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“The Cops Told Me That They Had To Arrest Someone…” “But Why Did They Have to Arrest Me!!!???”

07 July 2011

In Florida, when the police are called out to a domestic dispute, they have to arrest someone.  It’s just the way it is.  Since the police do not have any discretion, this often leads to false arrests or arrests for relatively minor incidents – for which you could have a valid defense.

A Domestic Violence criminal defense attorney will work hard to determine and develop a viable defense strategy to get your case dismissed.   I’m a former Miami-Dade Prosecutor and my team is comprised of experienced support staff and investigators.  I’ve handled countless cases just like yours. In fact, as a former Assistant State Attorney, I was responsible for training all prosecutors new to the domestic violence unit and helped write the Domestic Violence Training Manual which is still in use today to train new prosecutors.

My office will hold the State of Florida to its burden and vigorously attack the charges brought by the prosecutors.

Here are some important things you should know about your case:

  • The State of Florida can still try to prosecute you — even without the victim’s cooperation.  You see it’s the State, not the victim that is pressing charges against you
  • The State of Florida can introduce statements against you.  This is called an “excited utterance” or “spontaneous statement”
  • The State of Florida brings the charges against you — not the alleged victim
  • The State of Florida has the ability to bring the victim in – even if they don’t want to show up for court
  • The Judge is usually reluctant to lift or modify Stay Away Orders that prevent you from seeing your family and residing in your own home.

What sets a Domestic Violence criminal defense lawyer apart?

  • A Domestic Violence criminal defense lawyer can get your case dismissed
  • A Domestic Violence criminal defense lawyer can apply for depositions, or an opportunity to interview your accuser under oath before trial
  • A Domestic Violence criminal defense lawyer can get the judge to modify the stay away order that may be keeping you away from your home and from seeing your children
  • A Domestic Violence criminal defense lawyer knows how the State of Florida intends to build a case against you, and a Domestic Violence criminal defense lawyer knows exactly what to do to make it as difficult as possible for them to prove the charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt

Here are some important questions to ask yourself (and it’s not a bad idea to jot down notes to bring to your free initial interview):

  • Who started it?
  • Who called the police?
  • What statements were made?
  • Were there any witnesses?
  • Were there any injuries?
  • Were photographs taken?
  • How long did it take for the police to arrive?
  • Were you still on scene when the police arrived?
  • Was a weapon used?
  • Did you know the alleged victim was pregnant?
  • Is there a divorce or child custody hearing going on?
  • Did you recently break up with the alleged victim?
  • Did the alleged victim lie about her age?
  • And the list goes on and on….

I know the right questions to ask because I know what the prosecution is looking for when they’re investigating the charges against you.

Here’s what the Florida Legislature says about Domestic Violence:

Florida Statute 741.28 (2):  “Domestic violence” means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or  death of one family or household member by another family or household member.

What is a “Family or Household member?”   Florida Statute 741.28(3) says it means 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 a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married.  With exception of persons that have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit.

What does this mean for you?

Many times an individual is wrongly arrested on a domestic charge, because the officer doesn’t understand or wrongly interprets the legislature’s intent.  My office knows what is domestic and what is not.  If your case is in domestic violence court in error, I will make sure it goes to division court where it belongs and where the penalties are less severe.

What about a felony domestic case?

Remember Felony domestic charges cannot be expunged from your record.  A Domestic Violence criminal defense attorney can negotiate for a “breakdown” of the charges so you can expunge your record at the end of your case.  I have every angle covered.

Is Florida tough on Domestic Violence cases?

You bet.

In fact, Florida Statute 741.2901 states the State Attorney, Katherine Fernandez Rundle, shall develop special units or assign special prosecutors to specialize in the prosecution of domestic violence cases.  These prosecutors and their support staff shall receive training on domestic violence issues.  The statute goes on to say:  “The State Attorney, Katherine Fernandez Rundle, shall adopt a pro-prosecution policy for acts of domestic violence.”

In other words, the State of Florida is as tough as nails on domestic violence crimes and it adopts a pro-prosecution policy to get the job done.

But they can be beat.

Shouldn’t you have a Domestic Violence criminal defense lawyer on your side?

Let me put my knowledge and experience to work for you.

Don’t wait until charges are filed to contact us.  During the first 21 days after your arrest, the State of Florida is building a case against you.  During this “pre-file investigation” period, my office will get involved and will present arguments to influence the State of Florida’s filing decision.

Call now for a free consultation and in-depth review of the facts of your case.

Chad Piotrowski - post author

Chad Piotrowski is a criminal defense attorney in Miami, Florida. He is a former Miami-Dade Prosecutor and has practiced criminal law, exclusively, for more than 10 years.

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