Asking how to get a domestic violence charge dropped in Florida is important if you or a family member face domestic violence charges. Once the police do arrest you, you lose control over the situation. The prosecution holds all the cards. That means you will need a strong, aggressive attorney to fight for you.
An experienced domestic violence defense lawyer can explain how to get domestic violence charges dropped and devise a defense strategy to get the job done. At Moses & Rooth, we are former prosecutors who have handled numerous domestic violence cases on both sides of the aisle. We are ready to put our vast experience to work for you.
How to Get Charges Dropped for Domestic Violence
Florida law requires the police to arrest a person for domestic violence charges if the officer develops probable cause that someone committed a crime. Probable cause is a very low standard of proof. Probable cause simply means that a reasonable person would believe the accused probably committed a crime. Probable cause is a long way away from beyond a reasonable doubt. Notwithstanding, the low standard of probable cause could land you behind bars and in court for an arraignment.
After calling 911, the alleged domestic violence victim has no say in the process. A phone call to the police reporting a domestic violence incident initiates procedures designed to ensure the alleged victim’s safety. Therefore, the police must arrest someone if they find probable cause that a crime of domestic violence occurred. The police do not have discretion. As a result, they cannot honor the victim’s wishes even if they want to.
The arresting officer brings you to jail, where they will book you and probably give you a bond amount. You next have to go to court for arraignment. You need to involve an experienced and aggressive domestic violence defense attorney immediately. At Moses & Rooth, we could intervene on your behalf, work to secure your release, and represent you at your first court appearance. We will get to work as soon as you call us, and we might be able to convince a prosecutor not to charge you before your arraignment.
When Can a Domestic Violence Charge Be Dropped?
The prosecution team holds all of the power in a domestic violence case. They are highly trained, skilled, and motivated lawyers for the state who immediately take the alleged victim’s side. Clearly, you will need someone on your side to fight back against the strength of the prosecution.
As former prosecutors, we understand prosecutors’ decision-making process when making charging decisions.
Prosecutors could honor an alleged victim’s request to drop the charges. Still, they do not have to dismiss them, even if the suspected victim is uncooperative or has criminal charges pending that could prevent that person from testifying. Trained and experienced prosecutors know how to use the laws to take your case to trial even when the alleged victim will not cooperate or cannot testify because of a fifth amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
The law grants prosecutors the power to dismiss cases even after bringing them. The court docket entry will read “nolle prosequi,” which roughly translates to no prosecution. The prosecutor always has the authority to enter a nolle prosequi in every case.
However, they typically elect not to do this because domestic violence charges are hot-button topics for prosecutors’ offices. They often push cases to trial to protect the victim even though there is little evidence or the accused has a valid argument, like self-defense.
Judges also have the ability to dismiss a case, but only for legal reasons. Judges cannot dismiss a case over the government’s objection unless the court has a legal basis to do so. Generally, judges hear motions to dismiss during the pre-trial stages of a prosecution.
A knowledgeable domestic violence defense lawyer from Moses & Rooth will evaluate your case and look for legal reasons to ask a judge to dismiss your charges.
What Could Happen If I Don’t Have My Domestic Violence Charges Dropped?
There is a lot on the line if police arrest you for domestic violence. Your liberty is at stake because domestic violence charges carry heavy jail sentences for a conviction. Additionally, you stand to forfeit many important rights if you lose. For example, you cannot legally possess a firearm or ammunition after a domestic violence conviction. Also, the court could order you to stay away from your children or other family members and order that you not go near your own house. Additionally, you could face immigration proceedings even if you legally reside in the U.S.
Can charges be dropped for domestic violence? As you can see, the answer to this question is important because a conviction for domestic violence charges in Florida carries severe consequences.
What Is Domestic Violence?
According to Florida statutes, domestic violence can stem from any of the following:
- Aggravated assault,
- Aggravated battery,
- Sexual assault,
- Sexual battery,
- Aggravated stalking,
- False imprisonment, or
- Any criminal offense resulting in the physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.
The definition of family or household member is vital to understanding a domestic violence charge. Family or household member under Florida law refers to a relationship between spouses, former spouses, and people who have children together, even if they never lived together or got married. It also includes people related to each other by blood or marriage who lived together in the same residential unit and people who currently or previously lived together as a family in the same residential unit.
Get Immediate Legal Help Right Away
Call Moses and Rooth Attorneys at Law at 407-377-0150 for a free consultation. We are available 24/7 to take your call. We understand both sides of the argument in domestic violence cases because we prosecuted these offenses. We use our vast experience to help protect people like you who face the potentially life-altering consequences of a domestic violence charge.