As Stuart domestic violence lawyers, we know that each year in the United States, more than 250,000 women visit emergency rooms or see doctors after an incident of domestic violence. And more than a thousand women in the U.S. die each year of injuries sustained through domestic violence.
In recent decades, women’s groups and the media have increased our awareness of domestic violence. The result has been heightened enforcement of the existing domestic violence laws and the passage of new laws such as the federal Violence Against Women Act of 1994.
However, for far too many Florida families, domestic violence remains an imminent and dangerous threat. Anyone who is convicted of a domestic violence crime in Florida will face harsh penalties and lifelong consequences.
HOW CAN PHONY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES BE CHALLENGED?
But what if you are falsely accused of domestic violence? Is there any way to fight a fabricated domestic violence charge, avoid a conviction, and keep your good name?
A domestic violence accusation is an attack on your character and your integrity. In fact, the legal penalties for a domestic violence conviction may not be as painful as the attitudes and responses of your friends, neighbors, and family members.
WHO MAKES PHONY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES, AND WHY?
Phony domestic violence charges are made for a number of reasons. A false allegation can be from an ex-partner who is looking for an advantage in a child custody dispute, or a teenager might lie regarding a step-parent. Sometimes, a phony domestic violence charge may have no apparent motive at all.
Still, Florida’s police officers, prosecutors, and judges treat domestic violence accusations seriously because the failure to take these complaints seriously can – and does – result in real-life tragedies.
Thus, the penalties and other ramifications of a domestic violence conviction can be quite harsh in this state. Florida courts have no tolerance for any kind of domestic violence.
HOW DOES FLORIDA DEFINE AND DEAL WITH DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
These are the reasons why a domestic violence charge can be devastating – and why you must be represented by an experienced Stuart criminal defense attorney if you are charged with a crime of domestic violence in South Florida.
Domestic violence happens in Florida when a battery, aggravated battery, felony battery, assault, aggravated assault, sexual assault, stalking, kidnapping, or another crime results in the injury or death of a household or family member by another household or family member.
Florida courts always deal harshly with battery and assault, but if either offense is included in a domestic violence allegation, the sentence for a conviction will be considerably more severe than a sentence for battery or assault that is not linked to a domestic violence situation.
A jail or prison sentence will be longer, a fine may be costlier, and the probation conditions and terms will be harsher.
WHO ARE THE TARGETS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
Who is defined as a family or household member under Florida law?
- the unmarried or married parents of a child or children
- husbands, wives, ex-husbands, and ex-wives
- persons related by blood or by marriage
- persons who live together now or who have lived together in the past as a family
If you’re falsely accused of a crime of domestic violence in this state, your case may or may not go to trial, but it’s imperative to understand the prejudices and emotions that may influence jurors and witnesses in cases of domestic violence.
WHAT PENALTIES ARE IMPOSED FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CONVICTIONS?
Florida law requires that anyone who’s convicted of a crime of domestic violence must serve a minimum of five days behind bars. A domestic violence conviction in this state can also result in a prison term, probation, and/or community service.
If an alleged victim of domestic violence names you in a restraining order, any violation of the order is a misdemeanor in the first degree. A conviction may be penalized with up to a year in custody.
How can you refute a fabricated domestic violence charge? Don’t forget that in order to convict you, the state must prove a domestic violence charge beyond a reasonable doubt. If the charge is false, “proving” that it’s true will not be easy.
HOW CAN A DEFENSE LAW FIRM IN FL HELP?
A good criminal defense attorney is usually able to debunk a phony domestic violence allegation. In other cases, your lawyer may suggest offering self-defense or defense of property as a legal strategy.
After reviewing the details of the charge against you, a good defense attorney will craft a strategy for your defense that’s both appropriate and effective.
Whenever you are accused of a crime that you did not commit – any crime – fight the accusation. Whether you committed the crime or you’re innocent, in South Florida, have a qualified Stuart criminal defense attorney represent you and advocate on your behalf.
WHAT OTHER STEPS WILL A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAWYER TAKE?
If you did not commit a crime of domestic violence, your attorney will try to get the charge dropped or dismissed, but should your case go to trial, your defense attorney will ask the jury to return a verdict of not guilty.
For some domestic violence defendants, and particularly if the state’s case is persuasive, your defense attorney may suggest that you voluntarily enroll in a violence prevention or anger management course – to show a judge that you are taking the accusation against you seriously.
WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE IF YOU ARE FALSELY ACCUSED?
If you are wrongly accused of domestic violence in Florida, your decisions will be among the most important decisions you’ve ever made. Listed here are some important suggestions for anyone in our state who has been wrongly accused of domestic violence:
Do not confront the person who has accused you. When a domestic violence charge is pending, everything that you do is scrutinized. If you have to speak with your accuser, be accompanied by a reliable and reputable witness.
Avoid Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. Anything that you post to a social media site could be twisted and used against you.
Line up witnesses who will testify regarding your character or on your behalf regarding specific accusations.
If you’re falsely charged with a domestic violence crime in Florida, immediately take your case to an experienced Florida criminal defense lawyer. Do not procrastinate – you must have an attorney’s help at once. That’s your right, but you must take the first step and make the call.