Domestic Violence - Melzer and Bell (2023)

Domestic violence is a specific type of aggression that occurs between family members or members of a household. Violence between people who share a common home can often be confusing and evoke complex emotions. Therefore, it is sometimes better to hire a professional litigator to resolve these issues.

If you are accused of domestic violence, you should consult an experienced criminal lawyer. Domestic violence is a serious crime that can result in criminal penalties, destruction of your personal and professional reputation, and even imprisonment in serious cases. A competent criminal justice attorney can help you navigate the legal landscape of domestic violence cases to ensure your procedural rights are protected and you get the best possible legal outcome from the case.

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In the state of Florida, domestic violence is taken very seriously in civil and criminal courts. Domestic violence is such a morally charged issue that many judges and juries seek to use the maximum sentence as a means of maintaining an ethical stance. No crime case is completely black and white, and all are nuanced, despite public enthusiasm to the contrary. Without someone on your side in court, you could be charged and face a criminal conviction.

domestic violencelegal definition

Florida Statute 741.28 defines domestic violence as “assault, aggravated assault, assault, aggravated assault, sexual assault, sexual assault, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any offense that results in physical injury or death to a family member or family member. of the family by another family member or household”.

In this section, the term "family member" may include spouses, former spouses, blood or marital relatives, people who live or have lived together as a family, and people who have a child together, regardless of marriage. Except for those who have a child together, "relatives" in this context must be living together or have lived together.

Below is a list of various acts that may be considered domestic violence under Florida law.

Acts that may be considered domestic violence

Florida distinguishes between ten specific crimes and a general category that can be considered domestic violence when committed against a family or family member. Each type of crime carries a different burden based on its severity and history.

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Attack:Assault means intentionally threatening someone with violence when you have the power to commit the violence and the victim has reason to believe that you will. You can be charged and convicted of assault even if you don't physically hurt anyone. Assault is a second-degree misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of 60 days and a fine of up to $500.

Serious Bodily Injury:Aggravated Assault is assault that involves the use of a deadly weapon with the intent to inflict injury. Aggravated Assault is usually charged with a third degree felony and carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Again, you don't have to physically harm someone to be convicted of aggravated assault. The realistic threat of violence with a deadly weapon alone is enough.

Drums:"Assault" and "battery" are often used interchangeably, but they are different crimes. Battery involves touching or causing bodily harm to another person. The simple act of touching someone without hurting them can be considered aggression, like pushing someone without hurting them. Domestic violence by assault is generally considered a first-degree misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of 1 year in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Domestic Strangulation Assault: Florida is creating a special event to get you under the criminal assault umbrella. If someone intentionally strangles or blocks the airflow of a household or family member, they may be charged with third-degree battery domestic strangulation. The maximum penalty is five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Serious Bodily Injury:In grievous bodily harm, another person is seriously injured or disfigured with a life-threatening weapon. Aggravated assault is classified as a second-degree felony and carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

sexual assault:According to Florida law, sexual assault is sexual penetration without consent. Unwanted penetration may involve genitals or other objects. Sexual assault is considered a first-degree felony and carries a maximum sentence of 30 years and a fine of $10,000. If the alleged instigator threatens to use a weapon or seriously injure the victim, he or she could face life in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

Persecution:Under Florida law, stalking includes behavior in real life and online. Stalking can include showing up unannounced at a person's place of business or residence. This could include excessive emailing, tagging in social media posts, or any other type of behavior that could be considered harassment. Stalking charges carry a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.

Serious Harassment:Serious stalking is when someone credibly threatens another person while stalking them. For example, if a person stalks another and threatens to kill him because he is dating someone else, this could be considered aggravated stalking. Stalking is considered a third-degree felony and carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.

Fake Arrest:When it comes to domestic violence cases, false arrest generally covers cases where a person is held against their will. For example, a person who locks their partner in a room and denies others access to the phone could be considered domestic violence with false imprisonment. A false imprisonment charge is a third degree felony and you can receive up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

seizure:A domestic violence abduction is a person who holds a family member or household member against their will with the intent to commit a crime, inflicting physical violence on them or terrorizing them. Kidnapping is a first-degree felony and carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

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Other infractions:Florida law has a special section in the legal definition that covers "any crime that results in bodily harm or death to a family or family member by another family or family member." This is a complete definition and can cover many types of behavior.

