What is Domestic Violence?

According to Florida statute, domestic violence is defined as “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.”

Contrary to what many people think, domestic abuse isn’t solely between spouses or those in relationships. It can involve family members or others in the same household. It can also involve those you may have had a relationship with or other personal ties to.

Household members can include people related by blood, people living together even if not in a relationship or directly related, or people that share a child together whether they are living together presently or not.

Who Gets Arrested if Police Are Called?

If someone feels they are in danger and contact the police to report suspected domestic violence, the police typically have discretion as to who, if anyone, will be arrested. According to Florida statute, a law enforcement officer that responds to a domestic violence call is required to administer aid to the victim if necessary, make them aware of safe options should they need refuge, let the parties know of their legal options, and complete an investigation of the events that occurred leading up to the call or complaint.

Whether or not the office makes an arrest, they must file a police report discussing the events and how they proceeded.

In many cases, a loved one will find themselves in a domestic violence situation, call for police assistance, and then request that their loved one not be arrested immediately. The police officer has discretion as to whether or not to arrest the alleged aggressor or provide options for safety and legal options, or other remedies and leave the scene.

What is a Stayaway Order?

A stayaway order is typical in domestic violence cases and orders someone not to go within a certain distance of another person or place to protect the alleged victim. Stayaway orders may also include other family members, such as children.

A stayaway order is typically issued as a condition of release for those arrested for domestic violence. Ignoring the stayaway order can result in severe consequences.

In some cases, family members or the alleged victim may request for the stayaway order to be revised or lifted, so they can allow that person to see family members such as children or themselves.

It is crucial to work with an experienced attorney who can help guide you through the process and ensure that you have the best chance at having contact with your family member if that is reasonable. You may also want to discuss ways to avoid inadvertently finding yourself in violation of the stayaway order.

What is a Typical Punishment for Domestic Violence?

Punishment for domestic violence can vary greatly depending on the circumstances. Charges can result in felonies or misdemeanors, both of which can have significant consequences.

Typical misdemeanor punishments include up to one year in jail, one year of probation, a $1,000 fine, stayaway orders, and more. In some cases, a ten-day sentence may be required for the first offense if the victim suffered bodily injury. If the offender is charged a second or third time, this mandatory sentence is elongated respectively.

What Other Ways Can Domestic Violence Charges Affect My Life?

Aside from the charges and legal punishments that you may be susceptible to, there are other ways that a domestic violence charge or record can affect your life.

Once the charges are on your record, they can affect your ability to get a new job, attend the school of your choice, or be affiliated with specific churches, schools, or other places that work with children.

Immigration opportunities can be affected due to a domestic violence charge, and military applications can be denied, active duty can be jeopardized due to charges, and more.

Child custody issues can arise following a domestic violence charge or, once on your record, can affect future child custody arrangements.

You may also lose your right to carry or own firearms for a certain period of time.

Due to the reason above, it is crucial to avoid domestic violence charges through the help of a skilled attorney. If you are found guilty of domestic violence charges, you can promptly discuss if and how you can get your records sealed or charges expunged so they have less of an impact on your future opportunities.

How Can An Attorney Help Me?

A criminal defense attorney can assist you significantly with domestic violence charges or suspicion. They are trained to handle local laws specific to domestic violence and can help guide you through the process with fierce determination for a reasonable outcome.

A common defense strategy to domestic violence suspicion or charges is self-defense or lack of evidence. If proven, you have an opportunity to lessen or eradicate serious allegations or charges that could affect your future for years to come.

With years of experience and a relentless determination for our clients, we are an invaluable resource to you during this challenging time.

Contact our office at (305) 204-5000 to confidentially discuss your specific questions and learn how our team can best assist you moving forward.