Domestic violence involves controlling behaviors, whether actual violence or threats of violence, used by one person over another person with whom they have an intimate relationship in order to control the other’s activity. There are many behaviors that constitute domestic violence. In Florida, domestic violence includes specific kinds of violence perpetrated against a family or household member. If you were charged with an offense of this nature, an experienced Fort Lauderdale domestic violence attorney at The Hoffman Firm can advise you of your legal rights and options.Domestic Violence
Crimes that may count as domestic violence in Broward County include battery, aggravated battery, assault, aggravated assault, sexual battery, kidnapping, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping and other crimes. A prosecutor would treat any of these crimes as domestic violence where there is a family or household relationship between the perpetrator and the victim. Family or household relationships include spouses, exes, those who live together like a family, those who previously lived together like family, people related by marriage or blood, and those who are co-parenting a child together. Unless the relationship is a co-parenting relationship, the law requires that family or household members be living together in a single dwelling unit or that they did so in the past for a crime to constitute domestic violence.
The specific circumstances of the violence or threats will determine the criminal offense charged. For example, if your husband threatened to kill you while waving a gun, this may be aggravated assault. On the other hand, if he actually hit and raped you, the prosecutor may pursue aggravated battery and sexual battery charges. If an offense like assault or battery is aggravated, a felony charge is likely to be pursued. This means the punishment will be harsher.Penalties
In Florida, if you’re charged with domestic violence, the minimum punishment includes five days of incarceration. You may also be sentenced to time in state prison. There may be probation or community service ordered. A seasoned domestic violence lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can help you understand the potential outcomes in your case.
Whether you’re charged with a misdemeanor or felony, and the degree of the charge, can have a big impact on your sentence. Misdemeanors are usually punished with 60 days to one year in jail. However, if you’re charged with a second-degree felony, you could be imprisoned for up to 15 years.
There are other mandatory penalties for domestic violence. The court may impose an injunction or no contact order; this can present issues if you are living with or co-parenting with the victim. You may need to participate in a batterers’ intervention program, go through 12 months of probation, and community service. You may lose your right to concealed carry.
A victim of domestic violence can also petition for an injunction or restraining order. If you violate the restraining order, you can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. A first-degree misdemeanor can result in a sentence of imprisonment for a maximum of a year.Defenses
You should not assume a conviction for domestic violence is assured simply because you’ve been charged. An experienced Fort Lauderdale domestic violence attorney will look closely at your situation and determine what would be the strongest defense strategy. Often domestic violence allegations arise in the heat of the moment. There may be differences in accounts about what happened. If there are no injuries, it may be possible to negotiate a plea deal for a lesser charge or possibly even a dismissal. Sometimes the victim is not credible, or his or her claims may seem to be based on revenge. It may be appropriate to raise a Stand Your Ground defense in some circumstances. Domestic violence charges may arise in connection with someone defending herself or defending others. They could also arise in connection with defending property.Consult an Experienced Domestic Violence Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale
Domestic violence is a serious charge. It is up to the prosecutor, not the victim whether you are charged. However, there may be strong defenses available. Consult The Hoffman Firm if you were charged with domestic violence in Davie, Plantation, Deerfield Beach, Pembroke Pines, Sunrise or Fort Lauderdale. We can be reached at (954) 524-4474 or through our online form for a free, confidential consultation.