When Police Are Called To The Scene Of An Alleged Domestic Violence Incident, Is An Arrest Generally Always Made?
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In a domestic violence call, what normally comes through to dispatch is that a disturbance has occurred. When the officers arrive, all they will know is that there is some disturbance and in the state of Florida, probable cause for an arrest can be based solely on someone’s statement. As long as someone under oath says something has happened, that is all that the officer needs to make an arrest. An officer will take someone’s word even if there is no physical evidence or anything else concrete backing-it-up. What generally happens in the domestic violence setting is that one of the spouses says under oath that something happened. Once that occurs, the officers will make an arrest. It does not matter if there are no physical signs of injury or other evidence.
I’ve Just Been Arrested On Charges Related To Domestic Violence. What Exactly Am I Being Charged With?
At its core, domestic violence is battery or assault. The reason that they call it a domestic violence is because of the relationship between the two people who are involved in the case. The reason it is enhanced is because of the relationship between the parties meeting a statutory requirement. That requirement is usually as benign as residing together as a family unit. What that means is that you do not have to be married to be charged with domestic violence; you can be simply dating or even family members. That is enough to have the officers enhance the underlying battery to domestic violence.
Are Domestic Violence Charges Generally Misdemeanor Or Felony Charges And What Determines That Level Of Charge?
Domestic violence charges are generally misdemeanor charges but they most certainly can be felony charges. What determines the level of charge is what the allegation actually is. If the allegation is that someone hit, kicked, or struck another person, that is generally a misdemeanor. It can be enhanced to a felony, if there is strangulation involved or if an item is used as a weapon. If there is great bodily harm done to another person, that could be enhanced to a felony. It all depends on what the allegations are.
Is An Order Of Protection Or A Restraining Order Automatically Put Into Place When Someone Is Charged In A Domestic Violence Case?
A domestic violence injunction is a completely separate case from the criminal domestic violence charge. What normally happens is law enforcement officers are required to inform the alleged victim of these injunctions. They actually give them paperwork and then tell them how to fill it out. They most certainly encourage the alleged victim to go get an injunction. More and more of domestic violence cases involve domestic violence injunctions. It is something that law enforcement and the court pushes the alleged victim into getting, whether or not they are even an alleged victim and whether or not they really need or want the injunction.
I’m Facing Domestic Violence Related Charges. Can I Still Be In Touch With My Children?
After you are arrested and you bond out, there is most likely going to be a no-contact order with the alleged victim. That does not mean that you have no contact with your children. You can most certainly have contact with your children, as long as the court allows it. It is very important to have a lawyer involved in the case early on. Your lawyer can discuss contact with your children with the court. You may not have the permission to contact whoever your partner is but contacting your children is still open. If, for whatever reason, the court says you cannot have contact with your children, then you need a lawyer to file a motion to modify the conditions of your bond.
The Alleged Victim Has Changed His Or Her Story And Does Not Want To Proceed With The Case Against Me. Will The Prosecutor Automatically Drop The Case?
When someone changes their story or decides not to move forward with the case, prosecutors are extremely reluctant to actually dismiss your case. The reason is that there is a lot of national attention on domestic violence and there is pressure from all legislators to prosecute these cases to the fullest. The problem is not every domestic violence case is what they say it is in the media. Prosecutors do not have the luxury to just dismiss the case because the alleged victim wants to. They have people above them who will make sure that they move forward in the case. You need a lawyer who is going to be working with the prosecutor to make sure that the case gets dismissed and if it is not dismissed, to make sure that your rights are fully upheld in the case.
How Does A Prior Record Of Convictions For Assault, Battery, Or Domestic Violence Impact A Current Charge In Florida?
If you have a previous battery, any battery that you are arrested for in the future can be enhanced to a felony battery. When trying to resolve the case, the prosecutors will have access to your previous record and will be much more unwilling to offer you anything that you would likely obtain to resolve your case. Your prior record has a very big impact. If you are charged with a felony battery or any kind of felony domestic violence, that prior record can be used to enhance your sentence. That is known as your score sheet and these score sheets play a very big role in your felony case.
While A Case Is Pending, Do You Recommend To Your Clients That They Get Any Sort Of Counseling Or Anger Management Treatment Or Does That Show Guilt To The Court?
It absolutely does not show guilt to the court to get counseling and no one should ever be dissuaded from getting any kind of service that they think they need because of the idea that it shows guilt. If you are looking to resolve your case through some kind of negotiated plea, a lot of times, getting counseling can really help you in negotiating with the prosecutor. If you believe you have some problem that you can get treatment or help for, you most certainly should go and get it. Do not worry at all about it showing guilt to the court. If you have a trial in your case, the evidence or the testimony that you got whatever counseling or services that you needed is not admissible. The only thing that is going to be admissible at a trial is what occurred at the time of the alleged offense.
What Are Some Strategies That Could Be Used To Defend Clients In Domestic Violence Cases? Is Self-Defense A Viable Defense?
There are many different defense strategies and it all depends on the case. One of the first things that you have to do is figure out what the alleged victim is actually accusing you of. If you are in a case where you did not do what is being accused, you want to get a sworn statement from the alleged victim where that alleged victim is locked into their story. What happens a lot in domestic violence cases is the alleged victim later changes their story.
Self-defense is a very viable defense. The state of Florida has very strong laws when it concerns self-defense. The best part about self-defense is that if you raise it, the prosecutor has to prove that your story or your claim of self-defense is not true beyond a reasonable doubt. That is a very big hurdle for the prosecutor to overcome and normally, they cannot overcome that hurdle. If you have a real self-defense case, that defense should be submitted to the court. You have a right to defend yourself, without a doubt.
For more information on Domestic Violence in Florida, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (850) 432-7726 today.
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