Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers in Key West, Florida

How to Beat a Domestic Violence Charge in Key West, Florida

Domestic violence crimes encompass a vast array of criminal behavior, ranging from battery to kidnapping, and even to manslaughter or murder. Whether a crime is considered one of domestic violence in Key West will be dependent upon the nature of the relationship between the accused offender and the victim(s). Domestic violence crimes carry hefty penalties, and many are considered felonies under Florida law. Therefore, anyone who has been accused of domestic violence or is already facing domestic violence charges in Key West should contact a Key West domestic Violence Defense Lawyer as soon as possible. With legal rights on the line, accused individuals need the best representation possible.

Reported Incidents of Domestic Violence in Florida – What You Should Know

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement keeps track of statistics concerning alleged acts of domestic violence. According to data released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, in 2018, there was a total of 104,914 reports of domestic violence incidents in the state of Florida. A total of 83,980 of these reported domestic violence incidents were for simply assault, which equates to approximately 80 percent of all reported incidents of domestic violence in 2018.

The reported incidents of domestic violence are further broken down as follows:



Criminal Homicide




Forcible Rape


Forcible Fondling


Aggravated Assault


Simple Assault


Aggravated Stalking


Simple Stalking




The above-listed reported incidents of domestic violence do not always materialize into criminal charges in Key West. All reported incidents must first be investigated before an accused person can face criminal charges. However, it is important to remember that allegations of domestic violence – whatever the crime – can lead to the issuance of a domestic violence injunction even when an accused person is not facing criminal charges. Moreover, there are countless other domestic violence crimes in addition to the most common crimes identified above.

Domestic Violence Laws in Key West, Florida

Domestic violence includes a broad range of violent crimes that are committed by one household or family member against another family or household member. A crime cannot meet the definition of domestic violence unless the “household or family member” requirement is satisfied.

Per Florida Statute § 741.28(2), crimes of domestic violence include the following:

  • Assault;
  • Aggravated Assault;
  • Battery;
  • Aggravated Battery;
  • Sexual Battery;
  • Stalking;
  • Aggravated Stalking;
  • Kidnapping;
  • False Imprisonment; or
  • Any Criminal Offense Resulting in Physical Injury or Death.

Florida’s definition of domestic violence has a “catch-all” category that indicates any crime that results in physical injury or death qualifies as domestic violence so long as the “family or household member” requirement is met. “Family or household members” per Florida law include the following:

  • Spouses;
  • Former Spouses;
  • Persons Related by Blood or Marriage;
  • Persons Presently Residing Together as if a Family;
  • Persons Who Have Resided Together in the Past as a Family; and
  • Persons Who Share a Child in Common Regardless of Whether They Have Been Married.

In most cases, the family or household members must currently live together or have lived together in the past. Domestic violence cases that involve parents who share a child in common do not need to meet the “residence” requirement. Whether the parties to a domestic violence matter are family or household members is a matter that may be contested in some cases. As such, it is imperative to work with a skilled Key West Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer if you are facing domestic violence accusations or criminal charges.

Domestic Violence Injunctions in Key West, Florida

As previously stated, a person accused of domestic violence could face a domestic violence injunction even without facing criminal charges. A domestic violence injunction is one of five types of protective injunctions a person can obtain under Florida law. Protective injunctions are commonly known as restraining orders or orders of protection. Protective injunctions are civil court orders that are separate from any criminal matter pertaining to the same allegations of domestic violence.

Per Florida Statute § 741.30, a person can obtain a domestic violence injunction in Key West by filing a petition in civil court. The person filing the petition, known as the “petitioner,” may be the victim or the parent/legal guardian of a minor victim under the age of eighteen. To obtain the domestic violence injunction, the petitioner must show that he/she (or a minor child under the age of 18) is a family or household member pursuant to Florida law. The petitioner must also reasonably believe that he/she (or the minor child) will imminently be harmed without the issuance of a domestic violence injunction. The petitioner may do this by providing evidence of existing domestic violence and/or evidence of anticipated/imminent domestic violence.

After a petition seeking a domestic violence injunction is filed in a Key West court, a judge will review the petition and determine whether the petitioner has met all statutory requirements to obtain the injunction. Florida law does not require that the petitioner provide evidence at the time of filing the petition. As such, a judge will take all allegations and facts as true when deciding if a domestic violence injunction is warranted. If a judge grants the petition, a temporary domestic violence injunction will be issued that lasts no more than fifteen days, at which time a hearing will take place to address the merits of the petition’s allegations.

Florida law has four other types of protective injunctions aimed to help protect victims of present or imminent domestic violence. Under Florida Statute § 784.046 and Florida Statute § 784.045, these four additional types of protective injunctions include the following:

  • Dating Violence Injunctions;
  • Repeat Violence Injunctions;
  • Sexual Violence Injunctions; and
  • Stalking Injunctions (including cyberstalking).

