Domestic violence offenses are some of the most serious crimes you can face.
However, the allegations leading to these prosecutions are also often suspect.
By their very nature, domestic violence cases involve people with close relationships.
This means that interpersonal drama can play a significant role in a person’s decision to bring charges.
Florida Domestic Violence Laws
While most people understand that domestic violence offenses involve a crime committed against a friend or family member, state law has a very specific definition of “domestic violence.”
Essentially, a crime is only considered to be one of domestic violence if it is committed against a “family or household member.”
Florida Statutes section 741.28 defines family or household member as the following:
- Former spouses;
- People related by blood;
- People related by marriage;
- People who currently reside in the same home as part of a family;
- People who lived together at some point in the past as part of a family; and
- People who have a child together.
Additionally, only the following crimes can be domestic violence offenses:
- Aggravated assault,
- Aggravated battery,
- Sexual assault,
- Sexual battery,
- Aggravated stalking,
- False imprisonment, and
- Any other offense resulting in physical injury or death.
Domestic violence charges are especially serious. However, there are some common defenses to these allegations that can help you avoid the most serious consequences of a conviction.
Defenses to Florida Domestic Violence Offenses
The most common defenses to domestic violence charges involve challenging the credibility of the alleged victim. In every criminal case, there is more than one side to the story. This is particularly true in domestic violence cases.
The alleged victim’s story is often full of emotional storytelling and claims that cannot be proven or verified. The story of the accused is often quite different from the story of the alleged victim.
Many times a victim’s credibility can be challenged by inconsistent statements they made on the 911 call, or inconsistencies between what is alleged and a lack of visible injuries.
Another defense could involve self-defense or Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. In many cases of domestic violence, police do not arrest the initial aggressor.
Instead, they mistakenly arrest the person who was attacked because they took action to defend themselves. If the alleged victim was actually the initial aggressor in your case, you may be able to argue self-defense or Stand Your Ground.
How will a judge or jury be able to tell what happened or who they should believe in these situations? This is where an experienced criminal defense attorney can be of immeasurable value.
They know how to expose alleged victims’ inconsistencies or biases, and give you the best shot at dismissal, a lowering of the charges, a good plea bargain, or an acquittal at trial.
Punishments for Florida Domestic Violence Crimes
The punishment for a domestic violence crime depends on the underlying offense. For example, a conviction for domestic violence based on a sexual assault is more serious than a conviction based on a battery.
However, generally speaking, a conviction for a domestic violence offense is more serious than if the same crime was committed against a stranger. For example, certain domestic violence offenses carry mandatory jail time, even for a first offense.
In addition, anyone convicted of a domestic violence offense must complete a Batterer’s Intervention Program. Also, the judge may be required to order a minimum term of probation.
Contact an Experienced Florida Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer Today
If you face allegations of domestic violence, you need an attorney who is prepared to meet the prosecution head-on. At Orlando Defense, our aggressive Florida criminal defense attorney zealously defends clients charged with all types of crimes, including domestic violence crimes.
Since 1998, Orlando Defense has offered comprehensive representation to individuals from all walks of life, helping them move past the allegations with as little negative impact on their future as possible.
To learn more and to schedule a free consultation, contact Orlando Defense at 407-753-1126 today. You can also contact us through our online form.