Domestic Violence Battery

Just because you were arrested for domestic violence battery does not mean the case will be successfully prosecuted. Prosecutors often have difficulty proving the accusation beyond all reasonable doubt at trial. For this reason, if you intend to hire a criminal defense attorney, do so during the early stages of the case.

For domestic violence cases in Tampa, FL, the six criminal justice attorneys at Sammis Law Firm work hard to convince the prosecutor to drop the charges quickly so that any record of the arrest or prosecution can be expunged.

When it comes to accusations of domestic violence, false or exaggerated allegations are all too common. The person who makes the accusation might be confused, angry, or seeking revenge.

Someone motivated to make a false allegation can manipulate the criminal justice system. Improper motivations to make a false allegation in domestic violence cases are more common during disputes about:

  • how to divide property or money after a separation;
  • who gets to live in the family home;
  • how custody or child support will be determined;
  • whether one person cheated on another;
  • remaining in the country as an immigrant spouse; or
  • securing some unfair advantage in an immigration case.

In other cases, the alleged victim might WANT the charges dropped because the parties have sought counseling or made changes within their family to ensure that another incident will not occur. Either way, we can help.

Attorneys for Domestic Violence Crimes in Tampa, FL

If you were arrested for domestic violence, including BATTERY (DOMESTIC VIOLENCE) (BATT1103), for touching or striking another person, contact an attorney to find the best way to fight the charges. The best result in these cases is getting the charges dropped quickly and getting the arrest record expunged if you are eligible.

The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm represent clients throughout the greater Tampa Bay area, including Hillsborough County and the surrounding counties. We are experienced in representing clients on various misdemeanor or felony domestic violence crimes in Hillsborough County, FL.

Misdemeanor charges for “BATTERY (DOMESTIC VIOLENCE) (BATT1103)” often involve an offense touching, such as a slap, grab, push, or shove, even when no injury occurs. Felony domestic violence crimes include:

  • aggravated domestic violence battery with serious bodily injury;
  • aggravated domestic violence assault with a weapon or firearm;
  • domestic battery by strangulation;
  • battery on a pregnant female; or
  • battery on a person over the age of 65 years old.

Call our office to speak directly with an experienced criminal defense attorney about your arrest for domestic violence. We take the time to listen to your side of the story and understand all the facts and circumstances unique to your case.

Our domestic violence attorneys represent both men and women in the courtrooms in Tampa or Plant City in Hillsborough County, St. Petersburg or Clearwater in Pinellas County, New Port Richey or Dade City in Pasco County, Bartow or Lakeland in Polk County, and Brooksville in Hernando County.

Call (813) 250-0500 to talk to us about your case.

Judges for Domestic Violence Cases in Hillsborough County

All domestic violence cases that involve defendants domiciled outside of the East Division boundaries will be assigned to Division “F” at the courthouse in Tampa, FL. The Judge currently assigned to misdemeanor domestic violence cases prosecuted at the courthouse in Tampa, FL, is assigned to the Honorable Michael C. Bagge-Hernandez, a judge in county court in Division “F.”

According to Hillsborough County’s Administrative Order S-2017-067, the term “domestic violence case” means any misdemeanor case arising from the conduct of one family or household member (as defined in section 741.28, Florida Statutes) against another, including assault, battery, harassment, stalking and misdemeanor violations of section 741.31, Florida Statutes.

If the person has a domestic violence case pending or is on probation in Division “F,” East County Criminal Division “P” or East County Criminal Division “X,” then if that person is subsequently charged with a new misdemeanor charge that is not a domestic violence case, the new misdemeanor charge will be assigned to a county criminal division according to the assignment provision in this administrative order.

If a defendant is on probation in a division other than Division “F” or East County Criminal Divisions “P” or “X” and is subsequently charged with a domestic violence case, the clerk will file the domestic violence case in Division “F” or east County Criminal Divisions “P” or “X” and the probation case will remain in the division in which it is pending.

Consequences of Domestic Violence Charges in Florida

A simple battery requires an “offensive touching” that might include a touch, strike, slap, grab, push, or punch. The notation of “domestic violence” does not create a separate type of battery. Instead, “domestic violence” refers to how the crime is classified when determining other issues, such as the pre-trial release conditions or collateral consequences.

