IF YOU’RE FACING A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGE IN TAMPA LET A CRIMINAL LAWYER FIGHT FOR YOU
In Florida, if you are convicted of a crime of domestic violence, you will face severe penalties and long-term consequences. Domestic violence is a threat to many Florida families, but what if a person who’s accused of the crime is not guilty – or is the victim of a fabricated allegation?
If you’re wrongly accused of a domestic violence crime, can you fight the accusation, avoid a criminal conviction, and hold onto your good reputation? If you keep reading, you’ll find some answers in this brief look at domestic violence crimes in Florida.
Unfortunately, for many people, the legal punishment for a crime of domestic violence may not sting as much as the responses and attitudes of family members, neighbors, and friends.
WHO FABRICATES DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ALLEGATIONS? AND WHY?
Fabricated charges of domestic violence are concocted with all kinds of motives. An ex-spouse may be seeking an edge in a custody battle, or a teen might lie out of resentment toward a stepparent. Sometimes, false domestic violence charges are made for no apparent reason at all.
Nevertheless, prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement officers must handle domestic violence claims seriously. If they don’t, the result can be a genuine tragedy. That’s happened more than once in Florida, and that’s why the penalties for a domestic violence conviction are so severe.
HOW DOES STATE LAW DEFINE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CRIMES?
Florida defines domestic violence as an assault, aggravated assault, battery, felony battery, aggravated battery, stalking, sexual assault, kidnapping, or other violent crime that causes the death or injury of a family or household member by another family or household member.
Florida’s criminal courts deal aggressively with all assault and battery crimes, but if one or both crimes is part of a domestic violence accusation, and the defendant is convicted, the penalties will be even more severe.
FLORIDA LAW DETERMINES WHO IS A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIM
Florida law defines household and family members as:
- the married or unmarried parents of one or more children
- wives, ex-wives, husbands, and ex-husbands
- persons who live together or who have lived together as a family
- persons who are related by marriage or blood
If you’re wrongly accused of committing a domestic violence crime in Florida, it is important to understand that emotions and prejudices may influence witnesses, jurors, and others who are involved in the case.
HOW ARE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CRIMES PENALIZED?
Florida statutes require anyone convicted of a domestic violence crime involving bodily injury to serve at least five days in jail along with any other penalty. A conviction for a crime of domestic violence may also be penalized with a lengthier jail or prison term, a fine, probation, and community service.
Should you be named as the subject of a restraining order, a violation of that order will be prosecuted as a first-degree misdemeanor, and a conviction is punishable with a one-year jail term.
Can you effectively dispute a phony charge of domestic violence? With a good lawyer’s help, the answer is yes. Remember that to win a conviction against you, a prosecutor must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
If an allegation is phony, “proving” it is “true” will probably be an insurmountable task for the prosecution. In other circumstances, your defense lawyer may recommend using self-defense, the defense of others, Stand Your Ground, or the defense of your property as your legal defense strategy.
After examining the charge and the evidence against you, your attorney will develop a defense strategy that is both effective and appropriate. If you are innocent, tell your attorney to seek a dismissal of the charge – or to ask jurors for a not guilty verdict if the case goes to trial.
If the prosecution’s evidence against you is strong, your defense lawyer may recommend enrolling voluntarily in an anger management or violence prevention program – and demonstrating to the judge that you’re serious about resolving the charge against you.
IF YOU’RE FALSELY ACCUSED OF A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CRIME
If you’re falsely accused of a domestic violence crime, you will have to make some important choices. The following suggestions may help:
- Especially while the case is pending, do not confront your accuser. If you must communicate, get your lawyer’s advice first.
- Avoid social media sites like Instagram and Facebook. Anything you post might be distorted or misinterpreted and used against you.
- Tell your defense attorney if you know potential witnesses who can testify about your character or about specific allegations.
Tampa domestic violence attorney Patrick B. Courtney has practiced law for more than 24 years. He is a former prosecutor who knows both sides of domestic violence cases. He represents clients in Sarasota, Polk, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, and Manatee counties.
To learn more, call Pat Courtney’s law offices at (813) 967-2000 or complete the brief contact form on this website.