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.
What Is Domestic Violence in Florida?
There is no single definitive answer to this question. Domestic violence can include physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse between current or former spouses or partners, family members, or roommates. Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, regardless of their age, gender identity, race, religion, or socioeconomic status.
In Florida, domestic violence is a crime. It can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony and can result in jail time, fines, and other penalties. If you are a victim of domestic violence, it is important you reach out for help. There are many resources available to you, including crisis hotlines, shelters, and support groups. You don’t have to face this alone.
Beware Minimum Mandatory Sentencing in Florida
Because of Florida’s minimum mandatory sentencing laws and increased concern for domestic violence, prosecutors in the state have become much more aggressive when it comes to filing charges and seeking convictions in these types of cases. If you have been accused of domestic violence, it is important to understand the specific laws in Florida and how they may apply to your case. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights.
Being convicted of a domestic violence charge can be devastating for your future, reputation, and prospects for employment. You could be required to serve a minimum sentence of one year of probation and enroll in a batterer’s intervention program, and at minimum, you could serve at least five days in county jail. There are many penalties associated with a domestic violence injunction, which is why legal representation is essential.
Contact the domestic violence defense lawyers at Parikh Law for a free case evaluation—we can go over the legal process together and compile evidence to build a strong case.
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 speaking up, 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 2020, 105,298 crimes of domestic violence were reported to Florida law enforcement agencies leading to 63,217 arrests. This is an increase in the number of crimes reported, while the number of arrests has dropped by almost 3,000 from one year to the next.
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. They rose again in 2020.
Florida’s certified domestic violence centers also provided the following services to domestic abuse victims in 2020:
- 412,360 nights of emergency shelter to 10,287 survivors of domestic violence and their children
- 150,799 customized safety plans provided a total of 191,451 hours of advocacy and counseling services
- 72,321 domestic violence hotline calls from individuals seeking emergency services, information, and safety planning assistance
Domestic Violence Crimes
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
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
- 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
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.
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
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.
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
You should never Have to live in fear due to an abusive partner. It is essential for your livelihood and your family to take a stand against domestic violence and any domestic violence accusations.
If you or someone you love is on the receiving end of domestic violence, then these questions could help prepare you for potentially bringing an injunction against your abuser. On the other hand, if you have fallen victim to false domestic violence accusations, then the questions may serve as a guide on how you can protect your rights:
Can you fight a domestic violence charge?
The repercussions of domestic violence allegations are severe. Not only are these extreme, but they also carry severe penalties. For these reasons, it will be in your best interest to defend yourself against any allegations or to advocate for consequences that bring more positive outcomes to the lives of those involved in instances of guilt.
You will need an impenetrable domestic violence defense, so it is crucial to have an experienced domestic violence lawyer working for you. Experienced domestic abuse attorneys have had success defending domestic violence cases by:
- Providing evidence that any injuries the victim acquired were an accident
- Proving that the injuries the victim suffered were not caused by the accused
- Showing proof that the accused was acting out in self-defense
- Bringing any false accusations to light
What is considered domestic violence in Florida?
According to Florida law, domestic violence is defined as any form of assault, sexual assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, or false imprisonment. This also includes any criminal offense resulting in either physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.
A wide range of behaviors that can encompass both physical and emotional abuse are included in the definition. If you are charged with domestic violence, that is a serious matter, and a conviction can have monumental consequences. These consequences include both jail time and a criminal record, interfering with your chances of getting any quality financing, or even building a social life.
What are the penalties for domestic violence in Florida?
Penalties for domestic violence depend on the severity of the crime. They can range from a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine to a felony punishable by up to life in prison.
In addition, those convicted of domestic violence may be subject to probation, community service, anger management counseling, or other rehabilitative programs. Working with Orlando domestic violence lawyers to appropriately handle your domestic violence charges in the Florida courts is essential to ensure that you can navigate this complicated matter.
Florida law understandably takes significant steps to protect any alleged victim, family, or household member from ongoing spousal abuse, aggravated battery, alleged violence, or anything considered domestic violence. Still, people may often be swept up in this process without getting a fair trial.