While protective injunctions may be issued absent criminal charges pertaining to the same allegations of violence or stalking, many protective injunction matters stem from existing criminal investigations or criminal charges that have already been filed. Anyone facing a protective injunction must work alongside a lawyer who handles both criminal matters and civil protective injunction matters.

The Standard No-Contact Order in Key West, Florida – Know What to Expect

Allegations of domestic violence are not always truthful and accurate. However, regardless of the validity of domestic violence arrests and criminal charges, all individuals arrested on charges of domestic violence must remain in jail for a period of approximately 24 hours or until the first court hearing. Moreover, all individuals arrested on domestic violence charges must adhere to Florida’s standard No-Contact Order, which requires the accused person to refrain from physical and/or verbal contact with the alleged victim(s) of domestic violence.

Individuals who have been falsely accused may find it difficult to comply with an order they do not believe should apply to them, but compliance with the No-Contact Order – regardless of innocence or guilt – is critical to the successful defense of a domestic violence case. Pursuant to Florida Statute § 741.29(6), violating a No-Contact Order may lead to separate criminal charges that only make the existing criminal matter even worse. Rather than panic and fight the criminal process from the outset, you should immediately contact a Key West Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer if you have been arrested on charges of domestic violence.

Understanding the Penalties Resulting from Conviction of Domestic Violence Battery

Domestic violence battery, also known as domestic battery, is a very common form of domestic violence, and it is important to understand the consequences of facing a domestic violence battery conviction in Key West, Florida. A first offense of domestic violence battery is considered a first-degree misdemeanor under Florida law. A person convicted of a first domestic violence battery offense faces up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Domestic violence battery that involves aggravating factors is considered a third-degree felony under Florida law, and is also known as felony battery. A person convicted of felony domestic violence battery faces up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

Aside from jail time and fines, a person facing a domestic violence battery conviction (whether a misdemeanor or felony) may also face the following penalties and consequences:

  • Completion of a 26-Week Batterer’s Intervention Program (BIP);
  • Probation for Up to One Year;
  • Minimum of Five Days in Jail if the Accused is Found Guilty and the Crime(s) Involved Bodily Injury;
  • Completion of Community Service Hours;
  • Loss of Right to Possess Firearms and Ammunition;
  • Facing a No-Contact Order; and
  • Potentially Facing a Domestic Violence Injunction.

Many of the penalties associated with domestic violence battery charges in Key West, Florida can be avoided or minimized with the assistance of the right Key West Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer.

The Long List of Additional Domestic Violence Crimes in Monroe County, Florida

Determining exactly how many domestic violence crimes exist in Florida is difficult to do given that nearly any crime that causes physical injury or death to another person can be a domestic violence crime so long as the “family or household member” requirement is met. Additional domestic violence crimes under Florida law include, but may not be limited to, those identified in the following table:



Violent Crimes

Aggravated Domestic Battery with Serious Bodily Injury

F.S. § 741.028(2); F.S. § 784.045

Aggravated Domestic Battery with Use of a Deadly Weapon

F.S. § 741.028(2); F.S. § 784.045

Domestic Battery by Strangulation

F.S. § 741.041(2)(a)

Aggravated Battery on a Pregnant Victim

F.S. § 784.045(1)(b)

Assault or Battery on Person Over the Age of 65 Years Old

F.S. § 784.08

Violation of a Domestic Violence Protective Injunction

F.S. § 741.30

Violation of a Dating Violence Injunction, Repeat Violence Injunction, or Sexual Violence Injunction

F.S. § 784.046

Violation of a Stalking Injunction

F.S. § 784.045

Stalking, Aggravated Stalking, and Cyberstalking

F.S. § 784.048

Kidnapping, Kidnapping Child Under Age 13, and Aggravated Kidnapping

F.S. § 787.01

False Imprisonment, False Imprisonment of Child Under Age 13, and Aggravated False Imprisonment

F.S. § 787.02

Homicide/Murder, and Attempted Murder

F.S. 782.04

Manslaughter, Aggravated Manslaughter of an Elderly Person or Disabled Adult, and Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child

F.S. § 782.07

Weapons and Firearms Offenses

F.S. § 790

Abuse and Neglect of Children

Child Abuse, Aggravated Child Abuse, Child Endangerment, and Child Neglect

F.S. § 827.03

Newborn Infants, and Treatment of Surrendered Newborn Infant (not a crime if infant is surrendered to emergency personnel)

F.S. § 827.035; F.S. § 383.50

Contributing to the Delinquency or Dependency of a Child

F.S. § 827.04

Nonsupport of Dependents

F.S. § 827.06

Sexual Performance by a Child

F.S. § 827.071

Unlawful Desertion of a Child

F.S. § 827.10

Sex Crimes and Lewd/Lascivious Behavior

Sexual Assault/Sexual Battery, Forcible Rape

F.S. § 794.011

Lewd or Lascivious Offenses Committed Upon or in the Presence of Persons Less than 16 Years of Age, including Forcible Fondling

