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Domestic Violence Attorney Orlando

Domestic violence charges are very common in Florida, and the penalties can be quite severe. Individuals charged with domestic abuse could face lengthy prison sentences, restraining orders, and hefty fines. Domestic violence convictions may also impact your criminal record while severely diminishing your chances of finding employment.

Domestic violence attorneys provide dependable, high-quality, and skillful representation for those accused of misdemeanor or felony domestic violence charges. Domestic violence attorneys make the necessary effort to instruct and influence prosecutors about the various subtleties, complexities, and paradoxes of your case so that the deficiencies are exposed.

If you have been charged with domestic violence, then you need the assistance of an experienced Orlando domestic violence lawyer to develop a domestic violence defense best suited for you. 

This decision could make the difference between a severe or moderate punishment, long or short court proceedings, and whether your verdict will be guilty or not guilty.

Florida Domestic Violence Statistics

It is hard to get a grasp on the true extent of domestic abuse because shame and fear discourage some domestic violence victims from seeking refuge similar to how false accusations can lead to improper arrests. Law enforcement agencies are aware of this reality and are often overzealous in the performance of their duties. Consequently, they overbook or overcharge suspected abusers. 

According to the Florida Department of Children and Families in 2019, 105,298 crimes of domestic violence were reported to Florida law enforcement agencies leading to 66,069 arrests. 

After being on a steady decline since 1998, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement reported that yearly domestic violence crimes increased in 2019 for only the second time in twenty years. 

Florida’s certified domestic violence centers also provided the following services to domestic abuse victims in 2019:

  • 563,721 nights of emergency shelter to 13,250 survivors of domestic violence and their children
  • 153,757 customized safety plans provided a total of 233,602 hours of advocacy and counseling services
  • 73,817 domestic violence hotline calls from individuals seeking emergency services, information, and safety planning assistance

Domestic Violence Crimes

Violence

Orlando domestic violence and abuse at the hands of a loved one is terrifying, demeaning, and complex, especially when you’ve been falsely accused or a victim. Florida laws classify violent actions toward family or members of your household as types of domestic violence. Family and household members include those who happen to be:

  • Spouses or former spouses
  • Blood or marriage persons
  • Individuals who are presently residing together or have resided together in the past as a family
  • Parents of a child in common regardless of whether they live together or not

In 1994 and 1996, the U.S. government passed the Violence Against Women Act and Gun Control Acts to make domestic violence a national crime. State and local authorities handle the majority of domestic violence cases, but in the following instances, federal laws are the most appropriate course of action. It is a federal crime under the Violence Against Women Act:

  • to cross state lines to physically injure an “intimate partner”
  • to cross state lines to stalk or harass or to stalk or harass within the maritime or territorial lands of the United States 
  • to cross state lines to violate a qualifying protection order.

It is a federal crime under the Gun Control Act:

  • to possess a firearm and/or ammunition while subject to a qualifying protection order
  • to possess a firearm and/or ammunition after conviction of a qualifying misdemeanor crime of domestic violence

Florida Domestic Violence Charges

Domestic violence battery is the unlawful touching of a person classified by statute as a family or household member. The offense is seriously prosecuted throughout Orlando Florida, with penalties that exceed conventional battery. Domestic violence lawyers try the following types of domestic violence cases: 

  • Child abuse
  • Aggravated assault
  • Aggravated battery
  • Domestic battery
  • Domestic strangulation
  • Domestic violence release conditions
  • Domestic violence sentencing enhancements
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual battery
  • Stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment
  • Threatening bodily harm or other aggressive behavior
  • Violation of restraining and protection orders
  • Withholding access to medications and other important health supplies

Domestic violence charges could be the result of a broad range of offenses, from emotional to economic abuse. Before you take a plea bargain or make a deal that could permanently ruin your record, call an Orlando domestic violence attorney or law firm so that they can begin preparing your defense today.

