Domestic Violence in Florida
If you've been charged with domestic violence charges, it's imperative that you speak with an experienced Tampa domestic violence lawyer right away. Anything from a heated family argument, to a minor disagreement between live-in partners can lead to allegations of domestic violence. People from all walks of life find themselves under the radar of law enforcement officers when allegations of domestic violence are made.
It is not secret, that domestic violence charges carry a stigma that can lead to embarrassment and humiliation. In fact, being found guilty of domestic violence charges can have serious repercussions for your life and family. While domestic violence allegations are often the result of a simple misunderstanding, they can also be the product of serious abuse.
Anything from a heated family argument, to a minor disagreement between live-in partners can lead to allegations of domestic violence.
More on Domestic Violence in Florida
Domestic violence is defined under section 741.28 of the Florida Statutes. 741.28, Fla. Stat. (2019). Essentially, domestic violence is abuse or violence that occurs between those in a specified familial or intimate relationship. The statute specifically identifies several crimes that can be considered domestic violence, including "assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, and false imprisonment..." Id. The familial relationship is defined as "spouses, 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." Id.
Violence that occurs in familial relationsips can take many forms. Abuse can be physical, emotional, verbal, or even mental. Victims of domestic violence tend to let the abuse go unreported, often because they are being manipulated by the abuser. Because the violence and/or abuse goes unreported, it often escalates over time.
Because of the prevalence of injury and death, and the exposition of high publicity cases, Florida law has grown increasingly strict on domestic violence. It is not uncommon for law enforcement officers to make arrests following complaints, even when no physical injuries are apparent.
Often, the state has specialized prosecutors who aggressively pursue domestic violence charges against alleged abusers. These prosecutors are specifically trained to handle the multiple legal issues involved in domestic violence cases. An experienced Tampa domestic violence lawyer will be equally (if not more) knowledgeable about these issues, and will aggressively look out for your interests and protect your rights.
First Appearance and “No-Contact Orders”
Unlike many other crimes, those charged with crimes of domestic violence will be held in jail without bond, until they appear before a judge at a “first appearance” hearing. This means, depending on the time of the arrest, a defendant could be held for up to 24 hours, and in rare cases, even longer. At this hearing, a judge will address the matter of bond, and issue an order prohibiting the defendant from having any contact with the alleged victim. This is known as the “no-contact,” order. This means that the defendant can be prevented from returning to his own home. A defendant who violates this order, can have his or her bond revoked, and be held in jail until the resolution of their case.
Fortunately, if a Tampa domestic violence lawyer is retained in time to attend the hearing, this can sometimes be prevented or mitigated. For those unable to retain an attorney prior to this hearing, there is still hope. A skilled Tampa domestic violence lawyer can later move to have a “no-contact” order set-aside or amended, under the right circumstances. But it requires a court hearing with the presence of all parties.
The victim can't simply drop the charges.
Contrary to what seems to be a commonly held belief, the victim does not have the authority to drop the charges. This discretion is given to the prosecutor alone. It is therefore not uncommon for prosecutors to pursue domestic violence charges, even when the alleged victim requests for the charges to be dropped. Prosecutors can even pursue charges when a victim recants their initial allegations, or refuses to testify.
Domestic violence charges include the following:
- Assault and Battery
- Sexual Assault
- False Imprisonment
- Restraining Order Violations
As previously stated, domestic violence charges can have a devastating impact on your future. Under Florida law, you will lose your right to purchase or own a firearm if you are convicted of domestic violence charges. Under Florida law, if you are convicted of these charges, or if you plead "guilty" or "no-contest" to domestic violence charges, you cannot have your record sealed or expunged. Ever. On the other hand, if you are fortunate enough to have the charges dropped or dismissed you may still be eligible for expungement or sealing.
Defending domestic violence charges requires strong investigative tactics and careful legal strategy. No two cases are the same, and each requires an abundance of guidance, strategy, and discretion. If you have been charged with an act of domestic violence, you need an aggressive and experienced Tampa domestic violence lawyer by your side that understands the system and how it works. An experienced criminal attorney can reduce your chances of conviction and minimize the consequences that a charge can have on your life.
Contact a Tampa Domestic Violence Lawyer
Attorney William B. Wynne is an experienced and aggressive Tampa Domestic Violence Lawyer. Consultations are free of charge, and we offer payment plans to those who qualify. Call today for your free consultation! (813) 532-5057