Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys in Orlando, FL

Orlando domestic violence defense attorney

When most people think of “domestic violence” they think of one spouse abusing another. Yet the definition of domestic violence includes violence committed by 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 the conviction and the potential impact it can have on your future. Contact our Orlando domestic violence defense lawyers in Orlando to defend your rights.

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:

  • Spouses,
  • Former spouses,
  • Persons related by blood or marriage (parents, siblings, children, etc.),
  • 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. 
Orlando Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers

** 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.

What is Domestic Violence Battery in Florida?

Domestic violence battery is defined in both Florida Statute 741.28 and 784.03(1)(a). Battery is defined as:

  • Actually and intentionally touching or striking another person against their will, or
  • Intentionally causing bodily harm to another person.

When battery occurs between individuals who have a specific relationship as outlined in Florida Statute 741.28, it is categorized as domestic violence battery.  The statute requires that the act is done against the will of the victim and creates a risk of or causes great bodily harm.

Domestic Violence Battery By Strangulation

A more severe form of domestic violence, domestic battery by strangulation (784.041(2)(a), occurs when someone intentionally obstructs another person’s breathing or blood circulation, posing a risk of significant physical harm. Obstruction can occur by applying pressure to the throat or neck, or blocking the nose or mouth.

Key Elements of Domestic Violence Battery

Intent

A key element in any battery charge, including domestic violence battery, is intent. The prosecution must prove that the defendant acted:

  • Intentionally. The act was deliberate and not accidental.
  • Against one’s will. The contact was non-consensual and unwanted by the victim.

This intent is a fundamental aspect of proving guilt in such cases. It can significantly impact the outcome of the legal proceedings.

Harm

Physical harm is a vital component in domestic violence battery cases, although the degree of harm may vary. For basic battery charges, any unwanted touching suffices, but for more severe charges like aggravated battery, significant injury, or the use of a deadly weapon is required.

Role of Prosecution and Types of Evidence Required

To secure a conviction, the prosecution must establish the following:

  • The existence of a qualifying relationship. As defined by the statute.
  • Intentional, non-consensual touching or striking. Clear evidence of the act.
  • Harm or risk thereof. Demonstrating the impact on the victim.

Evidence can include:

  • Victim testimony—statements from the victim describing the incident.
  • Witness testimony—statements from individuals who witnessed the act.
  • Expert testimony—explanations of the significance of the evidence presented and help the jury understand the context and impact of the alleged battery.
  • Physical evidence—medical reports, photographs of injuries, and any objects used in the battery.
  • Police reports—documentation from law enforcement officers who responded to the incident.

Additionally, any prior history of violence or abuse between the defendant and the victim may also be introduced to establish a pattern of behavior.

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 that prohibits contact with the victim, and
  • 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

Potential Penalties for Domestic Violence Battery

A conviction for domestic violence battery is typically classified as a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1000.

If there are repeated offenses or aggravating circumstances, the charge can be escalated to a third-degree felony, which carries a potential sentence of up to five years in prison and a $5000 fine.

Mandatory Minimum Sentences

Florida law also mandates minimum jail time for domestic violence battery convictions if there was intentional bodily harm:

  • First Offense—Minimum ten days in jail.
  • Second Offense—Minimum 15 days in prison.
  • Third or Subsequent Offenses—Minimum 20 days in prison.

These minimum sentences are enhanced if the offense occurred in the presence of a minor under 16:

  • First Offense—Minimum 15 days of incarceration.
  • Second Offense—Minimum 20 days in prison.
  • Third or Subsequent Offenses—Minimum 30 days in jail.

Judges have limited discretion in deviating from these minimum jail times, emphasizing the seriousness of domestic violence offenses.

Additional Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction

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.

Examples of Domestic Violence Abuse

Domestic abuse includes a broad range of infractions, not all of which require physical violence. Examples of domestic violence infractions include:

  • Battery and aggravated battery—intentionally touching or striking someone against their will;
  • Strangulation—intentionally impeding the breathing or circulation of someone against their will;
  • Assault and aggravated assault—intentionally threatening someone in a way that causes a fear of imminent violence; 
  • Kidnapping—forcibly confining, abducting, or imprisoning someone with the intent to hold them for ransom, commit or facilitate a felony, or inflict bodily harm;
  • False imprisonment—forcibly confining, abducting, or imprisoning someone; and
  • Stalking and aggravated stalking—willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following, harassing, or cyberstalking someone.

These infractions cover an even broader range of behaviors. Behaviors that can lead to domestic violence charges include: 

  • Intimidation,
  • Hitting,
  • Choking,
  • Pushing,
  • Stalking,
  • Unwanted and excessive phone calls,
  • Threats,
  • Sexual abuse,
  • Cyber abuse,
  • Verbal abuse,
  • Social abuse, and
  • Other similar behaviors. 

