Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer in Florida
What you think is just an argument can turn into something much more. Who knows what happened? A neighbor may hear raised voices and call the police. The police arrive and decide an argument ensued and so someone must be arrested for domestic violence. Domestic violence in Florida carries serious consequences when not addressed immediately. These consequences can be both civil and criminal. If you have been charged in Tampa with a domestic violence or related offense, it's imperative to contact a domestic violence defense attorney.
You have rights, and at Rodriguez & Williamson, PLLC, we are here to uphold your rights and defend any allegations made against you. Call us at 813-320-7500 to schedule a Free today.
Domestic Violence in Florida
Domestic violence describes a range of harm committed in the context of a domestic relationship, usually between spouses, intimate partners, or relatives, but in some jurisdictions, it can also include roommates or other members of the household. Examples of physical acts that can arise from domestic violence include punching, hitting, slapping, or shoving. However, it could extend to other patterns of abusive behavior, like threats of violence, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and financial abuse.
State-based legislation varies in terms of both the nature of the relationship and the type of conduct required to prove a domestic violence offense. While domestic violence offenses are usually prosecuted at a state level, federal domestic violence legislation exists. In 1994, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This Act and subsequent additions to the Act acknowledge domestic violence as a national crime and provide assistance to overburdened state and local criminal justice systems.
The following are federal crimes under VAWA if they are committed within the maritime or territorial lands of the United States or if the offender crosses state or foreign lines to:
- commit or attempt to commit a crime of violence against an intimate partner (18 U.S.C. Section 2261)
- stalk or harass or to stalk or harass by mail or computer (18 U.S.C. Section 2261A)
- violate a qualifying Protection Order (18 U.S.C. Section 2262)
Consequences of Alleged Domestic Violence in Florida
When a defendant is charged with a domestic violence offense, the court has the power to order a protection order, also referred to as a restraining or no-contact order, depending on your jurisdiction. Protection orders can be made even when the defendant isn't present in court and before their criminal law matter has been finalized and, in many cases, before the criminal process has really even begun. In essence, when it comes to domestic violence, you can suffer certain consequences before a judge or jury has found you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
When a protection order is issued, it can result in two significant consequences, though there may be other penalties or restrictions imposed:
- It can restrict a defendant's contact with the victim and their children; and
- It can require the defendant to leave the family home.
A person subject to a protective order or convicted of a domestic violence offense is also prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm under federal law.
Criminal convictions of any nature, but especially domestic violence offenses, can also impact a defendant's ability to find work or housing. Potential employers or landlords who run a background check may refuse an applicant with a domestic violence conviction.
Penalties of Domestic Violence or a Related Criminal Conviction in Florida
The sentencing options for domestic violence offenses include many. Much of it depends on the severity of the allegations and any prior protective orders. Generally, penalties can include but are not limited to:
- Domestic violence treatment or counseling programs
When sentencing an offender for a domestic violence offense, the court will take into account aggravating circumstances, like:
- the level of injury sustained by the victim
- whether a weapon was used or a child witnessed the crime
- whether the crime violates an existing protection order
- the personal characteristics of the victim, such as older age or pregnancy
The penalties for domestic violence offenses can quickly become harsher with subsequent convictions in Florida.
Can Domestic Violence Charges Be Dropped in Tampa?
Domestic violence charges can be dropped, but it is critical to know that they will not be dropped only because the alleged victim of the violence no longer wants charges brought against the alleged suspect. Charges are brought by the state, not by the affected person.
The same is true about the restraining order. Even if the victim no longer wants the protection order, the order remains in effect. Any person who has a restraining order against them must abide by the order or risk further criminal charges and subsequent consequences. Violating a protective order is a serious offense.
Defenses to Domestic Violence Allegations in Florida
A person can defend against a domestic violence charge in Florida. However, the specific defenses available to a defendant will depend on the circumstances of their case.
Some common defenses include:
- Self-defense or defense of others, where reasonable force was used to prevent an attack
- Lack of evidence, if the prosecution fails to present enough evidence to prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt
- False allegations, where the victim has lied about what happened
- Accident, where the defendant unintentionally caused the injury
A conviction for a domestic violence offense can have a long-lasting impact on many aspects of a defendant's personal life, including their personal relationships, parenting, and employment. It is always in your best interests to, at a minimum, consult with a domestic violence defense lawyer about any allegations.
Contact a Domestic Violence Defense Attorney in Tampa Today
If you've been charged with a domestic violence offense, you should speak to an experienced domestic violence defense attorney at Rodriguez & Williamson, PLLC immediately. We will listen to your version of events, assess the strength of the evidence against you, and advise you of any defenses that may be available to you. Fill out an online submission form or call us at 813-320-7500 to schedule a Free today.
Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer in Florida
What you may consider to be nothing more than an argument may turn out to be much more. Who can say for sure what took place? If a neighbor hears loud voices, they might decide to call the police. When the police arrive, they determine that a dispute has occurred, and as a result, someone needs to be arrested for domestic violence. If immediate action is not taken, Florida law holds those responsible for acts of domestic violence accountable for severe consequences. These repercussions may have both civil and legal repercussions. If you have been charged with domestic violence or another offense in Tampa, you need to speak with a domestic violence defense attorney as soon as possible.