If you were charged with a crime for any form of domestic violence, including BATTERY (DOMESTIC VIOLENCE) (BATT1103), then you need an experienced attorney for the following reasons:

  • Under Florida law, you are not able to immediately bond out of jail after an arrest for domestic violence because no bond will be set until after you see the judge at the first appearance. In other words, you will stay in jail after the arrest until you see the judge at the first appearance.
  • If you do not have an attorney representing you at your first court appearance within 24 hours after your arrest, the court will usually impose a “no contact” provision that will prevent you from returning to your home, seeing your children, or communicating with your spouse until a motion to modify this condition of your bond is granted after a court hearing.
  • If you have an attorney representing you at first appearance, the attorney can request modifications to the standard “no contact” provision.
  • The charge is classified as a “crime of violence,” and the mere allegation is extremely serious. Consider that a conviction for any domestic violence offense will cause a lifetime ban on your right to possess a firearm under state and federal law.
  • Even if you enter a plea of “no contest” and receive a “withhold of adjudication” on misdemeanor or felony charges, you will never be able to seal your criminal record for any domestic violence charge. This means that any employer will be able to view your mug shot on the law-enforcement website and read embarrassing details about your arrest and prosecution on the clerk of court website.
  • Additionally, private data-mining companies like or mugshots[dot]com will build pages about you on the internet that display the mug shot and facts about the arrest.
  • Most importantly, employers may be extremely hesitant to hire or promote anyone with a domestic violence arrest or conviction on a criminal record.
  • The arrest and prosecution can be used against you in a future divorce, family law, or child custody hearing.

Procedures for Domestic Violence Prosecutions in Florida

The courts in Hillsborough County (and many of the surrounding counties in the Tampa Bay area) funnel misdemeanor domestic violence cases into a special domestic violence division where prosecutors with the State Attorney’s Office concentrate on nothing but the prosecution of these unique types of cases.

In the Tampa courthouse, the clerk’s office funnels domestic violence cases into Division “F” with the Honorable Michael C. Bagge-Hernandez.

Florida Statute Section 741.2901 sets special rules for prosecutors in domestic violence cases. It provides for “specialized” prosecutors. It requires each state attorney’s office:

“develop special units or assign prosecutors to specialize in the prosecution of domestic violence cases…. Specializing in domestic violence cases, these prosecutors and their support staff shall receive training in domestic violence issues.”

The statute also requires:

“[t]he state attorney in each circuit shall adopt a pro-prosecution policy for acts of domestic violence, as defined in s. 741.28, and an intake policy and procedures coordinated with the clerk of court for violations of injunctions for protection against domestic violence.

The filing, non-filing, or diversion of criminal charges and the prosecution of violations of injunctions for protection against domestic violence by the state attorney shall be determined by these specialized prosecutors over the objection of the victim, if necessary.”

For this reason, prosecutors in Division “F” in the Tampa courthouse do nothing but prosecute domestic violence assault and domestic violence battery cases.

These prosecutors have special training in how to prosecute these problematic cases. You also need an attorney focused on these unique criminal cases to defend you against the charges and mount an aggressive defense.

Procedures Used by Tampa Police in Domestic Violence Cases

The standard operating procedures for the Tampa Police Department, SOP 314.1, provide that all domestic violence cases not involving an arrest will be referred to the Criminal Investigations Division and investigated per policy.

In domestic violence cases, officers with the Tampa Police Department will not issue any of the following:

  • a Request for Prosecution by Complainant;
  • an Assault Victim Instructions Form; or
  • a Notice to Appear.

Instead, the police are required to make a formal arrest if probable cause exists to believe the crime was committed. If the officer is not able to make an arrest, the officer must trigger the entry of a warrant for the person’s arrest on domestic violence charges, including domestic violence battery (batt1103).

Similar procedures are followed in other jurisdictions, including domestic violence cases in Pasco County, FL.

Procedures used by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

Offices at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office are receiving training to disarm domestic abusers. During an investigation, the officer will ask the alleged victim the following questions, fill out a form, and upload the form into the Veripic database.

If a domestic violence arrest is made, the officers will seize any firearms and list those documents in the police report for documentation purposes.

Disarming Domestic Abusers Form

Agency Name: ________________
Agency Case Number: ___________
Defendant Name: ______________
Defendant DOB: _______________
Victim Name: _________________

Under oath the victim related:

  • Does the offender own, possess, or have access to a firearm? _________________________
  • If yes, where is the firearm(s) located? _______________________________________
  • Has he/she ever threatened to use a firearm to harm the victim? ______________________
  • Is the victim concerned for their safety if the defendant is released from jail?_______________
  • If yes, why? __________________________________________________________

Potential Penalties for Domestic Violence Charges in Tampa, FL

In Florida, the penalties for a domestic violence charge can include:

  • incarceration (jail time or prison time) or a lengthy probation sentence;
  • completion of a Batterers Intervention Program (26-29 week course);
  • perform community service hours; and
  • “no contact” or “no violent contact” with the victim in the case (a violation of this condition can cause an arrest without bond for a violation of probation and a separate charge of felony aggravated stalking).