Examples of Domestic Violence Battery

Battery domestic violence in Florida can include the following situations:

  • A husband slapping his wife during an argument.
  • A former partner pushing their ex-spouse during a custody exchange.
  • A parent striking an adult child during a dispute.
  • A boyfriend choking his girlfriend during a confrontation.

If someone has accused you of any of these behaviors or any other form of domestic violence, you should contact one of our Orlando domestic violence attorneys to help. 

Defenses to Domestic Violence in Orlando

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 whom 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.

At Moses & Rooth, Attorneys at Law, we employ several robust defense strategies tailored to the specifics of your case:

  • Self-defense. Domestic violence incidents often arise from a person defending themselves during a conflict. We meticulously examine evidence and witness accounts to substantiate self-defense claims by showing that your actions were in response to an immediate threat.
  • Defense of others. If your actions aimed to protect another person from harm, such as a child or another family member, this strategy can be applied. We highlight the necessity of your intervention and argue for the justification of your actions under the law.
  • Stand your ground. Florida’s Stand Your Ground law may provide a defense if you faced a threat in a place where you had a right to be and did not have a duty to retreat. Our attorneys are experienced in arguing these cases and demonstrating that you lawfully stood your ground during the incident.
  • Mutual combat. We can argue that mutual combat occurs when both parties willingly engage in a confrontation. Demonstrating that the other party was a willing participant in the altercation can significantly impact the outcome of the case.
  • False accusations. In some cases, individuals are falsely accused of domestic violence due to ulterior motives, such as gaining unfair advantage during a divorce or custody battle. We focus on uncovering the truth, challenging the accuser’s credibility, and presenting evidence that refutes the allegations against you.
  • Lack of proof. Prosecutors must meet a high standard of proof to secure a conviction. We rigorously challenge the evidence presented against you, seeking to create reasonable doubt about your guilt.

Each of these strategies requires thorough investigation and skilled legal representation. Our team at Moses & Rooth is not just dedicated, but deeply committed to gathering evidence, speaking with witnesses, and crafting a defense that addresses the nuances of your situation. We are unwavering in our commitment to advocating for your rights and achieving the best possible outcome in your case.

Statute of Limitations for Domestic Violence Battery Charges in Florida

The statute of limitations for domestic violence battery charges in Florida depends on the severity of the offense.

Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Battery

For most misdemeanor domestic violence battery charges, the statute of limitations is two years. This means that prosecutors generally have two years from the date of the alleged offense to file charges.

Felony Domestic Violence Battery

For felony domestic violence battery charges, such as aggravated battery or aggravated assault, the statute of limitations is typically three years.

The Orlando Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers at Moses & Rooth Handle All Types of Charges

Do Not Take a Plea

Before you take a plea, which could leave a permanent stain on your record, call the Orlando domestic violence defense attorneys at Moses & Rooth, Attorneys at Law, and let us begin preparing your defense today.

How an Experienced Orlando Domestic Violence Attorney Can Help

Hiring skilled Orlando domestic violence defense lawyers can make a significant difference in your case. Here are some of the benefits to hiring Moses and Rooth to represent you in a domestic violence case:

  • Analyze your case. We thoroughly 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 a criminal defense attorney in Orlando for domestic violence at Moses and Rooth Attorneys at Law.

MEET OUR ATTORNEYS: ANDREW MOSES AND JAY R. ROOTH

Andrew Moses, a proud alumnus of the University of Florida, has dedicated his entire career to criminal law. Starting as an intern with the State Attorney’s Office in Alachua County during his law school tenure, Andrew moved on to become an Assistant State Attorney in Orange and Osceola Counties.

He gained vast experience as he handled a wide range of criminal cases, from misdemeanors to serious felonies such as drug trafficking and armed robbery. His prosecutorial experience gives him a unique perspective on the criminal justice system and the strategies employed by the government.

Jay R. Rooth, who holds degrees from Stetson University, including an MBA, continued to excel at Barry University Law School. A highly recognized figure in the legal community, Jay has been nominated as a Super Lawyers “Rising Star” and achieved a Super Lawyer status in 2016. He holds a perfect 5.0 peer review rating from Martindale-Hubbell and has won accolades such as the AVVO Clients Choice award. Jay’s involvement in the Orlando Chamber of Commerce and numerous legal associations underlines his commitment to the legal profession and community.

Together, Andrew and Jay bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and recognition to Moses & Rooth, Attorneys at Law, making them well-equipped to handle any domestic violence defense with exceptional skill.

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 includes 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 an Orlando domestic violence 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.

What Happens During the Booking Process in a Domestic Violence Case?

