While most couples in Florida will get into arguments now and then, sometimes these situations escalate until one party is accusing the other of committing an act of domestic violence. People might assume that domestic violence only involves causing physical harm to a spouse. However, the crime of domestic violence is much broader than that.

In Florida, a person can commit an act of domestic violence not just against a spouse, but also against an ex-spouse, the co-parent of the accused’s child, a relative of the accused either by blood or marriage or those who cohabitate together or used to cohabitate together. In certain circumstances a person can commit domestic violence against a person they have or used to have a dating relationship with, even if they do not live together.

Nor are domestic violence crimes limited to assault and battery. Domestic violence crimes can also include sexual assault, stalking, kidnaping and other criminal offenses. If aggravating factors per state law are present, the crime may be prosecuted as a felony and thus any punishments are more significant should the accused be found guilty.

Being accused of domestic violence can seriously affect one’s life for years to come. A person may be subjected to a restraining order that can affect where they can live, where they can go and who they can have contact with. If found guilty, they may even face jail time among other consequences. Thus, it is important that those who are facing charges of domestic violence and related offenses to make sure they develop a solid defense strategy that protects their best interests.