Domestic Violence Consequences

Assault Crimes

Domestic violence convictions carry added significance due to the nature of the charges. Penalties for domestic violence could range from restraining orders in the civil court system to third-degree felonies. Think of domestic violence as a category of crime and the penalties depend undividedly on what other crimes you are being charged with. 

In the state of Florida, a misdemeanor battery charge could result in a prison sentence of up to a year, while a third-degree felony charge of aggravated assault could lead up to five years in prison. Probation requirements can also be harsh, requiring treatment for drug and alcohol abuse or anger management. 

Here are some of the additional unforeseen consequences of a domestic violence conviction:

  • Loss of your right to bear arms
  • Mandatory requirements to complete a 26 week Battery Intervention Program (BIP)
  • 12 months of supervised probation
  • Five days mandatory prison sentence when the victim is injured
  • A no-contact order with the victim
  • Your record will no longer be eligible for sealing or expungement
  • Limitations on child custody and visitation rights
  • Deportation
  • Denied admissions to schools, colleges, and universities
  • Adverse effects on employment opportunities including job loss

Orlando Domestic Violence Lawyer Strategies

It will be up to you, your domestic violence attorney, and your Orlando criminal defense law firm to use one of the countless strategies for addressing a domestic battery charge. The following strategies could assist you in having your case dropped or reduced before trial:

  • Factual disputes leading to reasonable double about the dispute
  • Absence of significant injuries
  • Allegations and evidence don’t corroborate
  • Proof of a vindictive victim
  • Demonstrating your actions were in self-defense, defense of others, or defense of your property
  • Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law
  • Evidence of a consensual confrontation or mutual combat

Whether you have been accused of or a victim of domestic violence, the following strategies could be useful for an Orlando domestic violence attorney, defendant, or law firm interested in protecting their clients:

Hire a Domestic Violence Lawyer

Lawyer writing

The possibility that your domestic violence charges could be dropped, amended, or diverted increases significantly if you’re protected by skillful domestic violence attorneys. Building an Orlando criminal defense team may prove vital to protecting yourself in criminal justice. 

With the help of an attorney, you can demonstrate resolve and trial-readiness. Sometimes showing that you’re ready, willing, and able to go to trial could play a major role in having an aggravated battery charge dropped, reduced, or diverted.

Begin Negotiations Early

A fundamental resource of hiring domestic violence lawyers is their ability to make early contact with the attorneys representing the criminal, or civil court opposition. Early presentation of the facts, legalities, and mitigating circumstances could have a drastic impact on the prosecution’s decision to accelerate a domestic battery charge.  

Early communications show proficiency, determination, and establishes the rapport necessary for future negotiations. Domestic battery, stalking, aggravated assault charges are most effectively addressed before formal charges are filed. 

If a ‘no contact’ order has been imposed, your attorney could contact the alleged victim or family members to ensure they wish to proceed with the charges. Victims could also attempt to contact the prosecutor but the decision to prosecute rests solely with the Office of the State Attorney. 

The State Attorney’s Office will generally require that the victim complete a drop-charge affidavit, complete a course, or meet with a Domestic Violence advocate to decline prosecution in criminal court.

Pursuing Help On Your Own

Being proactive by voluntarily enrolling in counseling or other psychological or substance abuse services has proven beneficial for defendants and victims. If you’re accused of stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, sexual battery, rape, or any other criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death to a loved one, then voluntary participation in such programs could demonstrate a level of responsibility and awareness, alter preconceived notions of a case or the defendant, and increase the possibilities of non-criminal resolutions like pretrial Intervention.

Motions

A motion is a legal way of presenting a request to a judge. Pre-trial motions could further assist negotiations and discourage continued litigation against the accused. Stand Your Ground Motions provide the accused with the potential for prosecutorial immunity from prosecution. A Motion in Limine or a Motion for Court Ruling has illustrated to prosecutors the factual vulnerabilities in the evidence of the case.  

