What is Domestic Battery?

Written by:Julian Stroleny PortraitJulian Stroleny
Upset Woman

Consider this scenario: You and your spouse or romantic partner get into a fight. Things get a little out of hand, resulting in offensive physical contact. Does this mean you could be charged with felony domestic battery or domestic violence in Florida? The answer is yes. Even if you did not mean to escalate the situation, you could still be charged with and convicted of a crime and may have to serve time in jail.

If you or someone you love is facing charges of domestic battery in Florida, your first step should be to get strong legal representation from a proven domestic violence lawyer for your defense.

What Constitutes Domestic Battery in Florida?

Domestic violence battery under Florida law is when someone intentionally touches or hits another person against their will, and the person affected is considered a “family or household member or domestic partner.” According to Section 741.28 of the Florida Statutes, family or household members include:

  • Spouses and former spouses
  • People related by blood or marriage (including those with a mental or physical disability)
  • People who currently live together as a family or did so in the past
  • People who share a child, no matter if they are married or not

In most domestic violence cases (except those involving shared children), the law considers whether the people involved live together or have lived together before.

The word “intentional” is also important here; if it is an accident, like bumping into someone, that generally does not count as domestic battery. It is more about actions that are harmful or offensive on purpose, even if they do not leave a mark. A slap or a push fits this definition if the victim does not want it to happen.

Consent is a key factor in domestic battery cases. If the accuser was okay with the contact, it is not battery. But consent gets tricky where there is an uneven power dynamic or fear of consequences. The seriousness of any bodily injury does not define domestic battery, but it can influence the severity of the charges. For example, using a deadly weapon or causing serious harm could turn a domestic battery charge (or domestic violence charge) into an aggravated battery case.

Penalties for a Domestic Battery Conviction in Florida

The domestic battery offense is a first-degree misdemeanor, which means, if you are convicted, you could face up to one year in jail or be put on probation for the same amount of time along with a $1,000 fine.

But there is more to a conviction than just jail time and fines:

  • If there was physical contact (read: harm) and you are found guilty, you might have to spend at least five days in jail.
  • You may be ordered to complete the 26-week Batterer’s Intervention Program (BIP).
  • You could lose some of your civil rights, like the right to carry a concealed weapon.
  • The court could add on extra hours of community service.
  • The court might issue an order that stops you from making any contact with the alleged victim (an injunction or “no contact” order).

Potential Defenses Against Domestic Battery Charges

For misdemeanor domestic battery charges to stick, the prosecutor must prove the accusations beyond reasonable doubt. The entire case is built upon the concept of “intent.” Florida law requires proof that you chose to make contact, knowing that it was against the wishes of the other person. The intention to cause harm or knowingly break the law is not a requirement for the charge; rather, it is the act of making unwelcome contact that is key. 

Being charged with domestic battery does not automatically mean you are out of legal options. There are several defense strategies that could establish your innocence.

Lack of proximity to the alleged incident

If there is no proof you were near the alleged victim when the incident happened, this could work in your favor. Having an alibi strengthens your domestic battery case if you can back it up with evidence. It can be a powerful defense if you are at work or at a social gathering with videos to prove it.


If you believed you were in imminent danger of being hurt and acted to protect yourself with reasonable force, this could be a valid defense. For example, if a former partner was approaching you aggressively and you pushed them away to prevent harm, that is seen as defending yourself. However, using excessive force, like hitting someone with a car because they threatened you, would not be considered self-defense.

Police misconduct

If law enforcement acted improperly, such as entering your home without a warrant or not informing you of your rights at the time of arrest, it could be central to your defense.

False accusations

Unfortunately, false accusations can happen. They may stem from spite during breakups or disputes. If you have evidence like threatening texts from the accuser hinting at making a false claim against you, share them with your defense attorney right away.

Argument Between People

Choose Stroleny Law for a Strong Defense Strategy Against Domestic Battery Charges

Experienced criminal defense lawyer Julian Stroleny will pursue every possible legal option to defend you against a domestic battery charge. We may use the following potential defenses: 

  • Questioning the accuracy of what was reported about the incident
  • Pointing out a lack of injuries
  • Highlighting that the claim of battery is not supported by any proof
  • Suggesting the accuser might have motives other than the truth
  • Arguing you were defending yourself, someone else, or your property
  • Citing the “Stand Your Ground” law
  • Arguing the confrontation was agreed upon or was a case of mutual combat

If you are facing domestic violence charges, whether or not serious bodily injury is involved, we encourage you to reach out to us as soon as possible. Getting started early allows us to step in swiftly to preserve evidence in your favor and build strong defenses, legal arguments, and any details that might make the prosecution think twice about proceeding against you.

Handling domestic battery charges early before charges are formally filed can often make a key difference. Even if you are under a “no contact” order, we can still reach out to the accuser to assess if they want to proceed with the case. We are prepared to fight for your freedom and stand up aggressively for you in court if needed. To schedule a free case review, call us at (786) 481-4129 today.

Request a Free Case Evaluation

Fill out the form below and we will respond to you shortly.

The materials on this web site are intended for informational purposes only. The materials on this Web site are not intended to be, nor should they be interpreted as, legal advice or opinion. The reader should not consider this information to be an invitation to an attorney client relationship, should not rely on information presented here for any purpose, and should always seek the legal advice of counsel in the appropriate jurisdiction. Transmission and receipt of the information in this site and/or communication with the Firm via e-mail is not intended to solicit or create, and does not create, an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and any person or entity.