If you enter the Domestic Violence Intervention Program in Tampa or Hillsborough County, FL, the program requirements include:

  1. No new criminal charges while in the program;
  2. No contact with the victim (unless the victim signs a request to modify the standard terms to allow for contact);
  3. Successful completion of Batter’s Intervention Program (F.S. 741.281), which consists of:
    • a DV evaluation and treatment as recommended by a provider on the approved DV Treatment Providers list;
    • completion of the 16, 26, or 26+ weeks of treatment as recommended by the provider;
  4.  The costs associated with the DV Intervention Program include:
    • the $75.00 application fee, which does not include the service provider cost;
    • $75 costs of supervision for the first month and $55 a month thereafter; and
    • restitution when requested.

The best way to avoid these consequences is by seeking experienced representation at each stage of the case.

When children are present for the incident, the arrest might also result in a visit from an investigator with the Child Protective Investigations Division of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. The HCSO CPI investigator will often demand that one or both parents sign a “Child Safety Plan” after an allegation that the child witnessed a “physical altercation” between the mother and father or other family members that endangered the children, presenting a present or impending danger.

An experienced criminal defense attorney for domestic violence charges in Tampa, FL, can help you will any additional issues during the investigation.

Types of Domestic Violence Charges in Tampa, FL

Domestic violence offenses include both felonies and misdemeanors. Different types of domestic violence-related charges in Florida include:

  1. domestic violence assault or aggravated assault;
  2. domestic violence battery or aggravated battery;
  3. domestic violence battery by strangulation;
  4. violation of an order of protection against domestic or dating violence;
  5. stalking or aggravated stalking;
  6. kidnapping;
  7. false imprisonment;
  8. cyber harassment;
  9. tampering with a witness; or
  10. interference with a 911 call.

We also represent clients charged with violation of probation in a domestic violence case.

Seven Types of Domestic Violence in Florida

The seven most common types of domestic violence in Florida include:

  • Physical Violence – using part of a person’s body, an object, or a weapon, to touch or strike the victim in an offensive way or in a matter that causes bodily injury;
  • Sexual Violence – forcing the victim to take part in sexual activity unwillingly;
  • Emotional Violence – doing or saying things to make another person feel stupid, worthless, or mentally unstable;
  • Psychological Violence – using threats to cause fear in the victim as a way of gaining control;
  • Verbal Abuse – saying or writing words that cause the victim to be in fear of being harmed;
  • Financial Abuse – controlling the victim’s financial resources without their consent or misusing their resource; or
  • Neglect – failing to follow a legal or moral duty to provide care or financial assistance to the victim.

In many domestic violence cases, the alleged victim will claim to suffer from all seven forms of domestic violence.

Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence

Under section 741.30(1)(a), Florida Statutes, an injunction for protection against domestic violence may be available to someone “who is either the victim of domestic violence … or has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming the victim of any act of domestic violence.”

Domestic violence is defined as “any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.” § 741.28(2).

“Where ‘fear alone is the “reasonable cause” alleged to support the injunction, then not only must the danger feared to be imminent but the rationale for the fear must be objectively reasonable as well.’ ” Zapiola v. Kordecki, 210 So.3d 249, 250 (Fla. 2d DCA 2017).

When deciding the case, the court will consider whether the evidence presented at the hearing showed that the Petitioner had reasonable cause to believe that the Petitioner was in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence.

However, this requisite fear of imminent danger must be an objectively reasonable fear. Mitchell v. Mitchell, 198 So.3d 1096, 1100 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016). In making this determination, trial courts “must consider ‘the current allegations, the parties’ behavior within the relationship, and the history of the relationship as a whole.’ ” Leal v. Rodriguez, 220 So.3d 543, 545 (Fla. 3d DCA 2017).

Statistics on Domestic Violence Crimes in Florida

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Crime Trends – Domestic Violence, the number of domestic violence crimes in Florida has decreased dramatically over the past ten (10) years. Florida’s population has increased by 43.4% since 1998. Despite that increase in population, the number of reported domestic violence offenses has decreased from 133,345 reported in 1998 to 104,914 reported in 2018.

For 2018, FDLE labeled most domestic violence reports as “simple assaults” for reporting purposes. Simple assaults accounted for 84% of the incidents, with the remaining 16% labeled as “aggravated assaults.” In 2018, there were 19 cases of manslaughter and 196 cases of criminal homicide reported to the FDLE.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020,  incidents of domestic violence have reportedly increased, even though other types of crimes are down.

