What Defenses are Available to a Person Charged with Domestic Violence?

Domestic Violence

A domestic violence situation can unfold in only mere minutes but have an impact that lasts a lifetime for all of the parties that are involved. Under Florida state law, domestic violence refers to any assault, battery, sexual assault, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any other criminal defense that results in physical injury or death to a family or household member by another family or household member.

Moreover, a family or household member is defined as a spouse, former spouse, person related by blood or marriage, or any individual that is presently or previously resided together.

Victims of domestic violence situations may suffer countless difficulties. Similarly, victims of false domestic violence accusations by spiteful partners face a lifetime of trauma and potentially severe legal ramifications. These are a few possible defenses available to a person charged with domestic violence. It is imperative to note that if you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, do not attempt to resolve this case without a well-versed and experienced Florida domestic violence attorney.

Self-Defense

A legitimate act of self-defense against a family or household member may be misconstrued as an act of domestic violence in some cases. For a self-defense plea to succeed in a domestic violence case, an individual must show that they acted within the legal limits. In Florida, the use of non-deadly force in self-defense is justified if the individual believes that such conduct is needed to defend themselves against another’s imminent use of unlawful force.

Under Florida state law, a person does not have a duty to retreat first but instead has the right to stand their ground. In order to substantiate a self-defense plea, eyewitness testimony or security camera footage may be provided to prove that the defendant had simply been attempting to keep themselves safe.

Defense of Property

Domestic Violence law

Defense of property is a subcategory of Florida law’s self-defense doctrine of “justifiable use of non-deadly force.” A person is permitted under law to use force to protect or preserve real or personal property rights. In order to plea defense of property, the accused must prove these three requirements:

  1. The other person trespassed or wrongfully interfered with land or personal property.
  2. The land or personal property is in your possession or is in the possession of a family or household member or to a person whom the defendant has a legal duty to protect.
  3. The defendant believed that the use of force was needed to prevent or end the other individual’s wrongful actions.

Under Florida state law, all three requirements must be proven in order for a defendant to use the defense of property as an affirmative defense in a domestic violence case.

Proof of a Vindictive Victim

A potential defense available for a person charged with domestic violence comes by proving that the victim was vindictive and that the allegations were false. In some scenarios, a vengeful victim may falsely report domestic violence. They may choose to submit a false claim of domestic abuse or violence for many reasons. For example, in some scenarios, a party may want to obtain legal leverage in a divorce or child custody proceedings.

Even if divorce or child custody is not involved, a vindictive victim may also falsely report domestic violence for revenge purposes. Separately, a heated argument may have taken place, and the argument is misconstrued as actual violence. Whatever the reason, it is now the accused’s burden to disprove the vindictive victim’s allegation. Suppose you have been charged or accused of domestic violence. In that case, domestic violence lawyer Parikh recommends that you consult a knowledgeable and experienced attorney to learn more about what defenses are available to you.


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