Dating Violence in Florida

Palm Beach Defense Lawyer

In Florida, dating violence is a criminal offense. A conviction for this crime can have serious consequences for the future of a defendant, including the possibility of being served with a protective injunction, jail time, and the payment of heavy fines. If you or someone you know has been charged with committing dating violence, it is imperative that you retain an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible to help ensure that your loved one has the best defense possible.

Dating Violence

Dating violence is violence between two people who have or have had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. To determine whether such a relationship existed, a court will consider the following factors:

  • Whether a dating relationship existed within the past six months;
  • Whether the nature of the relationship was characterized by the expectation of affection or sexual involvement between the parties; and
  • Whether the frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship included that the persons had been involved over time and on a continuous basis during the course of the relationship.

Dating violence does not include violence that takes place in a casual acquaintanceship or violence between individuals who have only engaged in ordinary fraternization in a business or social context.

Violence

Violence is defined as any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, or false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death, by a person against any other person.

A person who has reasonable cause to believe that he or she is in imminent danger of becoming the victim of one of these types of violence at the hands of his or her dating partner can immediately file a petition seeking an injunction for protection.

If a minor is involved in an instance of dating violence and lives at home, then the parent or legal guardian of that individual can seek an injunction for protection on behalf of the child.

Petition

In order to be considered valid, the sworn petition provided by the petitioner must allege the incidents of dating violence, including the specific facts and circumstances of the altercation.

If the complainant is a minor living at home, the parent seeking the protective injunction on behalf of the child must have reasonable cause to believe that the minor child is a victim of repeat dating violence. If the petitioner is unable to sufficiently establish these facts, it will be much more difficult, if not impossible, to prove that the offense of dating violence was committed.

Hearing

Once a petition has been filed, the court will set a hearing at the earliest possible time. The individual accused of committing the offense must be personally served with a copy of the petition, notice of hearing, and temporary injunction before the hearing takes place.

Penalties

A person accused of committing dating violence may be faced with a temporary or permanent injunction, limiting his or her contact with the victim. Any violation of the injunction can result in imprisonment for up to one year and the payment of a $1,000 fine.

If you have been charged with dating violence, the advice of an attorney is necessary to help you evade or reduce the devastating costs that such a charge can have on your future. Please contact West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney William Wallshein for a free consultation.