Orlando Domestic Violence Attorneys
What is Florida’s Legal Definition of “Domestic Violence”?
When most people think of “domestic violence” they think of one spouse abusing another. Yet the definition of domestic violence includes any individual within the household and more as we will explain.
Sometimes spouses, domestic partners, and family members have complex relationships that explode in violence. When this happens it is possible that family members may find they are charged with domestic violence by a court. Florida law classifies violent actions toward family or members of your household as domestic violence. While it may be difficult for a family to discuss and repair the damage caused by domestic violence, it is important to understand the consequences of a domestic violence conviction. If you or a loved one are facing a domestic violence charge, you need to understand the basics of domestic violence conviction and the potential impact it can have on your future.
The Legal Definition of Domestic Violence in Florida
Florida Statutes 741.28(2) defines domestic violence as:
…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.
Family or Household member” includes:
- 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
- persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married.
** With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit.
Penalties for Domestic Violence in Florida
A conviction of domestic violence does not just trigger penalties for the type of crime a defendant has committed, it also triggers another set of penalties mandatory penalties since the nature of the case is considered “domestic”. Some of these additional Penalties for Domestic Violence cases may include:
- loss of your civil right to own or possess a Firearm
- mandatory requirement to complete a 26 week Battery Intervention Program (BIP)
- 12 months of Supervised Probation
- 5 days mandatory jail if the victim is injured
- No contact Order with the Victim
- Not eligible for sealing or expungement
It’s best not to think of domestic violence as a crime in and of itself but rather a category of crime that is committed within a home. The penalty depends entirely on what other crime you are being charged with. For that reason, domestic violence can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor.
Properly dealing with a domestic violence accusation is critical since a conviction can never fully be expunged from legal records. It may become part of public records and can only be cleared by a pardon. A domestic violence conviction may also be used as a basis for limiting a defendant’s child custody and visitation rights. Oftentimes employers hesitate to hire individuals with criminal convictions. Colleges may deny admission or even expel students after they are convicted of a crime. Additionally, credit agencies, schools, government and even potential landlords will be able to find the conviction which will impact the person’s life well into the future. It’s also considered to be a deportable offense if you are convicted of a domestic violence related offense.
Defenses to Domestic Violence
You will need a vigorous defense if you have been charged with a domestic violence crime. In many cases, the police misinterpret the situation or simply remove the individual who they perceive is the greater threat from the situation. In that case, the prosecutors and the courts must be made aware of what happened so that they can let the matter die and everyone can move on with their lives. Some of the defense strategies include self-defense, stand your ground, defense of others, or mutual combat. Investigating the defenses, gathering evidence, and speaking with potential witnesses are all required in order to prepare your defense. Getting started quickly with your criminal case is critical as it gives us an opportunity to contact the prosecutor handing the case, speak with the victim making the allegations, and preparing the case for litigation.
Moses and Rooth Attorneys at Law Handles All Types of Domestic Violence Charges
- Child Abuse
- Domestic Battery
- Domestic Strangulation
- Domestic Violence Release Conditions
- Domestic Violence Sentencing Enhancements
- False Imprisonment
- Stalking Charges Attorneys
- Violation of Restraining Order
Do Not Take a Plea
Before you take a plea, which could leave a permanent stain on your record, call the Orlando criminal defense attorneys at Moses & Rooth and let us begin preparing your defense today.
Florida Domestic Violence FAQs
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence takes many different forms and is defined as a pattern of coercive, abusive behavior exerted by one partner over another. When most people hear the word domestic violence they tend to think of physical abuse, however it can also include sexual, emotional, economic and psychological abuse.
How Common is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence affects roughly 10 million people in the U.S. each year, and manifests itself across all ages, genders, education levels, races, religions and abilities.
Am I Required by Law to Report Incidents of Domestic Violence?
If you are a mandated reporter, such as a doctor, nurse or teacher, then the answer is most likely yes. If you are the victim of domestic violence, battery or assault, you are not required to report what happened to you. However, we encourage you to get the help you need.
What Will Happen if Domestic Violence Charges are Initiated Against Me?
In Florida, prosecutors aggressively go after anyone accused of domestic violence – which include incidents of domestic assault, battery or abuse. Penalties include jail time, revocation of firearms and concealed weapons permits, and a domestic violence conviction can never be sealed or expunged from your record. If charges of domestic violence are brought against you, it is critical that you speak to a criminal defense lawyer immediately to ensure your rights are protected, and to improve your chances of a favorable outcome. In Florida, only the prosecution can dismiss domestic violence charges.
Can an Abuser Change?
Yes. It may require outside help, and it always requires a serious commitment, but it is possible. Abusers can choose to stop their abusive behavior once they recognize the pattern of poor behavior and learn to engage with their partner in a healthier way. Abusers can choose peace over violence, and respect over control. It’s never easy to change, but it is possible.
How an Experienced Orlando Domestic Violence Attorney Can Help
- Analyze your case by gathering all evidence, talking to witnesses and interviewing the alleged victim.
- Ask key questions. Was self-defense involved? The alleged victim may have struck the first blow; we can examine physical evidence and talk to witnesses to verify your account. Are there mitigating circumstances? We can assess mitigating circumstances that could allow for management classes, therapy, domestic abuse counseling and substance rehabilitation in place of fines and incarceration.
- Protect your rights. We can prepare your case for trial, should that be the best option, and address a range of complex issues like the “No Contact” conditions of a bond. If a “no contact” condition prevents you from having access to your home or children, we can request that the court address the issue as quickly as possible.
For experienced legal help in addressing all issues relating to domestic violence charges, contact Moses and Rooth Attorneys at Law.
Domestic Violence Resources:
Florida Statute 741.28 defines domestic violence
Florida Statute 741.325 – Court Ordered Batterers Intervention Program
Florida Statute 741.283 – Jail requirement for Domestic Violence
Florida Statute 741.283 – Stand your Ground