Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers in St. Petersburg, Florida

How to Beat a Domestic Violence Criminal Charge in Florida

Domestic violence in St. Petersburg is a matter that prosecutors and judges take very seriously. Accusations of domestic violence have far-reaching consequences for the accused person, even when accusations are unfounded. One allegation of domestic violence can send a person to jail, result in the issuance of a protective injunction/restraining order, and ruin a person’s reputation. While victims of domestic violence deserve to be heard, accused individuals deserve strong legal representation to fight the allegations. Because domestic violence allegations in St. Petersburg can open the door to countless negative consequences, you need to act quickly to hire a qualified St. Petersburg Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer if you are facing criminal charges.

Statistics on Domestic Violence in the State of Florida

Domestic violence is, without question, a serious matter. As such, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement keeps record of all reported incidents of domestic violence throughout the state, and provides the data to the public. In 2018, the total number of reported incidents of domestic violence was nearly 105,000. However, not every reported incident of domestic violence equates to criminal charges. After all, some reported incidents may be false, while others may not meet the definition of domestic violence upon further investigation. The reported incidents of domestic violence in the state of Florida in 2018 are broken down into the following crimes:



Total Reported Incidents of Domestic Violence


Criminal Homicide




Forcible Rape


Forcible Fondling


Aggravated Assault


Simple Assault

83,980 (accounting for 80 percent of all reported incidents of domestic violence)

Aggravated Stalking


Simple Stalking




The above-listed crimes all fall under the category of “domestic violence” given that the relationship between the accused individual and the victim is one of a domestic or familial nature. However, numerous additional crimes can be considered “domestic violence” under Florida law. Those identified above are simply the most common reported to law enforcement officials in the state of Florida.

Domestic Violence Laws in Florida

Because domestic violence can encompass a broad range of crimes, the key factor to conclude whether a crime is one of domestic violence is to evaluate the nature of the relationship between the accused individual and the victim(s). Under Florida Statute § 741.28(2), the following crimes fall under the umbrella of domestic violence:

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

While many allegations of domestic violence involve assault and battery, some alleged crimes may fall under last category identified by Florida law, which is ANY criminal offense that results in physical injury or death. What this means is that countless crimes can be tied to domestic violence so long as the parties involved in the matter can meet the “family or household member” requirement.

Per Florida law, a person facing allegations of domestic violence and the victim(s) must be “family or household members” for the accused person to face domestic violence charges. Family or household members 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 many cases, the parties to a domestic violence matter live together or recently lived together. However, this is not always the case. In some domestic violence matters, the accused person and the victim do not live together nor have ever lived together in the past. In such cases, the parties must be persons who share a child in common. This is the only type of relationship that does not have a requirement that the parties currently live or formerly lived together.

Domestic Violence Injunctions – Protective Orders for Victims in St. Petersburg, Florida

A person accused of domestic violence faces not only potential criminal charges in St. Petersburg, but also faces a domestic violence injunction, which is also known as a domestic violence restraining order or order of protection. Domestic violence injunctions are entirely separate matters from domestic violence criminal proceedings. Injunctions are civil court orders that may be sought directly by a victim of alleged domestic violence. A person who wishes to obtain a domestic violence injunction in St. Petersburg can obtain a domestic violence injunction regardless of whether the person accused of domestic violence is facing criminal charges. A domestic violence injunction can be obtained in St. Petersburg by filing a petition in court. The person filing the petition is known as the “petitioner,” and the petition may be filed on behalf of the petitioner or the petitioner’s minor child.

Under Florida Statute § 741.30, a victim of alleged domestic violence can obtain a domestic violence injunction if he or she reasonably believes he/she or a minor child will imminently be harmed absent the injunction. The petitioner must show that both the victim(s) and the accused person are family or household members under Florida law and that an act of domestic violence has happened or will imminently happen. After a petition seeking a domestic violence injunction in St. Petersburg is filed, a judge will review the petition and issue a decision, either denying the petition or granting the petition and issuing a temporary domestic violence injunction, which lasts approximately fifteen days until the date of a scheduled hearing.

The individual accused of domestic violence is known as the “respondent” in the injunction matter and is served with a copy of the petition and the court’s temporary injunction. Additionally, the respondent is given a date to appear in court – approximately fifteen days after the injunction is issued – to argue the merits of the injunction matter. At the time of the hearing, a respondent should have his or her St. Petersburg Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer standing by. Fighting a domestic violence injunction without the assistance of a lawyer is a risky move to make. If a judge issues a final domestic violence injunction following a hearing, the respondent must adhere to every aspect of the injunction. Any violation of a domestic violence injunction can lead to separate criminal charges.

