Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer in Miami
Former Lead Attorney for the State Attorney’s Office, Domestic Violence Unit
Under Fla. Stat. § 741.28, “domestic violence” is any assault, battery, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, sexual battery, sexual assault, stalking, aggravated stalking, or kidnapping that leads to the physical injury or wrongful death of a household member or family member. “Household members” must live in the same dwelling or have lived in the same residence in the past. Parents who do not live together are an exception to this statute.
Domestic violence is a serious crime, but many accusations are false. In fact, researchers estimate that more than 700,000 people are wrongfully accused of and arrested for domestic violence every year in the United States. If convicted, defendants of domestic violence accusations will face serious – even life changing – consequences, such as fines, probation, and prison. A conviction can also threaten your right to child custody and visitation.
Why choose a former domestic violence prosecutor?
When it comes to finding the right defense attorney, you need someone with the right legal experience. At Parks & Braxton, PA, our team includes a former prosecutor from the domestic violence unit of the state attorney’s office. We know how the other side thinks. With this knowledge, our Miami domestic violence defense lawyers are ready to create a defense strategy designed to identify and exploit any weakness in the prosecutor’s case against you.
More reasons to hire Parks & Braxton, PA:
- More than 40 years of legal experience
- Free initial consultations with an attorney
- Available to take your call at any time
- Featured on NBC, ABC, Fox News, & more
Arrested? You’re facing serious legal penalties.
If you were arrested for domestic violence in Miami, you need the help of a skilled legal advocate to fight for your rights. At Parks & Braxton, PA, we have more than 40 years of experience in law. Let us put this knowledge to work for your defense.
Ready to speak with an attorney? Call our office today or fill out our free online case evaluation form.
Important Information about Domestic Violence Charges in Florida
- You can’t bond out of jail before your first hearing with a judge. After a domestic violence arrest, you cannot bond out of jail without seeing a judge first. During your first appearance, the judge will determine the terms and conditions that you must meet in order to be released.
- You may not be allowed to see the alleged victim after you’re released. This means that you may be not be able to go home after you are released from jail. This could also include no contact of any kind with your spouse /significant other or children. Only a qualified attorney can instigate a motion to reverse this decision.
- An arrest can impact future legal issues, such as divorce and child custody. If you and your spouse seek a divorce, a domestic violence charge or conviction can influence your settlement. Any testimony that you give during the case may be used against you in another hearing.
- A domestic violence charge can infringe on your legal rights. If you’re convicted of domestic violence, you could lose your right to own or operate a firearm, depending on the circumstances of your case. Additionally, you may not be able to seal your record if you plead guilty or no contest.
- The state attorney’s office, not the victim, will file charges against you. You might think that, after a domestic violence arrest, your spouse or significant other will pursue a conviction. This is not true. The state attorney’s office will prosecute you, and in some cases, without the alleged victim’s testimony.
What are the charges & penalties associated with domestic violence?
Under Florida law, domestic violence involves several types of charges. The most common domestic charge is simple battery. While this offense is a misdemeanor, it still carries harsh penalties, including one year of incarceration and up to $1,000 in fines. Severe forms of domestic violence, such as aggravated assault or felony battery, can lead to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.
Battery (Fla. Stat. § 784.03)
According to Florida law, battery occurs when an individual intentionally strikes the victim to cause injury or bodily harm. Simple battery is a first-degree misdemeanor offense, except for individuals who were convicted of one of the following offenses: battery, felony battery, or aggravated battery. Individuals with one of these prior convictions will face third degree felony charges. A misdemeanor battery conviction can involve the following penalties:
- One Year in Jail
- Fines (Up to $1,000)
- One Year of Probation
Felony Battery / Domestic Battery by Strangulation (Fla. Stat. § 784.041)
Under Florida statute § 784.041, an individual commits felony battery when he / she causes serious bodily harm or disfigurement by intentionally striking the victim against his / her will. Domestic battery by strangulation occurs when a person hinders the “normal breathing pattern” of the victim, creating the risk of injury or death. These offenses are punishable by up to five years in prison.
