Understanding Florida Domestic Violence Laws
Domestic violence hotlines across the nation receive a massive 20,000 calls per day according to studies. While domestic violence is against the law in Florida, the nature of the crime makes it hard to tell if an accusation of abuse is legitimate or not. False accusations are relatively common, and frequently arise when the parties are also involved in a divorce, and one party attempts to support a domestic violence claim to gain an upper hand in the divorce proceedings.
If a claim is legitimate, domestic violence charges can result in serious consequences. This means that if you are facing allegations of domestic violence, you need to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your attorney can determine a strategy for the specific facts of your case and ensure you the best possible outcome.
What is Domestic Violence?
Florida defines domestic violence to include a variety of related crimes including battery, assault, kidnapping, stalking, and sex crimes. The most common domestic violence allegations usually include assault and/or battery charges. Battery is the non-consensual and intentional touching of a person that is meant to cause them harm. Assault is the unlawful and intentional threat to commit an act of violence against another person. The violence doesn’t actually have to be carried out for it to be a crime. Although assault and battery can be charged as criminal offenses regardless of the relationship of the parties involved, they will likely be filed as domestic violence charges if the parties are involved in certain kinds of relationships.
Consequences of Domestic Violence Convictions
The consequences for domestic violence, just like other crimes, is dependent on the severity of the crime charged. These crimes may be considered a felony or a misdemeanor. For example, if a person commits assault, which include credible threats but no actual physical contact with the victim, they will likely face misdemeanor charges. However, if they physically assault the victim or have a history of other violent crimes, it could be charged as a felony.
Sentencing for assault and/or battery may range from pretrial diversion or probation, to up to fifteen (15) years in jail for more serious crimes. A victim of domestic violence may also obtain a restraining order, or an injunction, so the party accused of domestic violence can no longer be near them or certain locations. If the accused has children with the victim, they may lose some access to their children or not be able to see them at all.
Domestic Violence Defenses
Like many other crimes, there are possible defenses to domestic violence. In the case of domestic violence, it may be possible to argue that the victim made a false claim against the defendant.
Another potential defense for domestic violence is self-defense. While you aren’t allowed to hit another person, you do have the right to defend yourself or those around you. If the victim was hitting you or a child, for example, you would have the right to defend you or the child. In all defense strategies, your attorney will base their strategy on the facts of your case, so it is important to be honest with them.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you are facing allegations of domestic violence, contact the Orlando criminal defense attorneys at O’Mara Law Group today. We will discuss the charges against you and develop the best possible defense strategy for your situation. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.