Your team at Parikh Law is ready to fight to ensure that your case is handled appropriately and that your rights are upheld every step of the way.
How long does a domestic violence case last?
There is no definitive time frame for a domestic violence case. A domestic violence case can be dragged out for years, depending on the specifics of that case. This is especially true regarding people ordered to participate in a batterer’s intervention program. The details of your case are not the only factor in the length of your case. The success of your domestic violence lawyer in negotiating with the prosecution is also a significant factor.
During your initial consultation with our experienced Orlando domestic violence attorneys, you will be encouraged to discuss the specifics of your domestic violence charge to understand your situation better. They can help you understand your legal options better and discuss how they can work together to reduce the severity of a domestic violence conviction or avoid one entirely.
Even though no two cases are the same, working with a lawyer who has a long history of experience in representing clients against domestic violence charges is an excellent way to get a better idea of what you can expect as you move forward with your case. They are there to help you understand how similar issues to yours are often handled.
How do I get a domestic violence case dropped?
In most cases, your domestic violence case will be settled outside of court. It may even be dismissed altogether. Through an advocate, a domestic violence attorney can file for a withdrawal of the case. An affidavit will need to be filed along with the application, mentioning the reason for withdrawal. This application will then go before a judge, where it must be approved.
What is a qualifying domestic violence misdemeanor?
A qualifying domestic violence misdemeanor is generally a crime that involves the use or attempted use of physical force on the victim. This can also be a threat to use a deadly weapon.
These crimes are typically committed by either a parent or guardian of the victim or an intimate partner associated with the victim. The crime does not always have to be saved to qualify as a domestic violence misdemeanor.
Who is an Intimate Partner?
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?
If you have had an accuser file a petition for injunction, you may have one of a few different things happen. Once a petition for a request is filed, the judge may decide to:
- Grant a preliminary injunction that will remain valid until a full hearing on the petition takes place, which must be within 15 days
- Choose not to grant a preliminary injunction but instead set a hearing first
- Deny the petition outright
If you have your petition denied for whatever reason, the judge must state the reasons for the petition being denied. The accuser can then file a supplemental petition through the court. The judge will hear both arguments and review any additional evidence at the hearing and decide whether a final injunction needs to be issued.
How are domestic abuse cases handled in court?
There are three possible ways to handle a domestic abuse case. The three ways are through criminal court, civil court, and family court
Criminal courts handle the prosecution of an abuser against their intimate partner. They also deal with protection orders and violations of those orders. Here are some other situations where your case would be handled in a criminal courtroom:
- Abuse of the elderly
- Rape cases
- Unlawful possession or concealment of a weapon
- False imprisonment
- Property damage
- Intimidating a witness
- Sexual assault
Civil courts deal with protection orders and other cases of that nature. They also handle personal injury claims when dealing with claims on monetary damages and civil lawsuits such as sexual harassment cases.
Family courts deal with cases involving family violence. This can be during divorce proceedings where abuse may be a factor in limiting or prohibiting the abuser’s visitation rights or child custody.
How long is the statute of limitations on domestic violence in Florida?
In Florida, the law sets a statute of limitations for specific crimes. This is a period in which you have to file your claim. The length of time granted will vary based on the severity of the crime committed. Contact a professional domestic violence defense lawyer if you would like more specific information about the nuances of each statute of the law in Florida.
The following types of domestic violence cases are the most egregious acts and do not come with any statute of limitations associated with them:
- Any sex offenses performed on or towards a minor
- 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
- manslaughter, murder, attempted murder, and vehicular homicide
- Any case of sexual battery that is either a first or second-degree felony. The crime needs to be reported to law enforcement within the first 72 hours
- Charges dealing with human or sex trafficking cases
Orlando Domestic Violence Lawyer
Domestic violence is a serious accusation and can be potentially devastating for the accused. Numerous defenses and litigation strategies can be used to avoid a conviction, and law experts suggest consulting with an experienced Orlando criminal defense attorney before attempting to resolve your case.
If you have been accused of domestic violence, contact Parikh Law to discuss your legal options.