Domestic Violence Attorney in Orlando
Whether or not you are guilty of a domestic violence crime, simply being charged with this violent crime will have immediate consequences on your personal and family life. The moment someone is arrested for domestic violence, they are usually issued a no-contact/no-return order at the jail. This means that the arrested individual will not be able to have any form of communication (including texting, calling, or even have a friend pass a message) to the alleged victim. It also means that the arrested individual cannot return to the address where the incident happened.
All too often, someone calls the police during a domestic argument and an individual is arrested even if the argument was relatively innocent. This person then goes to jail, has to pay a bond to be released, cannot go home, and cannot contact their spouse or partner (the alleged victim). The only way to fix these things is to contact an experienced and qualified domestic violence defense attorney who can file a motion to modify the no contact and no return order and who can speak to the alleged victim to see if they want to prosecute or not. Your attorney should also contact the prosecutor in charge of your case and directly begin negotiating with them to ease the restrictions on you.
Attorney Rahul Parikh is a former domestic violence prosecutor in Orange and Osceola counties. He understands the inner workings of the prosecutor’s special domestic violence units, how cops view domestic violence, and what the public policies are for this charge. Being convicted of the charge is much worse than just being arrested and charged. If you are convicted, you could face huge fines, prison time, a mandatory 26-week Batterer’s Intervention Class, and restrictions about when and where you can see your family. And you will have a permanent violent criminal history which can affect employment, housing, higher education, military enlistment, and other future endeavors.
Domestic violence is a highly politicized and very serious crime, and in some counties, there are special prosecutors designated to prosecute only related cases. Domestic violence battery is an unlawful touching or striking of a person classified by statute as a family or household member.
These people could include:
- Individuals related by blood or marriage
- Individuals living together as a family unit
- People who resided together as a family in the past
- People who have a child in common, regardless of a current or prior marriage
If you are convicted of domestic violence battery, you could face either a misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on how serious the victim’s injuries were and whether or not a weapon was used.
You could face:
- First-degree misdemeanor: up to 12 months in jail or 12 months on probation with a fine of up to $1,000
- Third-degree felony: up to 5 years in prison or 5 years on probation with a fine of up to $5,000
On top of the traditional and specific punishments imposed on crimes that are deemed to be domestic in nature, a domestic charge can’t be sealed or expunged. You will forever have a permanent violent criminal history, and you will lose your civil rights to vote, carry a firearm, run for office, and more. Make sure you speak with an Orlando criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
With the ramifications of a conviction for domestic violence so severe, no one should ever face this charge without the help of a qualified criminal defense attorney. On top of the traditional and specific punishments imposed on crimes that are deemed to be ‘domestic’ in nature, a domestic charge cannot be sealed or expunged if the charge is a felony.
That means that if you plead to certain domestic violence charges, regardless of if you get a withhold of adjudication or not, you will forever have a permanent violent criminal history. If the crime is considered a felony and you are adjudicated guilty, you will lose your civil rights to vote, carry a firearm, run for office, and more. A violent criminal history will affect employment applications, career opportunities, security clearances, college applications, and other matters in their personal and professional lives. Therefore, it is very important to speak to a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Time is of the essence when it comes to a domestic violence charge, as strategically, your defense attorney needs to act fast in moving the direction of your case toward a dismissal by conducting very specific actions. These actions can only be taken at the beginning of your case, after your arrest but before you are formally charged by the state.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there Defenses to the charge of Domestic Violence Battery?
Yes. Domestic Violence Battery is one of the most defensible charges in all of Florida. Due to the severity of the mandatory punishments associated with the charge, you should NEVER plea to the charge without first calling a qualified criminal defense attorney, and preferably one who is a former Domestic Violence prosecutor.
Some major defenses to the crime include a factual dispute about what actually happened, that the victim has no injuries, that the victim is vindictive or motivated for some reason to see the accused jailed, that the battery was in fact in self-defense, in defense of others, in defense of property, or was mutual combat, as well as many others.
What if my spouse/the alleged victim does not want to prosecute me?
Although state prosecutors do take the opinion of the alleged victim into account, at the end of the day, it is the prosecutor’s decision on how to move forward with a case. Domestic violence is a very politized issue, and most state attorney offices are aware of this. No state attorney running for re-election wants to look “weak” on domestic violence. Therefore, special units exist to prosecute these cases and there is internal pressure on these prosecutors to push cases forward. This means that even if your wife or husband does NOT want you to be charged with a crime, the prosecutors may move forward without their cooperation anyway.
What are some defense strategies that we can use?
Each criminal case is unique, and domestic crimes are no different. The defense strategy for your case will depend on the facts of your case and the dynamics regarding the relationship between the alleged victim and the accused. Some strategies include Early Negotiation, Contacting the Alleged Victim and discussing the case with them to see what their true motivations are, addressing the no-contact order in cases where the alleged victim wants to have contact with his or her spouse or family member, seeking voluntary help if the accused actually does have an anger or domestic violence tendency, pre-trial motions to attack the state’s case for lack of evidence or unlawfully obtained evidence, seeking a diversion program for a first time offender on a non-serious case, and overall preparing the case for trial through evidence and testimony of the witnesses.
Attorney Rahul Parikh is a former Special Prosecutor in the 9th Judicial Circuit’s Domestic Violence Unit. He has handled countless domestic violence cases from both sides.
As a defense attorney, the vast majority of the domestic violence cases that he has handled ended in dismissals or acquittals.
Given the severe penalties for domestic violence and the complex and politized nature of using defenses to the charge, the importance of representation by an attorney cannot be overstated. If you or a loved one has been accused of Domestic Violence, contact Parikh Law, P.A. at 321-558-2704 for a free consultation and strategy session.