Domestic violence charges are divided into four degrees: first, second, third, and fourth degree. First degree domestic violence charges are the most serious and are second degree felonies. The maximum penalty is 15 years (minimum 5) years imprisonment. First-degree domestic violence resulting in grievous bodily harm carries a maximum of 30 years in prison (minimum 10) without parole until 85% of the sentence has been served.

Second degree domestic battery is considered a Class D felony and carries a penalty of up to 7 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. Third degree domestic battery is a Class E felony and can result in up to 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Fourth degree domestic battery is generally charged as a Class A misdemeanor and carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000. Regardless of the level of domestic violence you are accused of, a lawyer can help ensure you get the best possible legal outcome.

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Consequences of a conviction for domestic violence

A conviction for domestic violence can have a number of negative consequences. In addition to jail time and fines, individuals convicted of domestic violence may be forced to obey a restraining order or may be required to take batterer intervention courses. Someone guilty of domestic violence may also be asked to pay damages for attorney fees and pain/suffering. A person convicted of domestic violence by an ex-spouse may lose custody of all of their children.

A conviction for domestic violence can also have various social consequences. Your reputation could be destroyed and you could even lose your job. It's a lot harder to find a job when you have a criminal conviction on your record. A domestic violence conviction can also affect your ability to obtain certain professional licenses, prevent you from owning a gun, or even show up on your credit score. Added to this is the social stigmatization of people convicted of domestic violence. It can have serious negative effects on your social life and mental well-being.

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For this reason, once again, finding a qualified criminal defense attorney is imperative when you are arrested and charged with domestic violence. Working with an experienced attorney can reduce your fees or, in some cases, eliminate them altogether. A competent Florida attorney knows how to navigate the legal landscape to provide the unrivaled defense you need.

Florida protective order

In addition to possible criminal charges, a suspected victim of domestic violence may also apply for a court protection order, commonly called an injunction. The issuance of this protection order is a civil matter and independent of criminal proceedings. Therefore, the burden of proof that the whistleblower must meet is of a lower standard than beyond a reasonable doubt and falls on the overwhelming evidence standard.

Protective orders can still be a serious matter and include losing custody or visitation rights for children, restricting access to a shared home, or limiting the possession of firearms. Violation of a protective order is itself a serious violation and can result in severe penalties and fines.

How can a domestic violence lawyer help me?

A licensed attorney can help you use various legal strategies to mitigate your charges, reduce your sentence for the charges, prevail in court, or drop the charges entirely. Here are some strategies your Florida domestic violence attorney can use to help your case.

  • Talk to the alleged victim and decide if he wants to drop the charges. The victim may be asked to write a statement explaining their decision to drop the charges.
  • Argue your case in court. In US criminal cases, prosecutors must prove their guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt", which is a high standard that must be met. A competent criminal defense attorney can help crack prosecutors' cases so they don't meet this standard.
  • A lawyer can help separate fact from fiction regarding witness statements and eyewitness accounts. A lawyer may argue that there is no evidence of injury or say that you acted in self-defense.
  • A competent lawyer also knows the contours of work in a given region. For example, a local Florida attorney sees the DA's office and the judges working the case, making it more likely that they will work with them to resolve an issue in the best interest of both legal parties.
  • An attorney can work out a favorable plea agreement that may result in your charge being reduced or reduced from felony to misdemeanor. They can also mitigate actual sentences, such as suspended sentences instead of prison terms.

In any case, a competent lawyer will ensure that your entire case and your substantive rights are protected at all stages of the criminal proceedings. You have the right to defend your case in court and you have the right to confront your accuser and reject any unfounded allegations. Here at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. works tirelessly around the clock to build the strong defenses you need to fight a domestic violence charge in court, and we can help you explore all other legal avenues to resolve the dispute. If you are accused of domestic violence, time is of the essence and you must act quickly. Call us today at(754) 755-8554to make an appointment.

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