In most cases, someone is going to jail if the police show up to a domestic violence call. Once at the jail, the detained person will go through the booking process. First, the police will gather biographical information from the defendant. Next, the police will fingerprint and photograph the defendant. One of the photographs will be a mug shot, which will inevitably appear on the internet along with the reason for the arrest. 
Florida domestic violence laws dictate that the jail will not set a bond in domestic violence cases. Instead, the court sets bond at an initial appearance.. The defendant will likely remain in jail until the next day. The Initial Appearance hearing is extremely important. It is essential that the defendant contacts a domestic violence defense attorney to represent them at the initial appearance.

What Is the Bond for a Domestic Violence Charge?

If someone receives a domestic violence charge in Florida, the court will set a bond based on the case’s particular circumstances. The bond will include the amount the defendant needs to post and the conditions for pre-trial release. A domestic violence defense lawyer can help ensure that the bond is fair. 
Once the bond is set, the defendant needs to either provide cash bail (a money order to the jail) or use a bail bond company to post bail. Once the bond posts to the computer system, the jail will allow the defendant to leave. It is important to note that the defendant will be subject to all bond conditions during pre-trial release.  

Can Someone Return Home After a Domestic Violence Arrest? 

Whether someone can return home after a domestic violence arrest depends entirely on the bond conditions. At most IA (Initial Appearance), the court will demand that the defendant avoid any contact with the alleged victim. It will also order the defendant to stay away from their home. In these cases, the court will likely allow the defendant to return home once, under the watch of law enforcement officers, to collect personal belongings.
Afterward, the defendant will not be allowed to return home until the restrictions are lifted or the trial is over. An Orlando domestic violence lawyer in Orlando can help lift the restriction and allow the defendant to return home before their trial. 

I Have Been Falsely Accused Of Domestic Battery: How Do I Protect My Rights?

If you have been falsely accused of domestic battery, you should take quick action. More specifically, you should be sure to do the following three things:
1.) Preserve any evidence: If you have any evidence that suggests or proves your innocence, you need to protect and preserve it.
2.) Stay away from the accuser: It is understandable to be hurt and frustrated after facing false charges. Still, you should never confront the accuser. Keep your distance. Direct confrontation will only hurt you.
3.) Call a lawyer: You need to call an experienced Orlando domestic battery defense attorney as soon as possible. Your freedom could be at stake.

How Can Battery Lawyer in Orlando Help Defend Against a Domestic Battery Charge

Our Orlando Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers have in-depth knowledge of Florida domestic violence battery laws and are creative in their defenses against domestic battery charges. A few of our defenses include: 

Self-Defense

You push your partner away during an altercation to prevent them from hitting you. We would gather evidence such as witness statements, medical reports, and any available video footage to support your claim that your actions were necessary to protect yourself from harm.

Defense of Others

You shoved your spouse to stop them from slapping your child. This defense would involve demonstrating that your intervention was necessary to prevent harm to the child, emphasizing the immediate threat and your protective instincts.

Stand Your Ground

You were in your home when your ex threatened you with a weapon. By invoking the Stand Your Ground law, we would argue that you had no obligation to retreat and were justified in using force to protect yourself.

Mutual Combat

An argument between you and your adult sister escalates into a physical fight, with both of you actively participating. We would collect evidence such as witness testimony and possibly video footage to show that both you and your sister consented to the physical altercation, thereby challenging the perception of one-sided violence.

False Accusations

Your spouse accuses you of domestic battery to gain custody of your children during a divorce. We would investigate the accuser’s motives, gather evidence of your innocence, and possibly use digital communication, such as text messages or emails, to demonstrate inconsistencies in the accuser’s story. 

What Are the Implications of a Domestic Violence Charge on Child Custody and Visitation Rights?

A domestic violence charge can significantly impact child custody and visitation rights. Courts prioritize the safety and well-being of children and may alter existing custody arrangements if they believe a parent or their environment poses a risk.
That could result in limited visitation rights or supervised visits and, in severe cases, loss of custody. An experienced attorney can help argue for mitigating circumstances and advocate for maintaining parental rights wherever possible.

How Can I Protect My Privacy While Dealing with a Domestic Violence Charge?

Protecting your privacy involves careful handling of all aspects of your case. Our firm ensures that sensitive information is disclosed only when necessary and within legal bounds.
We advise on steps you can take personally, such as limiting public discussions of your case and using legal tools to minimize public record exposure.
Additionally, we handle all communications with discretion to safeguard your personal and professional reputation.

What Should I Do If I Am Served with a Restraining Order in a Domestic Violence Case?

If you are served with a restraining order, you must comply fully with its terms to avoid further legal consequences. Do not contact the plaintiff directly or indirectly, and stay away from specified locations.
You should contact an attorney immediately to understand the specific conditions of the order and discuss any possible legal responses or challenges. Your attorney can also help you prepare for any related court appearances and work to protect your rights throughout the process.

Can I Expunge a Domestic Violence Battery Conviction?

Under Florida law, individuals convicted of domestic violence battery are ineligible to have their records sealed or expunged, even if adjudication is withheld.

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