Additional Protective Injunctions in St. Petersburg, Florida

Under Florida law, individuals can seek four additional types of protective injunctions. Aside from domestic violence injunctions, victims of alleged violence or abuse can seek the following additional types of protective injunctions/restraining orders pursuant to Florida Statute § 784.046 and Florida Statute § 784.045:

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

Just like domestic violence injunctions, a person must file a petition in court seeking the other types of protective injunctions. Moreover, respondents in any type of protective injunction matter may also be facing criminal charges pertaining to the same alleged conduct. Given the interplay of facts and law between criminal matters and civil protective injunction matters, any person who is either facing criminal charges and/or facing a protective injunction must work alongside a lawyer who does both in St. Petersburg.

What to Expect After Being Arrested on Charges of Domestic Violence in Pinellas County

In addition to the domestic violence injunction, which is a tool used to protect victims of abuse or imminent harm, Florida law establishes additional mandates aimed to protect victims from individuals accused of domestic violence. After a person is arrested on charges of domestic violence in St. Petersburg, the person will be detained for a period of approximately 24 hours, but in some cases, the time in jail may be longer. The accused person will stay in jail until the initial court appearance. At the time of the hearing, the accused person will become subject to a “No Contact Order,” which is a standard order in all domestic violence cases that states an accused person can have no physical and/or verbal contact with the victim(s).

Under Florida Statute § 741.29(6), any person who violates a No Contact Order may face criminal charges, not unlike the consequences of violating a domestic violence injunction. Regardless of innocence or guilt, no person facing domestic violence charges should attempt to violate a No Contact Order. Doing so will only make a serious criminal matter much worse for the accused.

Domestic Violence Battery in St. Petersburg – Understanding the Consequences

As a commonly reported crime of domestic violence, domestic battery carries significant consequences for the accused if St. Petersburg prosecutors secure a conviction. A first charge of domestic violence battery (also known as domestic battery) is a first-degree misdemeanor under Florida law. A conviction results in a potential jail sentence of up to one year and a monetary fine of up to $1,000. A person facing aggravated or felony domestic battery, which is a third-degree felony under Florida law, faces up to five years in jail and a monetary fine of up to $5,000.

Additional penalties associated with domestic battery and aggravated domestic battery (among other domestic violence convictions) include, but may not be limited to, the following:

  • 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.

While conviction is not always avoidable, accused individuals who retain experienced and skilled St. Petersburg Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers are in a better position to fight the worst consequences associated with domestic battery and other domestic violence criminal matters. A qualified lawyer will raise the best defenses in each case and fight to reach a result that is fair for the accused.

Additional Domestic Violence Crimes in St. Petersburg, Florida

As previously stated, nearly any crime that involves physical harm to another person may be considered a crime of domestic violence when the relationship of the parties at issue fits the “family or household member” requirement. Additional crimes that may be considered crimes of domestic violence include, among others, the following:



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

Defending Charges of Domestic Violence in St. Petersburg, Florida

While domestic violence charges are serious, and many are felonies that can lead to decades and jail and the loss of some constitutional rights, accused individuals have options for presenting their defense in court. With the assistance of a St. Petersburg Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer, an accused person may achieve dismissal, acquittal, or reach a negotiated resolution that does not involve the worst possible outcome. Ways in which a St. Petersburg Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer can defend an accused person in court include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Seeking to Dismiss for Lack of Evidence of Domestic Violence;
  • Seeking to Dismiss for Violating the Defendant’s Constitutional Rights (i.e., illegally obtaining evidence, eliciting a false confession, or failing to read the defendant his/her Miranda rights upon arrest);
  • Evidence to Suggest a Victim Has Not Suffered Injuries from Domestic Violence;
  • Evidence to Suggest a Victim is Vindictive, and the Accusations at Issue are False or Misleading;
  • Self-Defense;
  • Defense of Others;
  • Defense of Property;
  • Stand Your Ground; and
  • Consensual Confrontation or Mutual Combat.

All domestic violence cases in St. Petersburg are unique and every accused person deserves a unique defense that will seek to achieve the best outcome given the facts of the case. If complete dismissal is achievable by raising proper legal defenses, such a result can only be reached with a seasoned and reputable St. Petersburg Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer. The best place to start when dealing with a serious criminal matter is to seek the advice of a legal professional.

Contact the St. Petersburg Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers of Musca Law Today!

If you have been accused of domestic violence and are facing criminal charges and/or a domestic violence injunction, you have very little time to act to find a high-quality St. Petersburg Defense Lawyer.

At Musca Law, our nationally-recognized trial lawyers know what it takes to protect a client’s rights both inside and outside the courtroom. With more than 150 years of combined professional experience, the St. Petersburg Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers of Musca Law are standing by to provide you with the legal guidance you need to fight the allegations and criminal charges against you. To speak with a member of our legal team, contact Musca Law 24/7 by calling (888) 484-5057.

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