Facing domestic violence charges in Florida is serious. If you or your loved one have been charged with domestic violence in Florida, it's important that you seek help from an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Florida prosecutors can charge defendants with domestic violence crimes. Additionally, victims of emotional or physical abuse can petition the court for a domestic violence injunction against the alleged perpetrator for protection. Criminal domestic violence and restraining orders are both serious matters that require immediate attention. Speak to a Palm Beach Domestic Violence Lawyer Today
Whether you are facing criminal charges or you have been falsely accused of domestic violence and named in an injunction, attorney Mark Solomon, P.A, is here to help. He has decades of experience in successfully representing clients in domestic violence matters. After evaluating your case, he will help you fight the injunction against you, and work to clear your name.
Attorney Mark Solomon will gather evidence, interview relevant witnesses, interview the person accusing you of domestic violence and provide you skilled legal representation at your domestic violence injunction hearing. He has a long track record of successfully defending Florida residents accused of domestic violence. Contact him today to schedule your initial consultation.
Domestic Violence Injunctions
Courts have the power to issue temporary domestic violence injunctions against people when there is clear and convincing evidence of domestic violence. Typically, courts Grant temporary domestic violence injunctions without going through the process of a hearing. The temporary injunction will remain in effect for up to 15 days. The court will schedule a full hearing before the temporary injunction expires. There are five types of domestic violence injunctions:
Domestic violence injunctions can be filed when there is an incidence of violence and the respondent is a spouse, former spouse, blood relative, or living with you.
Repeat violence injunctions are used when someone has committed violence against a member of his or her immediate family within the last six months
Sexual violence injunctions are used when there has been an incidence of violence that includes a sexual act, or the attempt of a sexual act
Dating violence injunctions are used when an incidence of violence between individuals who have a continuing relationship of an intimate and romantic nature occurs within the last six months
Stalking violence injunctions are used when someone purposely follows or harasses another person repeatedly over a period of time with no legitimate reason to do so
Domestic violence injunctions are civil matters, not criminal, but the consequences can be serious. Should the court issue a permanent injunction against you, you could lose the ability to spend time with your family, including your children. Domestic violence injunctions can also have a negative effect on the outcome of child support, child custody, and spousal support matters. Should the court grant your domestic violence injunction, it will become part of your permanent public record, which could impact your employment and housing opportunities.
Domestic Violence Injunction Hearings
Have you been served with a notice that someone has filed a domestic violence injunction against you? If so, it is crucial that you contact an experienced domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible. We recommend speaking to a lawyer before taking any other action. Sometimes people make the mistake of violating the domestic violence injunction against them to try to work things out with the petitioner who filed it. It is best to work with an attorney who can contact the petitioner's lawyer to communicate. You do not want to give the petitioner any additional evidence to use against you at your domestic violence injunction hearing. After you are served with a domestic violence injunction, you will need to participate in a hearing before a family court judge. The judge will listen to the evidence and decide whether to issue a permanent injunction against you. Representing yourself at a domestic violence injunction hearing is possible, but it is not advisable. A domestic violence lawyer understands the process and will be able to present evidence and ask questions on your behalf.
Facing Criminal Domestic Violence Charges in Florida
Florida prosecutors are tough when it comes to prosecuting domestic violence crimes. When people refer to domestic violence charges, they are typically referring to violent crimes that occur between family members or intimate partners. Domestic violence charges can include all of the following types of crimes:
Interference with a 911 phone call
Battery upon a pregnant woman
Domestic violence strangulation
The phrase domestic violence has a particular meeting under Florida law. Under Florida law criminal acts are considered domestic violence when a person causes a family member or domestic partner to fear for his or her safety, causes the victim physical pain, psychological pain, injury, or illness. Florida prosecutors will bring domestic violence charges against the defendant when the defendant and the alleged victim are connected in any of the following ways:
The defendant is an intimate partner of the victim
The defendant is the victims current or former spouse
The defendant currently lives with or previously lived with the victim
The defendant is a person who is akin to a spouse
The defendant committed a violent assault against an adult or youth victim when the victim was under the protection of Florida's domestic violence laws
Domestic violence does not always require a violent physical act. Under Florida law, words, Acts, or a combination of both that place, another person in fear can constitute domestic violence. Similarly, if the victim believes, based on the defendant's conduct, that a violent act will harm her or him, the defendant can face domestic violence charges.