Stages of a Domestic Violence Battery Prosecution

Here are some of the stages of how police respond to domestic violence in Florida, how arrests are made, and what could happen in court. 

Determining The Aggressor

Agressive man

Emergency responders normally send police officers to supposed victims after someone makes a call. When officers arrive at the scene of a quarrel, they’ll start their investigation by interviewing those involved and witnesses. 

Police typically do this to establish who was the aggressor and whether or not there was a criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family member. Police officers will then use the information gathered from the scene to make an arrest.

If the police feel that a criminal act has been committed against the parents of a child, family members, another family or household, or between blood or marriage persons, then a domestic violence arrest will be made. 

After they’ve conducted an investigation the police will make a police report, and often those reports include recommendations to prosecutors on whether or not the case should be tried as a misdemeanor or a felony. 

Misdemeanor domestic violence arrests often result in a citation with a court date attached in the future in which you must appear. Felony domestic violence charges require that you stay in custody until you make bail, then released until the court hearing.

Even though an arrest has been made, at this point, formal charges haven’t been made. Charges are filed when the police submit a copy of the police report to the city or district attorney’s office. 

The Orlando city attorney is a prosecutor that handles misdemeanor cases, while the district attorney handles largely felonies. This prosecutor’s objective is to review evidence, examine police reports, and make conclusions about what charges, if necessary, should be imposed.

It’s at this point of the process that it could prove vital to have an Orlando domestic violence lawyer because the investigations they conduct could positively contribute to your case by convincing the prosecution not to file charges, or to reduce the severity of those charges. 

Arraignment and Pre-Trial Proceeding

At an arraignment, the judge will notify the accused of their constitutional rights and give them a copy of the police report and the complaint, a formal document listing the charges. At this point, the accused is required to submit a plea of either guilty or not guilty. Remember that criminal law professionals only suggest pleading guilty when the domestic violence attorney and the prosecution have negotiated a plea agreement that you sign off on. 

After you enter your plea, the judge decides whether or not you should be given bail. This judgment is made based on the specific elements of the crime. Your domestic violence attorney will present arguments on your behalf and could request a separate bail hearing that could persuade the judge to reduce bail or even release you.

The judge will also decide on a protective order or an injunction. An injunction is a protective order issued by a judge that prohibits domestic abusers from having any contact with their victims. Injunctions can provide the following:

  • Restrain the respondent from committing further acts of domestic violence
  • Award temporary exclusive use of the home
  • Address support and time with children concerns
  • Court ordered participation in a batterer’s intervention course
  • Obligated to surrender all weapons to the police

Your domestic violence attorney-at-law could request that the injunction only prohibit harmful contacts between you and the supposed victim. The judge’s collaboration with your attorney’s suggestions will depend on the particulars of your case, criminal history, and your motivations for the contact.

The pre-trial process includes a group of hearings that occur before trial. Presenting strong evidence and arguments on your behalf in negotiations with the prosecutor could improve your opportunities to gain a more favorable outcome. 

If your domestic violence lawyer and the prosecutor reach an agreed-upon settlement, then the proceedings will end at the pre-trial stage but if an agreement can’t be reached, then the case will move to trial. 

Trial

Judge hammer

If a settlement can’t be reached, then a trial date is set by the judge. A skillful domestic abuse lawyer will present motions to the court arguing for or against the admission of certain evidence at trial that could make or break your case.

At trial, the prosecution and your domestic violence lawyer will present their cases to a jury. A jury is comprised of a group of your “peers.” It will be up to the prosecutor to prove his case to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt. If they are incapable of doing that, then your case will be dismissed. 

If the jury finds you guilty, then you will be convicted and sentenced by the judge. Your domestic violence attorney can present arguments to negotiate some of the particulars of the sentence. Many domestic violence cases are settled by plea agreements, so that’s why you need to have an experienced domestic violence defense prepared. 

FAQ About Domestic Violence Laws

Defending yourself against domestic violence as well as domestic violence accusations are important for your livelihood and that of your family. 

