“Domestic Violence” is a hot button issue. It’s politically charged and State Attorneys are elected officials. One can expect aggressive prosecution of any crime domestic in nature. If a crime is designated as one of Domestic Violence, it triggers a number of changes in how the case is handled procedurally, it changes the required terms of sentence if convicted, it prevents sealing or expunction if convicted, and it can have far-reaching consequence in one’s personal life. The earlier you involve an attorney, the better off you will likely be. We are available by phone, anytime, or just send a text to (561) 427-3402.
Florida uses Domestic Violence as a designation when qualifying violent crimes occur between “family or household members.” The definition of Domestic Violence is found in Florida Statute §741.28. The term “family or household member” sweeps slightly wider than one might imagine. The statute defines it 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.”
Also, as stated above, it must be a qualifying crime. According to Florida Statute §741.28, crimes subject to designation include assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death.
These crimes are treated seriously, but the hurdles presented can be tackled with the help of an experienced attorney. Through early negotiation, bond motions, pretrial motions, and aggressive representation an attorney can work to get the charges dropped or modified to avoid this life-changing designation. Call us and we can discuss the pros and cons of your case.
BOND AND NO-CONTACT ORDERS FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES IN FLORIDA
Ability to obtain bond is one of the first places the difference of having a crime designated as Domestic Violence is felt. A person accused of a crime of Domestic Violence is ineligible for bond until they are brought before a judge. They can be held up to 48 hours. At the hearing, without the cooperation of the alleged victim, the accused will likely be issued a “No-Contact Order”. This can prevent the accused from being able to have contact with the alleged victim and, in some cases, prevent them from being allowed to return home.
An attorney can help with the No-Contact Order. Ideally, the attorney is involved as early as the bond hearing and can arrange to have the necessary parties and testimony to address this condition of bond. However, in most scenarios, the client is already out and laboring under the No-Contact Order. An attorney must then file a motion to request the court remove the No-Contact Order and address any other onerous conditions of bond. It usually takes a few days and during that time the client will remain excluded from contact or, in some cases, returning home legally. Violating a bond condition until the court changes it is a whole new criminal charge and is not advised.
DEFENSES TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ALLEGATIONS IN FLORIDA
All the traditional defenses to the qualifying crimes are available to the accused. In addition, the statute presents additional opportunities to attack the domestic Violence designation where the crime does not fit the definition. Finally, because the designation itself triggers such extraordinary consequence, should the client be forced to plea, negotiation to have the Domestic Violence designation removed is yet another tactic.
PENALTIES FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CONVICTIONS IN FLORIDA
In addition to the traditional penalties of each of the qualifying offenses, a conviction for a crime of Domestic Violence requires the defendant be sentenced to the following:
ADDITIONAL CONSEQUENCES OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACCUSATIONS IN FLORIDA
Domestic Violence strikes a chord for many. Clients have lost jobs, been threatened with loss of housing, been denied housing, been threatened with deportation, lost their concealed weapon permit, and lost their gun rights. Some of these consequences have been driven by the law, others by the popular response. We seek a resolution that can shield our clients from all ill effects.
FEDERAL GUN PROHIBITION FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CONVICTIONS
Federal law prohibits owning a gun if you have been convicted of a crime of Domestic Violence. Also, it makes illegal selling a gun to someone convicted of a Domestic Violence misdemeanor.
If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime of Domestic Violence, we can help. We will gladly meet with you in our office in Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, or West Palm Beach. We serve clients all over Florida, with a focus in South Florida, including Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and Palm Beach County. Call us now for your free consultation.