What is aggravated battery? (Fla. Sta. § 784.045)
Aggravated battery (Fla. Sta. § 784.045) is characterized by great bodily harm. In order to convict a domestic violence defendant of aggravated battery, the prosecution must demonstrate that the defendant knowingly caused the injury, permanent, or permanent disability. This is a second degree felony punishable by a $10,000 fine and 15 years in prison. Additional aggravating circumstances are:
- The use of a weapon
- Battery committed against a pregnant woman
False Imprisonment (Fla Sta. § 787.02)
False imprisonment is closely related to domestic violence, and refers to the following offenses:
(1)(a) The term “false imprisonment” means forcibly, by threat, or secretly confining, abducting, imprisoning, or restraining another person without lawful authority and against her or his will.
(b) Confinement of a child under the age of 13 is against her or his will within the meaning of this section if such confinement is without the consent of her or his parent or legal guardian.
In Florida, false imprisonment is a third degree felony, punishable by a$5,000 fine and five years in prison. If the victim is less than 13 years old and suffers physical pain or mental trauma, the offense is a first degree felony. First degree felonies are punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
“Dating Violence” Assault & Battery (Fla. Stat. § 784.046)
Florida law acknowledges a “dating violence,” a specific form of domestic violence described in Florida Statute § 784.046(1)(d). By law, dating violence refers to violence between partners in a continued relationship. Qualifications for a legal “dating relationship” include:
- The relationship must be intimate or romantic in nature
- The relationship must currently exist or have existed in the last six months
- The relationship must involve affection or a sexual relationship
- Interaction between the partners must be / have been on a continuing basis
Victims of alleged domestic violence can file injunctions (restraining orders.) With the help of an attorney, you can fight the injunction and maintain your rights. However, violating the terms of the injunction is a misdemeanor crime.
The Legal Process for Domestic Violence Charges
Domestic Violence Injunction
A domestic violence injunction is a type of restraining order specifically designed for situations involving violence against household members. If your spouse or significant other brings an injunction against you, our attorneys can help you contest it. Although an injunction is not the same as a criminal charge, it may impose certain restrictions on your freedom and rights. Additionally, you can face harsh penalties for violating the terms of the injunction. The effects of a domestic violence injunction could include:
- Restricts your ability to possess ammunition and weapons
- Is enforceable in all 50 states
- Limit your ability to see your children
- Require you to leave your home and pay child support
- Influence your ability to maintain professional licensing
- Keep you from applying to certain colleges and universities
First Appearance Hearing
If you were arrested for domestic violence, you will need to attend a first appearance haring. This will be your first court appearance after the arrest, and you cannot be released from jail before the hearing. At the hearing, the judge will issue a bond for your release. Additionally, your attorney can request contact with the alleged victim. If the judge denies this request, you may be prohibited from returning home after the hearing, even if you are released from jail.
Pre-Trial Intake Process
A skilled attorney can help you fight domestic violence charge before they are filed against you. During the pre-trial stage, investigators will gather as much information about your case as possible and verify information regarding your criminal history. Our attorneys can help you combat your domestic violence accusation, even before prosecutors file formal charges. Early involvement may prevent prosecutors from filing felony charges or lead to a case dismissal.
Post-Filing Legal Process
The post-filing legal process begins when prosecutors formally file charges against you. If your case is not dismissed, our legal team can construct a strong defense in your favor. During the legal process, we will strive for the best possible outcome to your case. Ideally, this is a case dismissal. Depending on the circumstances of your case, we may seek a lesser charge or sentence reduction instead, so that you have the option of sealing your record in the future.
Domestic Violence Defense Strategies
- Self Defense
Under the concept of “mutual combat,” a skilled legal advocate can argue that you did not attack the alleged victim, but that the violence was mutual. If both parties are willing participants in the incident, the prosecution does not have a valid case.
- Lack of Evidence
The prosecution can still file charges, even if the victim refuses to participate. However, it can be difficult to obtain a conviction if this is the prosecution’s only evidence. Prosecutors need additional evidence – photographs of physical injury, witness testimony, etc. – to create a case against you.
- Victim Participation
If the alleged victim recants his / her story, the state attorney’s office may have a difficulty bringing charges against you. Without this piece of evidence, prosecutors will have to find alternative evidence to convict you.
Contact Parks & Braxton, PA Today
If you were arrested for a domestic violence-related crime, call our office today to schedule your initial consultation. With more than 40 years of legal experience behind us, we are confident in our ability to fight for your rights and help pursue a favorable outcome to your case. When you work with us, our goal is simple: to help you avoid the consequences of a serious domestic violence conviction. We are available to help your clients 24/7, so call our office today for information about your legal options with our Miami domestic violence defense lawyers.