The defendant was charged with domestic violence battery in violation of sections 784.03(1) and 741.283, Florida Statutes (2018). Section 741.283 establishes minimum terms of imprisonment for those adjudicated guilty of a crime of domestic violence as defined in section 741.28, Florida Statutes. The charging document described the victim as a family or household member of the defendant. The trial court’s instruction to the jury was as follows: “To prove the crime of battery, the State must prove the following element beyond a reasonable doubt: Defendant actually and intentionally touched or struck the victim against her will. An intentional touching or striking includes situations where a defendant knows that a touch or strike is substantially certain to result from his or her act.” The jury found the defendant guilty of battery as charged. After the verdict and the dismissal of the jury, the trial court found that the battery was a crime of domestic violence. The defendant filed an appeal.
According to the appeals court a domestic violence designation under section 741.28(2), Florida Statutes (2018) triggers mandatory minimum sentences under section 741.283, Florida Statutes (2018). In this case, the facts necessary to a “domestic violence” designation are (1) a battery, (2) where the victim is a “family or household member” of the defendant, and (3) the battery resulted in physical injury or death of the victim. See section 741.28(2), Florida Statutes (2018). Section 741.283(1)(a), Florida Statutes (2018) describes the mandatory minimum sentences for first, second, and third or subsequent domestic violence offenses and requires that the defendant has “intentionally caused bodily harm to another person”. Here, the jury was charged only on misdemeanor battery. It was not asked to make findings regarding bodily harm or injury of the victim or the victim’s status as a family or household member of the defendant. Therefore, the trial judge was precluded from making the domestic violence finding on her own.
See Bethea v. State, 319 So.3d 666 (Fla. 5th DCA 2021)
Someone Is Going To Jail
When law enforcement officers respond to a call regarding domestic violence they come with the presumption that someone is going to get arrested and go to jail. So once the officers arrive it is normally just a matter of figuring out who is going to jail for domestic violence charges. Contrary to what some people believe who call 911 law enforcement officers do not respond to resolve domestic disputes. They respond to determine if a crime has been committed and to arrest that person or persons and to take them to jail. Many times the person who called 911 for assistance in a domestic dispute is the person who ultimately ends up getting arrested and going to jail with domestic violence charges even though the 911 caller is really the victim but the law enforcement officers decided to believe the other person’s story.
The Investigation To Determine Who
When law enforcement officers arrive at the scene of a domestic disturbance they traditionally separate the two people and get their stories. If the stories do not match and they normally do not match then the officers look for physical evidence like injuries and damage to the surrounding area to try to determine what actually happened and if what happened was a crime and if so who committed that crime. If someone else was present during the incident other than the two people involved then unfortunately when two stories match and there is no contrary physical evidence to that story then whoever that story says committed a crime is going to jail. I call this sandbox rules two beats one end of story. Unfortunately, sometimes the third person present is biased toward one of the two people like a family member or friend but that usually does not seem to matter to most law enforcement officers, sandbox rules still apply apparently. Once they determine that a crime was committed they arrest that person committed a crime. Sometimes that means both people get arrested.
What Should Someone Do Who Has Been Arrested And Taken to Jail For Domestic Violence Charges
If you have been arrested for a domestic violence charge please contact Chris S. Boatright, P.A. at 407-740-8300 to discuss your case. Chris is a former domestic violence prosecutor who has been defending people with domestic violence charges for over 18 years. Why not put his domestic violence defense knowledge and experience to work for you.
Don’t let domestic violence charges ruin your life. Domestic violence charges can be beaten for many reasons. Chris has beaten them for many clients in the past and he may be able to beat them for you. Call 407-740-8300 for a free consultation.