Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys in Orlando, FL
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 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:
- 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, and
- 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, 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.
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:
- Unwanted and excessive phone calls,
- Sexual abuse,
- Cyber abuse,
- Verbal abuse,
- Social abuse, and
- Other similar behaviors.
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.
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.
The Orlando Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers at Moses & Rooth Handle All Types of Charges
- Child Abuse
- Domestic Battery
- Domestic Strangulation
- Domestic Violence Release Conditions
- Domestic Violence Sentencing Enhancements
- False Imprisonment
- Stalking Charges Lawyers
- 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 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
- 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.
Florida Domestic Violence FAQs
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 Initial Appearance.
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.
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 can help lift the restriction and allow the defendant to return home before their trial.
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.
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