My client had no prior record and moved to Florida to be closer to her mother and family. She had a longstanding feud with her sister, but moved in with her and her mother while she found a job and got established in Pinellas County.
The conflicts with her sister over the care of their mother started immediately. There was a lot of tension in the home over who was doing what and when.
One evening, my client was supposed to leave for work and her sister was late to turn over the caretaking duties. An argument ensued that became physical. There were no injuries, but the sister alleged that my client pushed her. She called the police. The police responded and arrested my client for misdemeanor domestic battery.
I immediately had my client enroll in domestic violence counseling. The court issued no contact with the home, which meant that my client could not see her mother. Also, because her sister controlled the home phone, my client could not call to speak to her mother.
My client’s sister was very vindictive. She was adamant that her sister was charged and prosecuted for the domestic battery. There was nothing that I could do to prevent the charge, so I went to work on lessening the consequences.
I had my client enroll in the DVP program. As a condition, she had to complete the DVP counseling for 26 weeks, pay some fines, and get an alcohol evaluation. I also was able to convince the judge to allow her to speak to her mother on the phone and visit every other week. The benefit of the program was that if she completed it, the charge would be dismissed.
My client eventually lost her job because of this charge. She could not afford to pay the fines or pay for the alcohol evaluation. As a result, the State Attorney removed her from the DVP program. Her case was sent back to court.
I was able to work out a deal that if she paid off the fines and got the alcohol evaluation, the State would still dismiss the domestic battery charge. My client was able to do so and the next time we went back in court, the charge was dismissed.