You are entitled to certain protections, and the attorneys at Rodriguez & Williamson, PLLC, are here to ensure that those protections are honored and to defend you against any allegations that may be made against you. Give us a call at 813-320-7500 to arrange a free consultation right away.
The Problem of Family Violence in Florida
"Domestic violence" refers to various harmful behaviors carried out within a domestic relationship, most frequently between spouses, intimate partners, or relatives. However, some jurisdictions also include housemates and other members of the household. Punching, hitting, slapping, shoving, and other forms of physical contact are examples of acts that can result from domestic violence. Nevertheless, it can extend to other forms of abusive behavior patterns, such as threats of physical violence, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and financial abuse.
The nature of the relationship that must be proven guilty of a domestic violence offense varies from state to state, as does the type of behavior that must be demonstrated. There is domestic violence legislation at the federal level, even though most cases of domestic violence are prosecuted at the state level. Congress enacted the Violence Against Women Act in the year 1994. (VAWA). This Act and subsequent additions to the Act recognize domestic violence as a national crime and assist state and local criminal justice systems that are already operating at or near capacity.
The following actions constitute violations of federal law under VAWA if they are carried out within the maritime or territorial lands of the United States or if the perpetrator crosses state or international lines in the course of their criminal activity:
- commit or attempt to commit a crime of violence against an intimate partner (18 U.S.C. Section 2261);
- stalk or harass, or to stalk or harass by mail or computer, or to attempt to commit any of these acts; (18 U.S.C. Section 2261A)
- infringe upon a Protection Order that meets the criteria (18 U.S.C. Section 2262)
The Repercussions of a Suspected Offense of Domestic Violence in Florida
When a defendant is charged with a domestic violence offense, the court has the authority to issue a protection order. Depending on your jurisdiction, it may also be known as a restraining or no-contact order. This order prohibits the defendant from having any contact with the alleged victim. Protection orders can be issued even if the defendant is not present in court before their criminal law matter has been resolved and, in many cases, even before the criminal process has even begun. This is because protection orders are civil and do not involve the criminal justice system. When it comes to domestic violence, you can, in essence, suffer inevitable consequences before a judge or jury has found you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is because domestic violence is a criminal offense.
If a protection order is granted, there is a possibility that it will lead to the following two significant consequences, in addition to any other fines or restrictions that may be imposed:
- It is possible for a defendant's contact with the victim and the victim's children to be restricted, and;
- the defendant may be required to move out of the family home.
Under federal law, a person who has been the subject of a protective order or convicted of an offense related to domestic violence is not permitted to own or possess a firearm.
Convictions for criminal offenses, particularly domestic violence, can negatively impact a defendant's ability to find work or housing. An applicant with a conviction for domestic violence may have their application denied by prospective employers or landlords who conduct background checks.
In Florida, the penalties for being convicted of domestic violence or a related crime are as follows:
There is a wide variety of sentencing options available for domestic violence offenses. A significant portion of the answer is determined by the seriousness of the allegations and any previous protective orders. In general, the following types of punishments may be imposed, but this list is not exhaustive:
- Counseling or treatment programs for victims of domestic violence
The level of injury sustained by the victim, whether a weapon was used or a child witnessed the crime, and whether the crime violates an existing protection order are all examples of aggravating circumstances that the court will take into consideration when determining an appropriate sentence for an offender who has been convicted of domestic violence.
In Florida, multiple convictions for domestic violence offenses can quickly increase the severity of the penalties for these offenses.
Are There Any Ways to Get the Charges for Domestic Violence Dropped in Tampa?
Domestic violence charges can be dismissed, but it is essential to understand that this will not happen solely because the alleged victim of the violence no longer wishes for the alleged suspect to be prosecuted for the alleged incident of violence. It is the state that is responsible for paying the fines, not the individual who was affected.
The same can be said for the protective order that was issued. The demand will continue to be carried out even if the victim decides they no longer want the protection order. If a person has a restraining order against them, they must abide by the terms of the order or risk facing additional criminal charges and the consequences that come with them. It is a severe crime to disobey the terms of a protective order.
Defending Yourself Against Allegations of Domestic Violence in Florida
In Florida, a person can defend themselves against charges of domestic violence. However, the specific defenses a defendant has available to them will differ from case to case depending on the situation's specifics.
The following are some common defenses that people use:
- Whether in one's defense or the defense of others, using reasonable force to thwart an assault is permissible.
If the prosecution does not present sufficient evidence to prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt, they have failed to present adequate evidence and can be dismissed from the case.
- Allegations are untrue, in which the victim has lied about what happened.
- Accident, in which the plaintiff was injured due to the unintentional actions of the defendant
- A conviction for an act of domestic violence can have a long-lasting effect on many aspects of a defendant's personal life, such as their relationships, their ability to parent their children, and their ability to maintain employment.
If you are accused of domestic violence, it is in your best interest to, at the very least, discuss the matter with a domestic violence defense attorney.
Get in Touch With a Defense Lawyer Specializing in Domestic Violence in Tampa Today
Suppose you have been accused of committing an act of domestic violence. In that case, you should get in touch with an experienced domestic violence defense attorney at Rodriguez & Williamson, PLLC, as soon as possible. We will listen to your account of the events, evaluate the validity of the evidence presented against you, and give you guidance regarding any potential defenses that may be open to you. To schedule a free consultation with us today, either submit your information through an online form or give us a call at 813-320-7500.
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