If you’re the victim of domestic violence, then these questions could serve as a guide for your potentially bringing an injunction against your abuses. If you’re a victim of false domestic violence accusations, then the following questions may guide how you can protect your rights: 

Can you fight a domestic violence charge?

Domestic violence allegations are serious and carry heft penalties so it will be in your best interest to protect yourself by defending yourself against the allegations or in instances of guilt advocate for consequences that lead to more positive outcomes.  

Your domestic violence defense will need to be impenetrable and that’s why it’s so important to work with an experienced domestic violence lawyer. Experienced domestic abuse attorneys have had success defending domestic violence cases by: 

  • Demonstrating the victim’s injuries were an accident
  • Displaying that the victim’s injuries were not caused by the accused
  • Proving that the accused was acting in self-defense 
  • Highlighting the false accusations

How long does a domestic violence case last?

Domestic violence cases can go on for a couple of years, especially for those who have been ordered to participate in a batterer’s intervention program. How long your case lasts will depend on the particular details of your cases, and the success your domestic violence lawyer garners negotiating with the prosecution.  

How do I get a domestic violence case dropped?

The majority of domestic violence cases are settled or dismissed outside of court. Domestic violence attorneys can apply for withdrawal of the case through an advocate. Along with the application, an affidavit will be filed mentioning the reason for withdrawal, and that will need to be approved by a judge. 

What is a qualifying domestic violence misdemeanor?

A qualifying domestic violence misdemeanor is generally a crime committed by an intimate partner, parent, or guardian of the victim that required the use, or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon.

Who is an Intimate Partner?

Couple arguing

Domestic violence law stipulates that an intimate partner is a spouse, a former spouse, a person who shares a child in common with the victim, or a person who cohabits or has cohabited with the victim.

What Happens After an Accuser Files a Petition for an Injunction?

Once an accuser files a petition for an injunction, the judge could:

  • Grant a preliminary injunction that will remain valid until a full hearing on the petition takes place within 15 days
  • Setting a hearing without granting a preliminary injunction
  • Deny the petition

If a judge denies your petition, he or she must state the reasons for the denial, and then the accuser will have the opportunity to file a supplemental petition with the court. At the hearing, the judge will hear arguments and review evidence then decide whether to issue a final injunction.

How are domestic abuse cases handled in court?

Domestic abuse cases are handled in three ways. Criminal courts prosecute the abuser for abuse of an intimate partner, violation of a protection order, elder abuse, murder, rape, assault, kidnapping, false imprisonment, property destruction, vandalism, trespassing, stalking, unlawful possession or concealment of a weapon, intimidating a witness, sexual assault, and more. 

Civil courts address violations of protection orders, personal injury lawsuits for those who want to sue for money damages, and other civil lawsuits like sexual harassment.  Family courts will also examine family violence during divorce proceedings and abuse could be a factor in limiting or prohibiting the abuser’s rights to child custody or visitation privileges.

How long is the statute of limitations on domestic violence in Florida?

Florida’s law sets time limits for a host of specific crimes depending on the crime. If you want more specific information about the nuances of each statute of the law then contact a professional domestic violence defense lawyer. 

There is no statute of limitations on the following types of domestic violence cases: 

  • Sex offenses against minors
  • Crimes involving DNA evidence gathered during the original investigation at the scene including aggravated or felony battery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, sexual battery, burglary, robbery, and aggravated child abuse
  • Murder or attempted murder, vehicular homicide, and manslaughter
  • First or second-degree felony sexual battery reported to law enforcement within 72 hours
  • Human or sex trafficking charges

Orlando Domestic Violence Lawyer

Domestic violence is a serious accusation and can be potentially devastating for the accused.  There are numerous defenses and litigation strategies that can be used to avoid a conviction, and law experts suggest consulting with an experienced attorney before attempting to resolve your case.

If you have been accused of domestic violence, contact Parikh Law to discuss your legal options.