If you are facing charges of domestic violence, the most important action you can take is to work with a domestic violence attorney to try to win your case and clear your name. In addition to criminal charges, domestic violence carries a social stigma with it. Start by being upfront with your lawyer with all the details of the case. This will make the entire process much easier and may mean the difference between your freedom, losing your children or your job, or even going to jail.
Defining Domestic Violence
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has defined domestic violence as assault, sexual assault, battery, stalking, or any other offense that results in physical injury or death of one family member by another. In this sense, you are considered to be a family member if you:
Are or were married to each other
Are or were living together
Share a child
Are or were engaged to be married
Resided together in the same household at any time as a family
How are these relationships qualified?
Some questions need to be answered in order to determine whether the relationship was substantive. Among them:
How long did this relationship last?
What type of relationship was it?
Did you interact frequently before? And now?
Who terminated the relationship, for what reason, and how long ago?
What is considered abuse?
Abuse, as it relates to domestic violence, may include:
Any attempt to cause physical harm (ex. Domestic violence by attempted battery)
Actual physical harm (ex. Domestic violence by battery or aggravated battery)
Fearing imminent serious physical harm (ex. Domestic violence by assault or aggravated assault)
Any use of force, threats, or duress applied toward someone in order to have them perform unwanted sexual acts (Ex. Domestic violence by sexual battery)
What are the penalties for a domestic violence charge?
Depending on the specific facts of the case, the charges could be enhanced or reduced. This applies as well to the severity of the punishment. Penalties for violating a restraining order, for assault and battery, or for stalking could include jail or prison and a fine. The plaintiff’s legal costs must also be covered and a batterer may be ordered to attend an intervention program.
These penalties may be further enhanced when there is serious bodily injury, when the alleged victim was pregnant at the time of the incident, when there is a valid restraining order in place that has been violated, and when the batterer is accused of a second or subsequent offense.
And if a dangerous weapon was used to commit an assault or battery; the victim was a minor, an elderly person, or disabled person; or when strangulation was part of the attack, the charges will be upgraded and prison terms increased to 10 years or more.
Are you facing charges for domestic violence?
After reviewing the charges against you, here are some of the legal approaches that we sometimes explore.
The False Accusation Defense – Police in Florida are encouraged to make domestic violence arrests. Sometimes, they’re overzealous in their pursuit of an arrest and they convince the alleged victim to exaggerate their story. If this were the case, we can often find inconsistencies in the testimonies and evidence that can lead to an acquittal.
The Self Defense Claim – You are allowed to defend yourself from violence. If you sustained injuries during an incident where you’ve been accused of being the attacker, photograph them and show them to your attorney.
Protection of Others Defense – You’re allowed to defend your children, pets, et cetera. If your spouse is enraged, intoxicated, or otherwise out of control, you may have had to prevent others from being harmed.
Mutual Combat – this only applies in misdemeanor cases and presumes both parties are wrong, thus neither can prosecute.
Even if one of these defenses doesn’t fit your situation, an attorney can often find ways to have your charges minimized or dropped. Do not attempt to convince the victim to drop the charges or to contact the victim if they’ve expressed a desire to be left alone. Instead, contact a domestic violence lawyer today.
Get Legal Help Today
If you have been accused of domestic violence or other violent crime, the Florida Criminal Defense Legal Group, PLLC., has over two decades of experience and will fight for your rights. Make an appointment today.
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