In April, a University of Florida wide receiver was charged with misdemeanor simple battery and dating violence. The arrest and charges stemmed from an argument that the football player had with an ex-girlfriend over the phone that eventually escalated into a physical altercation. This story highlights the reality of dating violence and the consequences that it can have.Night of the Arrest
Christopher David Thompson was in a relationship with the victim approximately four months before the altercation occurred. On April 1, at around 1:00 a.m. they had met up and were arguing over a text message that Mr. Thompson received from another woman. His former girlfriend grabbed Mr. Thompson’s phone and while attempting to physically get the phone back, it is alleged he scratched and bruised her arms in addition to scratching her neck, leaving lacerations. The police were called, and Mr. Thompson was placed under arrest.Florida Dating Violence
Dating violence is defined in Fla. Code §784.046 as “violence between individuals who have or have had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.” When determining whether the incident is defined as dating violence, the authorities look at the following factors:
- A dating relationship must have existed within the past 6 months;
- The nature of the relationship must have been characterized by the expectation of affection or sexual involvement between the parties; and
- The frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship must have included that the persons have been involved over time and on a continuous basis.
It is important to note that under the law, dating violence does not include violence “in a casual acquaintanceship or violence between individuals who only have engaged in ordinary fraternization in a business or social context.”Penalties for Dating Violence
Anyone who has been the victim of dating violence can file for an injunction for protection in court that prohibits the abuser from coming within a certain distance of the victim, their home, their work, or any other important places to the victim. In addition, the abuser can be prohibited from using or possessing a firearm. If the abuser violates an injunction for protection, he can be charged with a misdemeanor in the first degree, which is the most serious misdemeanor charge. It comes with a fine up to $1,000 and a jail term of up to one year. In addition, the crime of dating violence goes on your criminal record, and it is incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to get sealed or expunged.Call Our Office Today
Dating violence can occur as early as middle school or high school, and it can serve as a harbinger of things to come for the abuser and victim if not dealt with properly. Call or contact our experienced Fort Lauderdale family law attorneys at Stok Kon + Braverman today for a free and confidential review of your case if you or someone that you know is facing issues of dating violence.