Situations involving alleged domestic violence are tense and emotionally charged. Police officers will often make an arrest simply to diffuse the situation. After filing charges, the state attorney’s office will review and determine if prosecution is proper. This occurs even if the victim wants to drop charges.
No matter the situation, these charges are serious and can have lifelong consequences. If you or a loved one are fighting domestic violence charges, you should start by learning about what constitutes misdemeanor domestic violence in Florida. Then, get help from experts like Mike G Law for a defense attorney you can trust.
What Constitutes Misdemeanor Domestic Violence in Florida?
Domestic violence is governed by Florida Statute 741.28, which defines it as any criminal offense that results in the injury or death of a family member within the same household. This can include:
- Assault and aggravated assault
- Batter and aggravated battery
- Sexual assault and battery
- False imprisonment
- Stalking and aggravated stalking
In layman’s terms, domestic violence battery is touching or striking a family member or household member against their will. It can also include non-physical violence, like stalking.
Who Can Be Charged With It?
The distinguishing factor between domestic violence and battery is the identity of the perpetrator and victim. In domestic violence situations, the parties must be family or household members. This can include:
- Wives and Husbands
- Ex-Wives and Ex-Husbands
- Individuals Related by Marriage or Blood
- Individuals Living Under One Roof as a Family
- Individuals Who Have Lived as a Family in the Past
- Persons With a Child in Common, Regardless of Marital Status
It is important to note the statutory language requires household or family members to be currently or previously residing together in the same single dwelling or unit. The one exception is for those with a child in common.
What is the Penalty for It?
The penalties for this crime vary, but as a First Degree Misdemeanor it is punishable by:
- One year in jail
- One year of probation
- $1,000 fine
What are Typical Penalties?
The above can be considered standard penalties for the severity of the crime committed. Depending on the situation and regarding the “domestic” nature of the crime, the judge may also decide to enact any of the follow punishments where they see fit:
- 5 Days in Jail (If there is a bodily injury)
- Community Service Hours
- Mandatory Counseling
- Ineligibility for Expungement or Sealing
- Permanent Criminal Record
- 26 Week Batterer’s Intervention Program
- Loss of Civil Liberties (like concealed carry)
What to Do if You Have Been Charged with Misdemeanor Domestic Violence?
If you are facing misdemeanor domestic violence charges, you still have options. With an experienced attorney from Mike G Law, you can assert one of several defenses. Have an attorney thoroughly review your case to determine your legal options. Some defenses to domestic violence include:
- Absence of Injuries
- Factual Disputes About Underlying Incident
- Allegations Not Corroborated by Evidence
- Defense of Others or Property
- Stand Your Ground
- Vindictive Victim
- Consensual Confrontation or Mutual Combat
Addressing Deeper Issues
If you are facing domestic violence charges, there is a high chance deeper issues are at play. The altercation is likely caused by underlying issues and part of addressing the charges is getting to the bottom of those issues. They may include:
- Child Custody Disputes
- Drug, Alcohol, or Substance Abuse
- Mental Health Issues
- Pending Divorce
- Injunctions Proceedings
- Spiteful Family Members
To address the charges and the underlying issues, the best approach is to form a plan to dismiss the charges and restore the peace.
Strategize with Attorney Representation
Experienced defense attorneys at Mike G Law can assist in having the charges dropped or reduced before trial. Hiring private counsel shows the prosecutor you are ready to fight the case and will not take a boilerplate plea bargain. It also gives you access to experience and knowledge to contest the charges.
Attorney representation can help you with initiating early negotiation with the prosecution. The early stages of determining legal issues, factual defenses, and mitigating circumstances are critical in informing the State’s decision to prosecute. With attorney aid in the early negotiation stage, you can establish rapport and demonstrate competence in negotiations.
Contacting the Victim
When a ‘no contact’ order is in place, you cannot contact the alleged victim. However, as your representative, the attorney can. The attorney will determine if the alleged victim wants to drop the charges and proceed from there.
The alleged victim can file a drop-charge affidavit form with the State’s Attorney Office, take a course, or meet with a Domestic Violence advocate to decline prosecution. While not decisive on the choice to prosecute, the victim’s input is persuasive.
If the alleged victim seeks to drop charges while there is a ‘No Contact’ order in place, you can file a Motion to Modify Conditions of Release. This permits modification or dissolution of the no contact order, and the parties can resume contact. It also further shows the alleged victim does not seek to pursue the matter.
Going back to those underlying issues, you can demonstrate a willingness to change through proactive and voluntary measures. This could be seeking substance abuse treatment or other psychological aid. Voluntarily seeking these services shows responsibility and increases the chance for a non-criminal resolution.
Based on the facts of your case, Mike G Law may be able to seek pre-trial motions to reduce or drop the charge. This includes options like ‘Stand Your Ground’ or Motions in Limine. The first offers prosecutorial immunity and the second highlights decisive evidentiary or factual vulnerabilities in the case. These can spur negotiations, result in a dismissal, or deter litigation.
Prepare for Trial
If the case makes it to trial, you will benefit greatly from an experienced voice in the courtroom. As your advocate, an attorney will be prepared to defend you during trial. The persuasiveness and competency in the courtroom can lead to reduced or dropped charges.
Contact Mike G Law
Facing criminal charges of any kind, including misdemeanor domestic violence charges, can feel overwhelming. The American court system is complicated and tricky to navigate on your own. However, one thing is for certain: you are always entitled to representation, but you should take the extra step to seek the best help. Contact Mike G Law in Tampa today to see how we can help with your case.