Domestic Battery Attorney
Domestic battery crimes often last just a few seconds but cause long-lasting damage to all involved. Heated arguments can suddenly result in a police call that mandates an arrest and leaves the accused facing charges.
Police in Florida can make arrests based on accusations alone. Often these allegations are exaggerated or unfounded. Fortunately, a domestic battery attorney will fight to reduce penalties and prevent the consequences of a criminal conviction.
Top Rated Criminal Defense in Pinellas County
If you’ve been arrested for domestic battery, then Sean McQuaid can defend you with expert knowledge and over 19 years worth of successful legal experience.
Sean McQuaid is a highly respected attorney and named partner at Battaglia Ross Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., who have been providing St Petersburg with first-rate legal assistance for over 60 years. Your freedom is at stake, but with the support of a Pinellas County criminal defense attorney, it can be protected.
What is Domestic Battery?
In Florida, domestic battery is any non-consensual intentional contact or any intentional causing of bodily harm to a “family or household member.” For example, a husband hitting their wife or someone throwing an object at a relative. The most common cases we see involve boyfriend/girlfriend who live together.
The following behavior qualifies as a domestic battery offense in Florida:
- Throwing objects
- Pushing or shoving
- Hair pulling
- Non-consensual sexual activity
Family or Household Members
Florida Statute 741.28 defines a ‘family or household member’ as:
- Wives and husbands;
- Ex-wives and ex-husbands;
- Individuals related by blood or marriage;
- Individuals living together as a family;
- Individuals who have resided together as if a family in the past; and
- Persons who have a child in common (regardless of prior marriage).
The law also states that those involved must be currently living or have previously lived together in the same building. There is an exception however for those who have a child in common.
Penalties for Domestic Battery in Florida
Domestic battery is a first-degree misdemeanor. The penalties include up to 1 year in jail or probation and a $1,000 fine.
Chapter 741 in Florida Law also states that domestic abuse defendants may be required 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 suffered serious injuries. The charge can also be increased to a felony if it’s a repeated offense, or if there is previous criminal history. Felony penalties include lengthy prison sentences and expensive fines.
If you’re charged with domestic battery, then there will be far-reaching consequences that last for decades.
- Domestic Violence charges will remain on criminal records forever.
- It can be used against you in a divorce proceeding, even without a conviction.
- Even if not convicted, the charges will be used again in any future domestic violence charges, which will see penalties increase.
- You may have difficulty finding employment
Can the victim drop charges of Domestic Battery?
The victim may be able to contact the prosecution directly or complete a ‘drop-charge affidavit’.. The Office of the State Attorney ultimately determines whether to file the charge.
In Florida, the domestic violence laws allow for arrests and prosecution even if the victim doesn’t press charges.
Domestic Battery Defense Tactics
There are various ways in which a defendant can attempt to clear charges or minimize penalties. These include:
- Early Negotiations
A major benefit of having a criminal defense lawyer on your side is their ability to contact the prosecution and victim early. By presenting evidence for the defense early in proceedings, it can have a significant effect on whether the State decides to press charges.
- ‘No Contact’ Orders
The state is likely to swiftly apply a ‘No Contact’ order which prevents the alleged victim and accused of meeting or interacting. This is normally a condition of bond. However, given the right circumstances, it is possible to file a ‘Motion to Modify Conditions of Release’ and have contact reinstated.
- Voluntary Participation in Support Programs
If the accused takes the initiative to participate in counseling or an anger management program, it can sway the prosecution’s opinion and help the case.
- Trial Readiness
Domestic battery cases rarely end in a trial. But, being prepared and showing a willingness to go to a trial can have a significant impact on the reducing or clearing all charges.
Domestic Violence in Pinellas County
In 2017 in Pinellas County alone, 6,228 incidents of domestic violence were reported. Over $132 million a year is spent on the various ways in which the area deals with domestic violence.
Why should you use a Pinellas County Domestic Battery Attorney?
Domestic Violence is a serious problem, so punishments are steep. Judges aren’t typically sympathetic and the State does not drop charges easily. No one should attempt to take on the complicated defense strategies alone and hope for a successful outcome. You need a premier criminal defense attorney. They can work to reduce any penalties, remove unjust restraining orders and keep your criminal record as clean as possible.
Contact Sean McQuaid from Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A. for a free consultation today to fight for you.
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