Governor Scott just signed HB 1385 into law and it requires jail time for Domestic Battery charges. UNLESS, your lawyer can get the State or the judge to agree not to send you to jail.
Previously, if someone was convicted of domestic battery, and any harm was caused, the judge could sentence the person to 5 days in jail. I rarely see this happen. And it’s never happened to one of my clients.
Now, however, if there is bodily injury – and that means a bruise, a scratch, a cut, anything basically, the law says that the judge SHALL sentence the person to a minimum of 10 days for the 1st offense, 15 days for the 2nd offense and 20 days for the 3rd offense. It’s the word SHALL that causes a problem for judges. When the law says “MAY” when telling a judge what to do, the judge has some discretion. When the law says “SHALL”, the judge must sentence a person to that minimum term – and it can be more.
So if you are arrested for domestic battery for punching someone who lives in your household (and this could be a sibling, or cousin, or significant other), and you are convicted – that means found guilty – the judge must sentence you to at least 15 days in jail.
What happens if I get a with hold of adjudication you may ask? That means it’s not a conviction. Then no mandatory jail – no jail at all. BUT even if you get a with hold of adjudication, the judge MUST sentence you to probation and batterer’s intervention classes. These classes take 26 weeks, and cost about $25 each!
So how do you get out of jail and lengthy probation sentences? You hire a lawyer as soon as you’re arrested. Never wait for a court date! Don’t think because the victim isn’t pressing charges the State won’t. They can and often do press charges, with or without the victim’s cooperation. Call us today for a free consultation of your case.