Domestic Violence Battery

Between the NFL and pop music, Domestic Violence cases often make the news. Battery, striking someone against his or her will, makes up a ton of those cases. But what’s the difference between Battery and Domestic Violence Battery? In Narvaez v. State, the Fourth District Court of Appeal looks at a case where the lawyers mix the two of them up at trial.

The Difference Between Battery and Domestic Violence Battery

There are two differences between Battery and Domestic Violence Battery: the relationship between the parties and the punishment. Indeed, there’s no relationship requirement for Battery. Anyone can hit anyone and be charged with Battery. On the other hand, Domestic Violence Battery occurs between a family or household member. It also must result in physical injury or death. Without being family or sharing a home, it’s a simple Battery.

Additionally, Domestic Violence Battery includes extra rules at sentencing. Under Florida Statute § 741.281, offenders must serve a minimum 1 year of probation and complete a batterer’s intervention course. Under Florida Statute § 741.283, some offenders must serve jail as well.

Jury Instruction Mix Up of the Battery Crimes

The State of Florida tries Narvaez on a bunch of serious felonies and Domestic Violence Battery. When the lawyers prepare the jury instructions, they use a Battery instruction instead of Domestic Violence Battery. Although the State charges Narvaez with Domestic Violence Battery, the jury convicts him of Battery instead. Thus, his lawyer files a Motion to Correct Sentence under Rule 3.800 that the judge ignores. So he appeals.

On appeal, the Fourth District agrees that the judge sentenced Narvaez for the wrong crime. Battery and Domestic Violence Battery are two different crimes. Clearly, the jury never found him guilty of the extra elements of Domestic Violence Battery. Therefore, the Court reverses his sentence. On remand, the State can decide to sentence him for simple Battery or empanel a new jury to try him for the proper crime.

Read the Narvaez opinion here!

Talk to an Experienced Florida Criminal Defense Attorney!

Just because you’ve been arrested for Domestic Violence Battery, it doesn’t mean the State will file charges. The State reviews evidence, talks to witnesses and gathers proof. Without proof, the case ends quickly. A good lawyer can help you find the proof you need to avoid charges. Also, filing charges isn’t always in everyone’s best interest.

For years, Mr. Brown worked with a family law firm handling criminal cases for their clients. He’s prosecuted and he’s defended them. He’s even defended a client facing both a Domestic Violence Battery injunction and criminal charge at the same time. Because these matters are especially tricky, call Mr. Brown as soon as you can to see if he can help you best protect yourself! Reach out over the phone at (954) 524-6700 or through the Contact Page if you have any questions.

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