F.S. § 800.04

Human Trafficking

F.S. 787.06

Offenses by Adult Involving Minors, Intent of Legislature in Prosecuting Such Offenses

F.S. § 796.001

Forcing, Compelling, or Coercing Another to Become a Prostitute

F.S. § 796.04

Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of Elderly Persons or Disabled Adults

Abuse, Aggravated Abuse, and Neglect of an Elderly Person or Disabled Adult

F.S. § 825.102

Lewd or Lascivious Offenses Upon or in the Presence of an Elderly Person or Disabled Person

F.S. § 825.1025

Exploitation of an Elderly Person or Disabled Adult

F.S. § 825.103

Injunction for Protection Against Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult

F.S. § 825.1035

Violation of an Injunction for Protection Against Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult

F.S. § 825.1036

Other Crimes

Death Resulting from Apparent Drug Overdose and Reporting Requirements

F.S. § 893.0301

Poisoning Food or Water

F.S. § 859.01

Desertion, Withholding Support, and Proviso

F.S. § 856.04

Depriving Crime Victim of Medical Care

F.S. § 843.21

Perjury by Contradictory Statements

F.S. § 837.021

False Reports to Law Enforcement Authorities

F.S. § 837.05

False Information to Law Enforcement During Investigation

F.S. § 837.055

False Official Statements

F.S. § 837.06

Verbal or Written Threats, and Extortion

F.S. § 836.05

Written Threats to Kill, Do Bodily Injury, or Conduct a Mass Shooting or an Act of Terrorism

F.S. § 836.10


F.S. § 836.12

Tampering with a Witness

F.S. § 914.22

Culpable Negligence

F.S. § 784.05

Trespass in Structure or Conveyance

F.S. § 810.08

Trespass on Property Other Than Structure or Conveyance

F.S. 810.09

Obstructing Justice

F.S. § 843

Bigamy, and Incest

F.S. § 826

Steps for Defending Against Domestic Violence Charges in Key West, Florida

Every domestic violence case requires a thorough evaluation to build the best defense to bring forth against prosecutors. All cases are unique, and one defense strategy will not work for all cases. For example, pleading guilty to a less serious offense may be the best option for one client, while pleading not guilty and seeking dismissal of criminal charges may be the best option for another client. Examples of potential defenses available to a person facing domestic violence charges in Key West include, among others, the following:

  • Dismissal for Failure to Present Evidence that an Act of Domestic Violence Has Occurred;
  • Failure to Satisfy the “Family or Household Member” Requirement Under Florida’s Domestic Violence Statute;
  • Lack of Evidence Establishing the Victim(s) Have Suffered Injuries from Alleged Domestic Violence;
  • Evidence that the Victim(s) is/are Vindictive;
  • Self-Defense;
  • Defense of Others;
  • Defense of Property;
  • Stand Your Ground; and
  • Consensual Confrontation or Mutual Combat.

To have the best chance possible of fighting domestic violence charges in Key West, it is imperative to immediately seek the guidance of a Key West Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer if you are facing allegations or charges of domestic violence.

Can I Avoid Prosecution for Domestic Violence in Key West, Florida?

All criminal matters are serious, whether they involve misdemeanors or felonies. Although felonies are worse in terms of the permanent limitation on some constitutional rights, misdemeanors can cause significant harm to a person’s life. Fighting criminal charges does not always lead to outright dismissal, but steps can be taken to avoid prosecution of the harshest possible charges under Florida law. Avoiding prosecution can certainly mean dismissal of all charges in some cases, but in other cases, avoiding prosecution may be agreeing to a plea deal that achieves a good outcome given the facts of the case.

The best way to increase the chances of avoiding prosecution by either achieving dismissal or a negotiated plea agreement is to have a Key West Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer handle the matter early on in the process. Having a strong lawyer from the beginning is critical to the outcome of a domestic violence case. Additionally, a person facing accusations and charges of domestic violence who is willing to undergo treatment for substance abuse and/or mental health issues is taking a step to show prosecutors that he/she is willing to change for the better. Doing so may be one way to help avoid prosecution of the most serious domestic violence charges.

Contact the Key West Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers of Musca Law Today!

Facing domestic violence charges in Key West opens the door to potential jail time, probation, and substantial limitations on your legal rights. If you have been charged with domestic violence crimes or are facing a domestic violence injunction, you have little time to act to retain a qualified Key West Defense Lawyer. The nationally known Key West Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers of Musca Law have more than 150 years of combined experience representing the legal rights of Floridians. Musca Law possesses the necessary skill, experience, dedication, and resources to help you with your legal matter. Contact our office 24/7 by calling (888) 484-5057 to speak with a member of our legal team.

Get your case started by calling us at (888) 484-5057 today!