A St. Johns County police deputy was recently arrested. According to an article in the St. Augustine Record, the officer was arrested for domestic battery, which is a first degree misdemeanor in Florida. The deputy allegedly hit a woman in the face at his house. His St. Johns County bond was set at $500.00 and he has been released.
In Jacksonville and all over Florida, a battery is committed when someone intentionally touches or strikes the victim against his or her will or intentionally causes bodily harm to another person. The battery becomes “domestic” when the victim is a family or household member. This includes spouses, ex-spouses, blood relatives, people who have children in common and people who reside together as if a family or who have lived together as a family sometime in the past. A simple battery, without the domestic part, is a misdemeanor charge, punishable by up to a year in jail. When the charge becomes domestic, punishments can be more severe. The court may impose mandatory jail time and the defendant may have to complete a twenty-four class batterers’ intervention program. This is an intense program that is completed while the defendant is on domestic battery probation in Florida. If there is a violation of probation, the defendant can be placed back in jail to address the violation.
In addition to simple and domestic battery, there are also higher levels of battery in Florida. A person commits an Aggravated Battery when they intentionally committed a battery and in the process, caused great bodily harm or permanent disability to the victim or used a deadly weapon. The elevated battery charge becomes a felony, punishable by prison time. If the victim of a battery is pregnant, this also converts the misdemeanor battery to a felony. If a person has been convicted of prior misdemeanor battery charges, the State Attorney’s Office may charge any subsequent battery charge as a felony in Florida.
As in any criminal case, prosecutors have a lot of discretion in what they choose to file and what the choose to drop. It is so important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately after arrest. The attorney can meet with the prosecutor assigned to the case and present mitigating information prior to a decision being made.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Duval County Domestic Battery Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.