West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Lawyer
A domestic violence allegation can have swift, negative consequences on a person’s life. Even when a domestic violence case is ultimately dismissed, the accused may continue to experience a certain degree of social stigma. And a conviction can mean jail time and a criminal record.
So you should never be quick to dismiss a domestic violence accusation as “no big deal” or something you can make go away on your own. You need to work with an experienced West Palm Beach domestic violence lawyer who has dealt with these cases before. At the Law Office of Scott N. Richardson, P.A., we can review the allegations against you in detail and help you formulate the best available defense.
What Is Considered Domestic Violence in Florida?
“Domestic violence” is a broad term that applies to various criminal acts committed against a family or household member. In this context, a “family or household” member means a current or former spouse, a person related by blood or marriage, a person you currently or previously lived with as family, or anyone with whom you have a child in common.
Criminal acts that qualify as domestic violence when committed against a family or household member include:
- simple assault or battery;
- aggravated assault or battery;
- sexual assault or battery;
- aggravated stalking;
- false imprisonment; or
- any other criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death.
These are all crimes when committed against any person. But when domestic violence is involved, Florida law usually requires at least one year of probation and successful completion of a “batterers’ intervention program.” If the domestic violence offense involves intentionally inflicting bodily harm, then the defendant must typically serve at least five days in jail.
It is important to emphasize that a person can also be charged with a crime if they violate an existing injunction protection against domestic violence. A Florida court may issue such injunctions upon hearing evidence of actual or imminent domestic violence. These injunctions typically instruct the respondent to restrain from committing such acts and orders them to stay away from the accuser. A respondent who violates these terms can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor under Florida law, which carries a possible jail term of up to one year. In some cases, prosecutors may even bring third-degree felony charges if there is evidence of repeated harassment or stalking against a person protected by a domestic violence injunction.
Contact the Law Office of Scott N. Richardson Today
There are a number of possible defenses to domestic violence charges. In some cases, the defendant may be able to prove they acted in self-defense. In other situations, the accuser may recant their story and the state lacks any other evidence of domestic violence. Even in cases where a defendant is charged with violating a domestic violence injunction, there may be a viable defense based on lack of intent to violate the court’s order.
The one thing you should never do when charged with domestic violence is to directly confront the accuser and demand they recant. That will only lead to more legal problems. Instead, your best option is to work with a skilled West Palm Beach domestic violence lawyer who can advise you on what steps to take next. Contact the Law Office of Scott N. Richardson, P.A., if you need to speak with someone right away.