Florida Domestic Violence Defense
The Florida legislature has singled out domestic violence for special treatment compared to other crimes. The State Attorneys develop special domestic violence units or assign prosecutors to specialize in the prosecution of domestic violence cases. The state has adopted a “pro-prosecution” policy toward criminal law enforcement of injunctions in the hope that longer and more severe sentences will better protect victims of domestic violence. Alleged perpetrators can be sentenced to mandatory minimum jail sentences and be thrown out of their homes, and also denied bail while their cases are pending.
Domestic violence is a real and serious problem that can traumatize victims and their families. At the same time, merely being accused of or arrested for domestic violence can seriously impact the alleged perpetrator even before they have had their day in court. If you’ve been accused of domestic violence in Florida, the criminal defense attorneys at Meldon Law can look at your case, advise you of your best options, and fiercely advocate on your behalf to get the best result available.
How Is Domestic Violence Defined in Florida Law?
According to Florida Statutes 741.28, domestic violence means any “assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.” The law specifically defines “family or household member” to mean “spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married.”
What Are the Consequences for Being Found Guilty of Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a criminal offense that can be punished with fines and jail time like other crimes. In cases of domestic violence, however, Florida law requires a convicted offender to be sentenced to a minimum of one year of probation and required to attend and complete a batterers’ intervention program. If the perpetrator intentionally caused bodily harm, the law requires a minimum of ten days in the county jail for a first offense, 15 days for a second offense, and 20 days for a third or subsequent offense. These mandatory minimum jail sentences increase to 15, 20 and 30 days, respectively, if a child under 16 was present who was a family or household member of the victim or perpetrator.
It is possible to get pretrial release (bail) in cases of domestic violence, but violating a term of pretrial release is a first-degree misdemeanor and requires the accused to be held in custody until their first appearance.
The potential punishments above apply to the criminal complaint. Additionally, the accused can be subject to an injunction for protection from domestic violence. An injunction for protection from domestic violence can be used to restrain a perpetrator from further abuse. The subject of the injunction can also be ordered to leave the household and be prevented from entering the alleged victim’s residence, school, or place of employment. The injunction can grant custody of kids to the alleged victim and take custody rights away from the alleged perpetrator while ordering the perpetrator to pay support as well.
How Can Meldon Law Help?
A person charged with domestic violence is likely to be charged with some other crime as well, such as assault or sexual assault. As experienced criminal defense attorneys who have worked as both state attorney prosecutors and public defenders as well as defense attorneys in private practice, our firm has the comprehensive set of skills and experience to defend you against all charges while also helping you avoid the severe consequences of a domestic violence conviction.
Like other offenses, domestic violence crimes contain specific elements which must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Meanwhile, you may have defenses in your favor that raise reasonable doubt or show that required elements such as intent are missing from the prosecution’s case. For instance, an allegation of domestic violence could be based on a misunderstanding between the parties, a desire for revenge by a spurned partner, or an attempt to take advantage of another party in a divorce or child custody battle.
Sometimes both parties are implicated in assaults or violence, and it’s up to the police to determine who was the primary aggressor and who should be arrested. Domestic violence charges often stem from chaotic and confusing situations that fall upon the police and later the courts to sort out. An experienced criminal defense attorney who is dedicated to protecting your rights and getting you the best outcome can be an essential ally to have in your corner throughout this process.
Help With Domestic Violence Charges in Florida
If you have been charged with domestic violence in Florida, call Meldon Law at 800-373-8000 to review your case with a skilled and successful Florida criminal defense attorney. We’ll fight for you and put all our skills and resources toward getting a good result for you.