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Domestic Violence

Under Florida’s laws, domestic violence in the Florida Panhandle can occur when one family or household member commits any of the following criminal offenses against another person in a family or household relationship that results in injury or death, according to Fla. Stat. § 741.28:

  • Child Abuse;
  • False Imprisonment;
  • Kidnapping;
  • Sexual Assault;
  • Stalking;
  • Aggravated Stalking;
  • Unlawful Imprisonment;
  • Assault;
  • Aggravated Assault;
  • Sexual Assault;
  • Battery; and/or
  • Aggravated Battery.

Any argument, physical touching, psychological abuse, threats, or verbal abuse can result in allegations of domestic violence. Many individuals are often falsely accused of domestic violence in Destin due to anger, out of spite, or even to gain a more favorable position in a divorce or child custody proceeding.

If you have been charged with domestic violence, it is important to know the allegations do not necessarily have to result in criminal charges. The prosecutor is required to show you committed every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. This can be a very difficult burden to meet, and if the judge or jury has any doubt, the charges against you may be reduced or even dismissed. Therefore, it is essential to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in the Florida Panhandle to begin creating your best defense.

DeFuniak Springs Domestic Violence Lawyer

Contact Adkinson Law Firm, LLC for a consultation about your alleged domestic violence offense throughout the Florida Panhandle, including the areas of Crestview, South Walton, Fort Walton Beach, Milton, Navarre, Destin, Pensacola and Panama City.

The attorneys of Adkinson Law Firm, LLC are aggressive in fighting allegations of domestic violence and make every effort to help you achieve the most desirable outcome for your particular situation. Contact Adkinson Law Firm, LLC for a free consultation today at if you have been charged with domestic violence throughout Destin and South Walton.


Walton County Domestic Violence Information Center


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Destin Domestic Violence Terms

Definitions of some of the most commonly used domestic violence terms in Destin are as follows:

  • Family or Household Member — Under Florida law, family and household members include individuals who are both parents of a child, current spouses, former spouses, individuals related through blood or marriage, stepparents, grandparents, and current or former roommates.
  • Dating Violence — Dating violence is another form of domestic violence that can occur between individuals in a continuous romantic relationship or individuals that have been in a continuous romantic relationship within the preceding six months.
  • Domestic Violence Injunction — A domestic violence injunction is a court order preventing an alleged domestic violence offender in a dating or family relationship from committing certain acts against a family or household member, or requires the alleged domestic violence offender to perform certain requirements. A domestic violence injunction is also commonly known as a restraining order or protective order. Any violation of a domestic violence injunction can result in serious criminal penalties.
  • Protective Order Hearings — A protective order hearing is a court proceeding where the judge will hear witness testimony and see evidence from both parties to determine if domestic violence has occurred and if it is likely to happen in the future. If the judge determines through the evidence presented that domestic violence has occurred, a domestic violence injunction will be ordered by the court.

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South Walton Domestic Violence

An individual who has been accused of committing domestic violence in Destin may have committed any of the following offenses:

Child Abuse — According to Fla. Stat. § 827.03(1), an individual can be charged with this offense if they:

  • Intentionally act in a knowing or willful way that could reasonably be expected to cause physical or mental injury to a child;
  • Intentionally inflict physical or mental injury on a child through knowing or willful actions; or
  • Knowingly or willfully encourage any person to commit an act that results in could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child.

This offense is punishable as a felony of the third degree or felony of the first degree.

Stalking — According to Fla. Stat. § 784.048, an individual can be charged with this offense if they repeatedly follow, harass or cyberstalk a family or household member in a malicious or willful manner. This offense is punishable as a misdemeanor of the first degree. An individual can commit the offense of cyberstalking if they communicate with another person for the sole purpose of harassing that person through any electronic form of communication, including e-mail, instant messaging and social media. The cyberstalking must also cause the victim to suffer some form of substantial emotional distress.

Aggravated Stalking — According to Fla. Stat. § 784.048(3), an individual can be charged with this offense if they commit a misdemeanor stalking offense against a family or household member and also causes the family or household member to reasonably believe they in danger  of death or serious bodily injury. This offense is punishable as a felony of the third degree.

Domestic Battery — According to Fla. Stat. § 784.03, an individual can be charged with this offense if they intentionally touch a family or household member against their will, or touch a family or household member with the intent to cause injury or hurt them. This offense is generally punishable as a misdemeanor of the first degree.

Aggravated Domestic Battery — According to Fla. Stat. § 784.045, an individual can be charged with this offense if they intentionally commit a battery offense against a family or household member with a deadly weapon and cause them serious bodily harm, or permanent disability or disfigurement. Additionally, an individual can be charged with aggravated domestic battery of they commit a battery offense against a woman they knew or had reason to know was pregnant. This battery offense is punishable as a felony of the second degree.

