Under Florida law, Domestic Violence defined under Section 784.28, Florida Statutes. Domestic Violence means any assault, aggravated assault, kidnapping, stalking, aggravated stalking, false imprisonment or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death to a member of ones family or household.
An arrest for any Domestic Violence charge arrest or charge on your record can be extremely disruptive to your life. You could be ordered to stay away from your own home, stay away from your own children along with many other significant consequences. It is recommended that you speak to an attorney immediately after you are arrested or otherwise accused of committing a Domestic Violence Battery.
Penalties for Domestic Violence Charges
In Florida a Domestic Violence Crimes can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the following:
If convicted of even a Simple Battery Domestic Violence Crime, a judge can sentence you to up to 1 year in jail, up to 12 months of probation, up to $1,000.00 in fines, Mandatory Batterers Intervention Course, Forfeit Firearm Permit, Forfeit All Firearms, No eligibility to have your record sealed.
For Felony Domestic Violence Cases sentences can include prison, probation or community control. Receiving a conviction or even a withhold for any domestic violence crime will be on your record forever. Florida law does not allow the sealing or expunging of any domestic violence related chare and you will not be permitted to own a firearm.
Domestic Violence Battery cases are prosecuted in Circuit Court and are usually assigned to a specific division which only handles Domestic Violence Charges. The prosecutors who handle these cases are much more experienced and much more aggressive than other divisions. Due to the perceived vulnerable nature of an alleged victim of Domestic Violence, the State usually seeks increased restrictions on you during the pre-trial phase, and increased penalties after a plea or conviction at trial.
Many aggressive prosecutors in Florida seek jail sentences and long probation sentences for even first time Domestic Violence Criminal offenders. This happens many times even where the battery charge is the defendant’s first ever criminal charge. Whether jail is sought will depend on a number of factors, including the prior criminal record of the accused, the status and preferences of the alleged victim, the existence of injuries, the need for restitution (money paid to the victim for out of pocket expenses) and the strength of the prosecution’s case.
Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges
If the alleged victim asked you or ordered you to touch or strike him/her, this is a complete defense to the charge of Domestic Violence Battery by Strangulation.
Mutual Combat describes the scenario where two or more people are fighting each other. By engaging in a fight, the law treats each person as having consented to whatever injuries or touches/strikes he or she receives from any other person. Engaging in mutual combat with another person is defense to the charge of misdemeanor battery because a person cannot enter a fight, and then complain later they were attacked unlawfully.
No Intentional Touching
The touching of the alleged victim must be intentional. The State must prove that the defendant had the specific intent to touch or strike the alleged victim. If the touch was unintentional or inadvertent, there can be no misdemeanor battery.
The opposite of Mutual Combat occurs when a defendant defends him/herself against the attack of another. Self Defense is also known as the “justified use of force, is a defense to the crime of battery so long as you use non-deadly force to defend yourself against another person’s unlawful attack.
Significant credibility issues with the Alleged Victim
Victim suffers from mental health problems; alcohol or substance abuse, a pending divorce, child custody issues, financial disputes. Any number of reasons why a spiteful spouse, partner or family member may want to tie you up in a legal battle.
We Can Get Your Case Dropped
Victim Fails to Participate
Many times, the police are called to merely diffuse an argument between husband and wife, partners, boyfriend/girlfriend or family members. Unfortunately, once the police are called, someone usually gets arrested. Oftentimes, the alleged victim simply ignores calls from the State or the police to participate in the prosecution. There are a lot of Domestic Violence Battery cases being prosecuted by the State where the State has no contact with their alleged victim. These cases usually end up set for trial, and are later dismissed.
Waiver of Prosecution
An Alleged Victim “Dropping the Charges” is a very common misconception. Even if the victim wishes for the charges to be dropped, there are many circumstances which would allow the State Attorney may proceed with their prosecution even without victim participation. If you are charged with a crime of Domestic Violence, contact Attorney’s Dell & Schaefer to discuss your options. If the victim wishes to have the charges dropped, we can help him/her in the process by having him/her sign a Sworn Waiver of Prosecution to tell the State that the victim does not want to move forward.
A case involving any public assistance fraud can subject you to harsh penalties including jail, probation, fines and the loss of any public assistance. Anyone facing these serious charges needs to retain experienced, knowledgeable and accessible legal representation to ensure their rights are protected.
Contact a Broward County, Miami, and Palm Beach Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
The Office of Dell & Schaefer has been representing criminal defense clients since 1979. Lead Attorney Grant Schwarz is rated as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by National Trial Lawyers, and ready to take your case on and start fighting to defend your rights today. Contact the office of Dell & Schaefer if you or someone you know has been charged with a Florida Domestic Violence Crime.
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