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What Classifies Domestic Violence As A Felony?

By Hager & Schwartz, P.A.

May 11, 2021

Domestic violence is one of the most serious crimes. A felony domestic violence conviction can severely hurt your reputation and your future.

What Is Domestic Violence?

In order for something to be considered a domestic violence crime, the victim must be:

  • A spouse (current or ex)
  • A person related by blood
  • A person living with the defendant as a family member (i.e., a live-in girlfriend or boyfriend)
  • The other parent of the defendant’s child, even if they were never married

Many separate offenses will be prosecuted as domestic violence if one of those categories applies to the victim’s identity.

Florida recognizes the following behaviors as domestic violence:

  • Throwing items
  • Assault, aggravated assault
  • Battery, aggravated battery
  • Sexual assault
  • Stalking
  • Kidnapping
  • False imprisonment
  • Anything that intentionally causes physical injury or death

Even threatening or intimidating behavior can lead to a domestic violence charge.

Felony or Misdemeanor?

Multiple factors are considered when determining if the offense was a felony or misdemeanor.

Severity of the Violence

As you can see from the list above, throwing an item at someone is very different than committing aggravated assault. If the offense is less serious, it will likely be charged as a misdemeanor.

Severity of the Injury

If the victim has suffered from severe physical injury, this will likely lead to a felony charge.
However, if the defendant committed assault that only resulted in minor injury, the crime may be able to stay at the misdemeanor level.

Past Record

If you already have past domestic violence convictions on your record, you will be given a felony charge regardless of the circumstances of the crime.


Florida specifically has a mandatory five-day jail sentence for a first-time offense that results in bodily harm.

A misdemeanor can result in:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • A fine of up to $1,000
  • Mandatory batterers’ intervention program
  • A no-contact order

Felony penalties increase significantly and can involve thousands of dollars in fines and multiple years in jail.

Additional penalties may be imposed, such as:

  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Anger management classes
  • Community service
  • Restitution payments
  • Loss of Fourth Amendment right

Domestic Violence Attorneys

Domestic violence cases are incredibly complex, and it can feel like an uphill battle to defend yourself. Hager & Schwartz, P.A. can give you the legal assistance you need to fight your charges. We are available days, nights, and weekends to take your call. Dial (386) 693-1637 to speak with one of our Volusia domestic violence attorneys today.