While you may thing family law focuses solely on divorce, it also includes a very unfortunate side of life – domestic violence.
Unfortunately, spouses (and former spouses) are the primary targets of domestic violence. In Florida, domestic violence has two elements – there must be an overt act or threat, and that act must be committed against someone with whom the aggressor has a familiar relationship. Even if an act isn’t inherently violent in nature, it can still be considered an act of domestic violence.
If you or a loved one is a victim of domestic violence, don’t wait. Call an Orlando domestic violence attorney immediately. The Lake County divorce lawyers at Holden & Darby in Tavares spend multiple hours a week studying and researching new case law. They will let you know your rights, help you to file a restraining order if needed, and help you seek justice.
Types of Domestic Violence in Florida
In Florida, the following could be considered acts of domestic violence:
Stalking – This can take many forms. Florida laws consider stalking to include a pattern of conduct that takes place over a short period of time. It may include a credible threat – delivered either in person, in writing or online. Florida laws also cover cyberstalking. Depending on the type of stalking, this crime may be a misdemeanor or a felony. If you believe you’re a victim of stalking, you may seek a restraining order (see below).
Aggravated stalking – This occurs when someone willfully, maliciously and repeatedly follows, harasses or cyberstalks another person and makes a credible threat to that person. Aggravated stalking is a third-degree felony in Florida.
Kidnapping or False Imprisonment – This means forcibly or by threat confining, abducting or imprisoning another person against his or her will. Kidnapping can occur with either an adult or a minor. Kidnapping is a first-degree felony in Florida.
Battery – This occurs when a person either intentionally and actually strikes another person against the will of another, or intentionally causes bodily harm to another person. Felony is a first-degree misdemeanor.
Aggravated battery – An aggravated battery often involves striking another person with the intent of inflicting serious bodily harm or by using a deadly weapon. This is a second-degree felony.
Assault – An assault is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to another person. This is a second-degree misdemeanor.
Aggravated assault – Aggravated assault means you threaten to commit a violent act with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, or with an intent to commit a felony. Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony.
Sexual battery or assault – Any sexual act committed or threated against another person’s will. Penalties vary based on the crime and age of the perpetrator and victim.
When to Seek a Restraining Order
If you have been the victim of domestic violence or have reason to believe you and your family may not be safe in the presence of an individual, you may pretention the court for a restraining order.
A restraining order is a legally binding document that requires one party to stay a certain distance away from the individual or party filing for the restraining order. The party filing for the order must convince a judge in family court that domestic violence has occurred or that it is likely to occur. However, temporary restraining orders are easier to obtain, and may be granted based solely on an individual’s sworn statements without a hearing.
How Long Does a Temporary Restraining Order Last in Florida?
Unfortunately, temporary restraining orders only last 15 days before they must be extended.
When to Call an Orlando Domestic Violence Attorney
If you or someone you love is a victim of domestic violence – or if you or a loved one are in need of a restraining order – you should contact an experienced Orlando domestic violence attorney immediately, as these cases are very sensitive. Do not hesitate. The attorneys at Holden & Darby can help.
Call or email us today for a consultation.