Florida, like other states, has many domestic violence laws meant to protect the innocent from being treated poorly by those who are supposed to love them best. Whether it is brother on brother, man on wife, wife on man or any other act of violence by a relation by either blood or marriage, the domestic violence laws spell out what might happen, including arrest, arraignment and possible penalties. If you are a victim of domestic violence or are being accused of this crime, you should immediately contact a local attorney for advice.
A local Clearwater attorney will explain all options to you regardless of which side of the court room you will be on, and will help you find all of the additional resources that you may need to successfully resolve the case.
A Clearwater defense attorney for the plaintiff will first establish the relationship that takes the case from a simple assault to one of domestic violence. For it to qualify as a domestic violence matter, the defendant must be related by blood, marriage or cohabitation to the defendant. Next, the exact nature of the alleged crime will be detailed including any witness statements, medical reports and photographic evidence. (All of this information will be shared with the defense team in what is known as discovery.)
On the other hand, a Clearwater attorney for the defense will try to find ways to prove that witness statements are not credible, that the injuries were possibly overstated (difficult when there are photos) or that there are mitigating circumstances. These circumstances could include drug or alcohol use, medications or other factors that are temporary in nature and could indicate a need for counseling intervention rather than jail time. An offer could be made that would suggest that in lieu of jail time the defendant would complete counseling and monitoring for instance.
Keep in mind though, that neither side has to agree to a plea and that it is the right of both sides to push for a trial to take place. In most domestic violence cases, the judge will automatically issue a temporary restraining order to keep the one side from trying to coerce, intimidate or otherwise influence the other. This order can be made permanent in a separate hearing before, during or after resolution of the pending criminal case.
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