Felony Domestic Battery — According to Fla. Stat. § 784.04, an individual can be charged with this offense if they commit battery against a family or household member and cause them great bodily harm, or permanent disability or disfigurement. This battery offense is punishable as a felony of the third degree. 

Domestic Battery by Strangulation — According to Fla. Stat. § 784.041(2)(a), an individual can be charged with this offense if they intentionally and knowingly prevent a family or household member from breathing against their will that causes serious bodily harm. This offense is punishable as a felony of the third degree.


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Domestic Violence Defenses in Destin

Your Florida Panhandle criminal defense attorney may be able to identify if there are any mitigating factors or defenses applicable to your particular domestic violence situation. These defenses do not apply to every case of domestic violence, so it is important to first consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer in Destin. Common domestic violence defenses are as follows:

  • False Allegations — If a family or household member falsely accused you of committing domestic violence against them, your criminal defense attorney may be able to file a motion to have the charges dismissed.
  • Self Defense — If family or household member alleged you committed domestic violence against them, but they were the initial aggressor, provoked the violence or were physical first, your criminal defense attorney may be able to claim you were acting in self-defense.
  • Defense of Others — If a family or household member accused you of committing domestic violence, but you committed the violence to prevent harm to another person, your criminal defense attorney may be able to assert you were acting in defense of others.
  • Lack of Mental State — Certain domestic violence offenses require the alleged offender to act intentionally, knowingly or willfully. If you did not have any of these mental states and your actions were accidental, your criminal defense attorney may be able to assert you lacked the required mental state to commit the offense.

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Destin Domestic Violence Penalties

Florida laws define the penalties to domestic violence offenses in sections 775.082 and 775.083 of the Florida Statutes. These basic statutory punishments can vary depending on whether the alleged offender has any prior criminal history, the type of domestic violence offense, the status and age of the victim, and whether a weapon was used during the commission of the offense. The statutory penalties for misdemeanor and felony domestic violence offenses are as follows:

  • An individual convicted of a misdemeanor of the second-degree domestic violence offense can face a jail sentence up to 60 days and/or a fine up to $500.
  • An individual convicted of a misdemeanor of the first-degree domestic violence offense can receive a jail sentence up to one year and/or a fine up to $1,000.
  • An individual convicted of a felony of the third-degree domestic violence offense can face a prison sentence up to five years and/or a fine up to $5,000.
  • An individual convicted of a felony of the second-degree domestic violence offense can receive a prison sentence up to 15 years and/or a fine up to $10,000.
  • An individual convicted of a felony of the first-degree domestic violence offense can face up to 30 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.

Additionally, certain domestic violence offenses can result in a mandatory term of imprisonment for at least five days, mandatory term of probation and/or attendance at a  batterer’s intervention program.


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South Walton Domestic Violence Resources

Florida Statutes Online – Chapter 784 of the Florida Statutes defines many domestic violence offenses throughout Florida and the penalties for domestic violence convictions, including stalking, aggravated stalking, domestic battery, domestic battery by strangulation, aggravated domestic battery and felony domestic battery.

Florida Statutes - Domestic Violence – This link is to Chapter 741 of the Florida Statutes, which includes Florida’s definition of domestic violence and various definitions related to domestic violence in Florida.

An Abuse, Rape, Domestic Violence Aid and Resource Collection – This national non-profit organization aims to prevent family violence, relationship violence, child abuse and sexual violence. This website provides domestic violence resources throughout Florida and support to individuals involved in domestic violence situations.

Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence – The FCADV aims to end domestic violence by implementing or improving policies regarding domestic violence, by promoting public awareness, and through the support of domestic violence centers and shelters in Florida.

Florida Department of Children and Families – This link is to the DCF’s website, which provides individuals who have been involved in domestic violence or child abuse situations an opportunity become self-sufficient and seek recovery. 


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Adkinson Law Firm, LLC | South Walton Domestic Violence Attorney

If you are facing criminal charges of domestic violence anywhere in the Florida Panhandle, it is in your best interest to have experienced legal counsel. Adkinson Law Firm, LLC represents clients in communities throughout Okaloosa County, Santa Rosa County, Bay County, Walton County, Holmes County, Washington County, and Escambia County.

Clay Adkinson is an experienced DeFuniak Springs criminal defense attorney who will make every to help you avoid the most serious penalties and repercussions to your alleged offense. Contact Adkinson Law Firm, LLC today at or send an online message to have your case reviewed during a free consultation .