Florida Treats Domestic Violence as a Criminal Act
Disputes between family members, spouses, and partners are common. When a family dispute rises to a domestic violence charge level, the results can be devastating for everyone involved. When an argument occurs and tempers flare, the police may be called. Within a matter of minutes, you may be facing a criminal sentence that ranges from a restraining order to two years in prison. In Florida, whenever the police are called for domestic violence, someone typically goes to jail. Florida treats domestic violence as a criminal act, not just a private matter. Any allegation of violence between household members can be charged as domestic violence, creating a systematic bias toward prosecution, even when the victim does not want to pursue charges.
What Happens After You are Arrested for Domestic Violence?
When Florida police officers receive a report of domestic violence, they will typically go to the scene and make an arrest. Even if the party complaining of domestic violence states that he or she will not press charges, police officers still arrest someone. Suppose you and your partner or spouse had already calmed down when the police arrived, and there is no longer any violence or threat of violence. You could still be arrested, even if both of you would not like an arrest to occur. Police officers do not always have enough time to investigate the situation thoroughly. They often arrest the person who was innocent or acted in self-defense.
After the police officer makes an arrest, the State Attorney’s Office will decide whether to bring formal charges against the suspect. They can also choose to dismiss the case if there is not enough evidence to support a domestic violence conviction. Even if your spouse or partner does not want them to, prosecutors can still charge you with domestic violence. The desire of the domestic violence complainant is important but not controlling as to whether the case will proceed. Some domestic violence convictions have even been upheld when the complainant fails to appear in court to testify against the defendant. Still, the state can prove the domestic violence charges by other means.
A Domestic Violence Charge Triggers Additional Statutory Requirements
Under Florida law, there is not a single “domestic violence” crime. Instead, domestic violence is a way prosecutors enhance charges for other crimes, such as assault, battery, or stalking. When prosecutors charge a person with domestic battery, they will trigger additional statutory requirements. For example, after you are arrested for domestic violence, the court will set your case at “no bond” until you appear in front of a judge, a process that can take up to 48 hours after you are arrested. After you are released on bond, a judge will typically require that you refrain from contacting the alleged victim at their home or place of residence, even if you share a home.
Domestic Violence Penalties in Florida
The penalties for domestic violence charges in Florida are severe and devastating. If you are found guilty of domestic violence, your freedom and future are at stake. Penalties such as imprisonment and fines can have a ripple effect on other issues of your life, such as child custody matters, injunctions, and any pending divorce concerns. Being convicted of domestic violence can also take a toll on your social life and professional life. Employers in some occupations will not hire potential employees with a history of domestic violence. There are several different penalties you can face if you are convicted of domestic violence, including the following:
Restrictive probation or community control
Participation in Batterers Intervention Programs
Revocation of your concealed weapons permit
You will not be able to expunge or seal your domestic violence arrest even if the judge withholds adjudication. Suppose you are not an American citizen, and you are convicted of domestic violence in Florida. In that case, it could be used as grounds for a removal proceeding or deportation by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). You may even be deported from the United States after your domestic violence conviction.
If you have been convicted of domestic violence, your conviction can be used against you in future domestic violence charges. Even if you were not found guilty of domestic violence or the prosecution dropped your case, your arrest can still be used as evidence against you in a subsequent domestic violence case. Additionally, suppose you have already been charged with domestic violence, and you are charged a second time. In that case, even if you were not convicted, you can be prosecuted as a felon, and you may be incarcerated for up to five years.
Florida’s Mandatory Minimum Sentencing
Florida prosecutors have increased the attention given to domestic violence cases. Florida also has a minimum mandatory sentence. As a result, any sentence for domestic violence is serious. Anyone convicted of domestic violence who intentionally caused bodily harm must serve at least five days in a county jail. The penalties for violating an injunction of protection in Florida are also serious. Violating a restraining order is a misdemeanor in the first degree that carries a maximum jail sentence of one year.
Civil Penalties for Domestic Violence
In addition to the criminal penalties mentioned above, the alleged victim of domestic violence can also file a civil petition seeking an injunction. This is a civil proceeding in which the person accusing you of domestic violence requests a restraining order entered against you, limiting your contact and communication. The Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination does not apply during these proceedings.
When you testify in these proceedings, your testimony can be used against you in a separate criminal proceeding. Suppose you have to testify in a hearing regarding a restraining order, and you admit to engaging in domestic violence because you are under oath. In that case, prosecutors will be able to use your admission in a criminal prosecution to convict you of domestic violence. It is essential that your domestic violence lawyer knows how to strategize, handle, and defend you in both types of cases.
Contact a Palm Beach, Florida Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer Today If your loved one is facing domestic violence charges, or someone has filed a domestic violence injunction against you, attorney Mark Solomon is here to help. He can use his decades of experience representing clients in domestic violence matters to help you secure the best possible outcome in your case. Contact him today to schedule your initial consultation.