Fighting Domestic Violence Allegations in Florida
False accusations can have repercussions for many years. Those accused of abusing their spouses — even without any sort of trial — often become social pariahs. It can be difficult to hold down a job or start a new relationship, even though no formal charges have been brought against you. If children are involved, as is the case in many divorces, custody and visitation can be thrown in jeopardy. And if charges are brought, the situation can be even worse. For many people who are accused of domestic violence, there is the feeling that they are “guilty until proven innocent.”
No one should have to face false allegations of domestic violence, however, because of how vitriolic some divorces and relationships can be, these types of reputation-ruining accusations arise all too often. Why? Because they work. Divorce lawyers know it, and spurned spouses and former partners know it too. Nobody wants to be viewed as an abuser. Unfortunately, false accusations can lead to the accuser getting precisely what they want from the falsely accused, who is only interested in the allegations quietly disappearing.
Our culture is primed to believe the worst when it comes to false domestic abuse allegations. Frequently, the accused, out of fear or shame, do whatever it takes to just move on from the situation. But when your good name is sullied, sometimes there is no moving on.
Don’t let false domestic violence allegations bring your world crashing down. Contact Mike G Law to preserve your reputation.
What is Considered Domestic Violence in Florida?
The definition of domestic violence varies from state to state. For example, some states may only consider a physical fight between spouses as domestic violence, whereas others may have broader laws that allow confrontations between roommates or relatives to qualify as domestic violence. Florida’s domestic violence laws are pretty broad and include both a variety of types of crimes as well as individuals who can be considered victims.
In Florida, domestic violence is defined as:
any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member. (Statute 741.28)
Under this statute, a family or household member can be a blood relative, a relative through marriage, a romantic partner, or anyone else who lives under the same roof or has lived together at some point or another.
Generally, when we talk about domestic violence we are thinking about spousal abuse and physical altercations, however, as you can see, Florida’s definition includes further acts of violence as well as more possible victims.
The goal is to protect as many Floridians as possible. However, when false domestic violence accusations are made, innocent individuals become ensnared in a legal system that isn’t always prepared to protect them. When this happens, it is essential for the falsely accused to have a good Tampa domestic violence lawyer prepared to fight for them on their behalf.
What Happens When Your Accuser Files for a Protection Order?
For many individuals alleging domestic violence, the first step in getting their accusations out is to file a restraining order (a petition for protection against domestic violence, also known as a domestic violence injunction). In order to get this restraining order, the accuser doesn’t have to prove anything. They just have to have their lawyer file the petition. And if a judge finds it has merit, the injunction is granted. This is a quick process and is meant to protect possible victims of abuse from further violence.
Now, the judge who reviews the petition doesn’t make a legal judgment on whether the abuse happened. They only determine whether there is sufficient cause for the protection order itself. If the injunction is granted, it will not automatically lead to domestic abuse charges. However, it will lead to the eviction of the accused from his home if he still lives with this accuser. And if children are included in the petition, it will also temporarily remove him from their lives.
Thankfully, those accused of domestic violence via a protection order will get to defend themselves in court at a return-hearing about two weeks after the injunction is temporarily approved. Both parties will have the opportunity to share their stories at this hearing. At this point, it’s important that someone facing allegations have an experienced domestic violence lawyer in order to have the best chance of having the protection order thrown out.
If you’re in a situation where your return-hearing is approaching, don’t delay! Talk to Mike G Law today and start planning for the future. Otherwise, if the protection order is found to be valid, it will be more difficult to get it removed in the future and may lead to the loss of your parental rights.
On its own, a domestic violence injunction order will not always lead to domestic violence charges, however, violating a protection order may lead to charges being filed against you.
In cases where there is no protection order, if the police are summoned to your home because of a domestic violence call or if the accuser decides to file a claim, charges may be brought if the prosecutor feels there is enough evidence to prove some form of domestic violence has occurred.
Don’t Let Your Life Be Hijacked by False Accusations — Fight Back!
As a former prosecutor, I’ve seen the effect that false domestic abuse allegations can have on both families and the accused. It can truly be traumatic for everyone involved. Because of my experience, though, I also understand the best way to work within the system to protect your rights.
Fighting domestic violence allegations is important. If you’ve been accused of domestic violence or are afraid that you will be facing false allegations of abuse or domestic violence, don’t despair. Call Mike G Law at 813-221-4303 as soon as possible or contact the office online to schedule your free consultation.