter how minor the touching or battery may be.  Each case and the people involved with it are very different and should be handled individually including how it is presented to a Judge or to the State Attorney.

Do not assume that because the alleged victim wants to drop the charges that the state will drop them.   The state attorney will take that in to consideration but quite often decides to file  a criminal charge anyhow.  Catching these seemingly ‘easy’ cases is very important in maximizing the chances of getting the State Attorney not to file charges or to file a reduced charge.  Don’t wait, call for a free consultation.  It costs you nothing and will help you in deciding what is best for your case.

Domestic Violence Intervention Program

Is That an Option for You?

Should a charge of domestic battery or another domestic charge be filed against you, and you do not want to go to a full jury trial, you may be eligible for a domestic violence intervention diversion program. This is available for first time offenders and requires you to complete certain conditions over a period of time, which is usually six months to one year. If you complete the conditions required you may be eligible to obtain a dismissal of the charge without proceeding through a jury trial. This may or may not be an option for you. You should speak freely and confidentially to someone from our firm so that we can discuss all defenses and the facts of your individual situation.

Also, Sandefer Law Firm can negotiate with the prosecutor regarding a disposition on your charge or a reduction in an effort to obtain the best disposition in respect to your case. If your case is not reduced or dismissed your best option may be a trial before a jury. These are matters which should be discussed at length if you’re experienced domestic violence attorney.

It may be possible to avoid a formal conviction even if a charge is filed. Other considerations which need to be addressed in a domestic violence charge involve matters such as possession of a firearm, employment matters, and whether the charge may be able to be later sealed or expunged.


Every domestic violence charge and case is unique.  Every person is unique and the background of every situation is vastly different.  You should not rely on the advice of family members or friends, their situation and the facts involved may be different.  The prosecutor’s attitude toward your specific fact pattern may be something important to consider.   You should speak with a Pinellas County or Pasco County domestic violence criminal defense lawyer. The initial consultation with Sandefer Law Firm is free. If you are looking for the best attorney for you, please review Larry’s qualifications and experience on this website. When selecting the proper attorney, you should compare experience and qualifications and knowledge and ask friends and people in the legal community. Mr. Sandefer has represented people in all walks of life as well as people who work in the court system and even in law enforcement. His reputation and experience are well known. CALL US NOW TO SET UP A FREE CONFIDENTIAL MEETING TO DISCUSS YOUR CASE.

When you are looking for the best domestic violence attorney for you please consider our background and experience. When Experience Counts, Count on Experience. We will be with you every step of the way.

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How Is The Decision to Prosecute Made in Domestic Violence Cases?