What to Do if Facing a Domestic Violence Charge in Florida?

Anyone facing a domestic violence charge in Florida needs to know that their future is in jeopardy.

Domestic violence crimes can occur in just a few seconds but hang over both the accused and the alleged victim for the rest of their lives.

If you’re facing a domestic violence charge in Florida, you need professional legal support from a Florida criminal defense attorney to avoid jail time and life-changing criminal records.

What Is Domestic Violence in Florida?

Domestic violence in Florida is a term that covers a broad range of violent behaviors between family members or other household members.

Florida Statute 741.28 states this may include:

  • Assault
  • Aggravated assault
  • Battery
  • Aggravated battery
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual battery
  • Stalking
  • Aggravated stalking
  • Kidnapping
  • False imprisonment
  • Or any crime resulting in physical injury or death

‘Family or household members’ may include:

  • Spouses
  • Former spouses
  • Relations by blood or marriage
  • Individuals living in the same property together
  • Individuals who have resided together in the past
  • Parents of a child in common

The people involved must currently be living together or have previously lived together in the same building. However, there is an exception if the accused and the accuser have a child in common.

What to Do Next – After a Domestic Violence Arrest in Florida?

Contact a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’re facing a Domestic violence charge in Florida, you should not underestimate the consequences this can have on your life.

By contacting a Florida criminal defense attorney, you’ll gain the advice of someone who knows how to navigate the legal system.

Getting on the right side of the law is crucial.

We know where to look for holes in the prosecution’s case and can build a strong defense in the face of false accusations. We also have a strong standing in the Pinellas County court system – the judges know us, giving us a strong position to win you some leniency.

Feel free to contact us today for a free consultation.

What Defences Are There for Domestic Violence Charge in Florida?

The routes to defend a domestic violence charge in Florida depend on the circumstances. For example, if you’ve been falsely accused, then we’re handling a very different scenario to when someone has been arrested for an incident where there is clear evidence and injuries.

Early Negotiations

By having an experienced, respected Florida criminal defense lawyer on your side for a domestic violence charge in Florida, you can contact the prosecution and victim early. Taking action fast can have a major impact on whether the State decides to press charges.

Proving False Allegations

In some scenarios, accusations can be exaggerated or outright false. A Florida criminal defense attorney may ask:

  • Are there 911 recordings supporting the allegations?
  • Did the defendant make any statements?
  • Did the alleged victim seek or require medical treatment?
  • Were there witnesses or any pictures or videos?
  • Are there doctors and nurses who will testify?
  • Does a police report document evidence of injuries?
  • Was the defendant taking medication that could have impacted their decision-making?
  • Was the incident exaggerated?
  • Was the accused victim intoxicated?

Taking Responsibility

In scenarios where you are obviously at fault and have little chance of proving your innocence, you can attempt to win some leniency by taking responsibility to overcome your anger issues.

For example, by voluntarily participating in counseling, alcohol support groups or anger management programs, you can sway the prosecution’s opinion in your favor.

Doing so could potentially make your penalties considerably less severe.

‘No Contact’ Orders

The state often quickly issues ‘No Contact’ orders, preventing alleged victims from interacting with the accused. However, in some circumstances, you may be able to file a ‘Motion to Modify Condition of Release’ – allowing you and the alleged victim to meet again, which in some scenarios may be beneficial for both parties.

Preparation for Trial

In most cases, domestic violence cases will avoid trial. But by preparing in advance and showing you’re ready to fight in a trial, you can potentially reduce or clear all charges before we get to that stage.

Potential Penalties for a Domestic Violence Charge in Florida

Consequences on Your Life

Anyone facing a domestic violence charge in Florida should know that the consequences are far-reaching. They can haunt you for decades. For example, you could experience:

  • The domestic violence charges on your criminal record for life.
  • Charges used against you in divorce proceedings – even if you’re not convicted.
  • Charges used against you during future charges – even if you’re not convicted.
  • Difficulty finding employment.
  • Missed work
  • Estrangement from children and family members
  • Damaged reputations
  • Significant stress

What Penalties Could You Face?

The penalties you could face for domestic violence charges in Florida vary depending on the specific charge – such as a domestic battery.

However, any ‘domestic violence’ charge invokes additional statutes with minimum penalties.

Florida Statute 741.283 states:

If a person is guilty of a domestic violence crime, with intentional bodily harm, they shall serve:

  • A minimum of 10 days in the county jail for first-time offenses.
  • 15 days for second offenses.
  • 20 days for a third or subsequent offense. (Unless the court sentences the person to a non suspended period of incarceration in a state correctional facility).

If intentional bodily harm was caused to another person in the presence of a child under 16 years of age (who is a family or household member), they shall serve:

  • A minimum of 15 days in the county jail for a first-time offense.
  • 20 days for a second offense.
  • 30 days for a third or subsequent offense. (Unless the court sentences the person to a non suspended period of incarceration in a state correctional facility).

However, the above mentioned does not prevent the court from sentencing the accused to probation, community control and additional periods of incarceration.

What If I’m Charged with Domestic Battery?

If you’re additionally charged with domestic battery in Florida, you could face up to 1 year in jail or probation with a $1,000 fine. Domestic battery is a first-degree misdemeanor.

Chapter 741 in Florida Law also states domestic battery criminals may be ordered to:

  • Complete a 26-week Batterer’s Intervention Program (BIP);
  • Additional community service hours;
  • Loss of important civil liberties, including concealed carry rights;
  • Imposition of a restraining order, injunction or ‘no contact’ order.
  • Penalties will become more severe when the victim suffers serious injuries or if you have committed previous violent crimes.

Florida Domestic Violence Statistics

  • Over 105,000 domestic violence crimes in Florida are reported to law enforcement each year.
  • This has resulted in 66,000 arrests.
  • Florida’s certified domestic violence centers provide over 560,000 nights of emergency shelter to victims of domestic violence and their children.

Domestic Violence Victim Support

If you’re the victim of domestic violence in Florida, you can contact the following numbers for support:

  • Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-500-1119
  • Florida Relay 711
  • Reporting allegations of abuse, neglect, and/or exploitation for a child or vulnerable adult: Florida’s Abuse Hotline at 1-800-962-2873

Contact a Domestic Violence Attorney in Florida

If you’re facing domestic violence charges in Florida, it is highly advised that you contact a Florida criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Whether you’re facing false allegations or you need defense for a mistake, having legal support on your side could save your future.

Free Consultations

Ranger Jackson is a top-rated criminal defense attorney in Pinellas County. He has handled countless carrying concealed weapons charges in his career. He is a partner at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., one of Tampa Bay’s most prestigious law firms with the reputation and connections to make things happen.

With decades of experience helping people like you, we believe there is no better place to help you fight a domestic violence charge in Florida.

Contact us today for a free consultation to get started or CALL (727) 381-2300