What Is Domestic Violence?

Ladan Law: In Florida, domestic violence is any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or anything that causes injury or death to a family or household member. Family or household member has also a definition. That’s basically people who are spouses or former spouses, if you’re related by blood or marriage, and parents of children are also under the family or household member. It means that people who reside in the same house or the same living unit or people who have recently done so.

Interviewer: What if you’re in college and you have roommates, can you commit domestic violence against them or vice versa?

Ladan Law: The answer is no. There has to be a family relationship or a household relationship that goes beyond simply having a roommate. I think roommates in college would qualify more as a simple battery than a domestic battery, if there were a physical altercation.

Interviewer: Let’s say my brother and me get into a fistfight, would that be domestic violence?

Ladan Law: It could be domestic violence, and especially if you guys are residing together or have recently done so, in the same dwelling. It could be considered domestic violence if some special provisions kick in when your case meets the criteria under 741, which is the statute that the domestic violence requirements are under.

Interviewer: So if I assault someone or hit them, there are certain penalties, but you said there’s special provisions if it’s a domestic assault or battery. So, what are they and what’s the difference?

Author: Amir Ladan
A former assistant state attorney for Orange/Osceola Counties, Amir has handled thousands of cases and dozens of trials, ranging from DUI and traffic offenses to murder, in both adult and juvenile court.

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