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Age of alleged victim, other circumstances determine kind of domestic violence charge

Recently we discussed the push by Florida lawmakers to strengthen penalties for domestic violence. For example, one bill being considered by the legislature would require that no-contact orders take effect immediately to prevent accused individuals from contacting alleged victims from jail.

Often when people are arrested for domestic violence, they are unaware of the possible penalties. People tend also not to be aware of exactly what constitutes domestic assault or battery, or that depending on the age of the alleged victim, additional charges may be filed.

These issues are likely to come up after the arrest of a young woman in Orange County. Police say the 23-year-old and a 67-year-old man who identified himself as her boyfriend became involved in a physical altercation. According to the man, the dispute arose because he didn't approve of a friend with whom the woman intended to spend time.

The man called the sheriff's office, claiming that he had twice been slapped in the face by the woman. He claimed that the incident dislodged one of his contact lenses.

However, the woman said that, while they were arguing, she was "body bumped" by the man.

As is often the case when police respond to an allegation of domestic violence, one person in this case went to jail. This time it was the young woman. She now faces charges of domestic battery and, because of the man's age, battery on a person of 65 years or older.

Whenever a person is charged with domestic violence, it is critical that the circumstances of the alleged incident are carefully examined. While verbal arguments may get out of control, not every such instance is grounds for a domestic violence charge. Depending on the facts of the case, it may be possible to have the charge reduced or dismissed.

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