Learn more about frequently asked questions in domestic violence cases and defending women arrested for domestic violence, including DOMESTIC VIOLENCE BATTERY (BATT1103).

Florida Domestic Violence Court Information System (FDVCIS)

As a criminal justice agency, Florida’s State Courts System hired an OPS Court Operations Consultant to supervise projects related to improving criminal justice responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence, and stalking.

The consultation worked with project partners and criminal justice-related projects by editing the Sexual Violence Bench book and working with OSCA staff on improving the Florida Domestic Violence Court Information System (FDVCIS).

Partners included representatives from the Florida Institute on Interpersonal Violence (FIIV), a repository within the Office of Court Improvement that provides articles, webinars, videos, and training opportunities to enhance Florida’s response to domestic violence and the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV), an advocacy group focused on eliminating violence between intimate partners.

Juvenile Charges for Domestic Violence in Florida

The Florida Bar’s Juvenile Court Rules Committee filed a report proposing amendments to Florida Rule of Juvenile Procedure 8.013 (Detention Petition and Order).

The report proposed amending rule 8.013 to include the requirements in section 985.255(2), Florida Statutes (2022), and to improve clarity in accord with In re Guidelines for Rules Submissions, Florida Administrative Order No. AOSC22-78 (Oct. 24, 2022). The Florida Supreme Court approved the proposed amendments.

The court ordered a new subdivision (e)(6) added to clarify the requirement that pursuant to section 985.255(2), if a child is being detained on an offense that is classified as an act of domestic violence for forty-eight (48) hours as provided by law, the detention order must include specific written findings that respite care for the child is not available and that it is necessary to place the child in secure detention in order to protect the victim from injury.

Additional Resources

The Spring – Domestic Violence Shelter in Hillsborough County – Hillsborough’s only certified domestic violence prevention and emergency shelter agency. The Spring provides sanctuary to more than 50,000 abused adults and their children.

National Center for Victims of Crime – Dating Violence – The article published by the National Center for Victims of Crimes (NCVC) describes what dating violence is and what to do if you or someone you know is a victim.

American Bar Association – Commission on Domestic Violence – Visit the ABA’s Commission on Domestic Violence to learn more about protecting yourself and your children in an emergency situation involving domestic violence or abuse. The ABA’s Commission on Domestic Violence is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Learn more about its work over the past two decades to end domestic violence, and protect those unjustly accused.

Problems with the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence – The FCADV takes in over $35 million in taxpayer money each year. The President/CEO has an annual salary of more than $750,000 which is approved by the board. The organization doesn’t keep a line item budget, and the board members might have their hands in the cookie jar. Read more about the big problem with the FCADV and President/CEO Tiffany Carr.

Attorney for Domestic Violence in Pinellas County – Learn more about fighting misdemeanor domestic violence charges in Pinellas County. The Honorable Holly Grissinger, County Court Judge, presides over misdemeanor domestic battery cases at the Pinellas County Justice Center on 49th Street in Clearwater, FL.

Lawyers for Domestic Violence in Polk County – Domestic Violence cases are handled differently at the courthouse in Bartow, FL, for the Tenth Judicial Circuit. Find out more about how these cases are prosecuted in Polk County, FL, after an arrest by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Finding a Lawyer for Domestic Violence in Hillsborough County

After an arrest for any act of domestic violence in Hillsborough County, FL, call to speak with an experienced attorney who can discuss your case with you.

The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm fight to protect both men and women charged with domestic battery and other types of domestic violence allegations in Hillsborough County, Polk County, Pasco County, Hernando County, and the surrounding areas.

Keep in mind that if you are arrested for any charge of Domestic Violence, then under § 741.2901(3), Fla. Stat, you will not be released on a bail bond until after your first appearance hearing. After an arrest, you should take the appropriate steps to protect your future, your career, and your family.

Most of our clients were arrested for a first-time offense of domestic violence battery. The accusations are even more severe if you have a prior criminal record for any violent crime.

We are also familiar with an intimate partner’s issues when violence is alleged in an LGBT+ relationship. Anyone in a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT+) relationship accused of domestic violence often faces another layer of prejudice while the case is being investigated and prosecuted.

An aggressive criminal defense attorney can help you protect your rights after a false accusation. Call for attorney Leslie Sammis for any domestic battery charges in Hillsborough County, FL.

Call 813-250-0500.

This article was last updated on Thursday, October 19, 2023.