New Florida Domestic Violence Laws Go Into Effect October 1, 2017
By Jonathan Blecher on August 7, 2017
Florida’s Governor Rick Scott recently signed revisions to Florida’s Domestic Violence laws. The changes to Florida law, which take effect on October 1st, 2017, focus on 1) minimum jail sentences for domestic violence; 2) domestic violence in the presence of a child, and 3) withholds of adjudication which previously allowed certain convicted defendants to still possess firearms.
Minimum jail sentences for domestic violence:
- The new statutory changes mandate minimum jail terms of 10 days for a first domestic violence offense conviction, 15 days for a second offense conviction, and 20 days for a third offense conviction. The new sentences will apply to domestic violence crimes in which the offender intentionally caused bodily harm to another person.
Domestic violence in the presence of a child:
- Minimum jail terms have been added to the statute when acts of domestic violence occur in the presence of a child under the age of 16 and the defendant intentionally causes bodily harm to another person during the domestic violence crime.
- The minimum jail terms are 15 days for a first offense, 20 days for a second offense, and 30 days for a third offense.
Closing a Loophole about Withholds of Adjudication for Domestic Violence Defendants:
- Until the passage of this legislation, a person with a domestic violence civil injunction could not possess a firearm but a person convicted of a 3rd degree domestic violence felony might still be able to possess a firearm if that person received a withhold of adjudication.
- This legislation also prohibits withholds of adjudication on 3rd-degree felony crimes of domestic violence unless the prosecuting State Attorney’s Office agrees in writing or the court makes written findings that the withholding of adjudication is reasonably justified.
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