The definition of domestic violence generally means aggressive or violent acts typically involving a spouse. While many of us do associate domestic violence as violence against one’s spouse, however, the definition is far more encompassing in both victims and actual acts. Many states have very specific definitions when it comes to domestic violence and Florida is no different.

Domestic violence under Florida statute 741.28 defined as any of the following acts: assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or criminal offenses that result in physical injury or death committed against the following person(s): spouses, former spouses, persons related by marriage or blood, persons residing together as family, or persons who resided together as family.

Not all people charged with domestic violence are guilty, in fact, it is not uncommon for a person to report domestic violence simply because he or she is jealous or upset about things like child custody, support, or even alimony.

There are a number of mistakes a person may make when accused of domestic violence in the State of Florida. Among the most common is delaying. Time is of the essence when charged with a criminal charge, particularly one such as domestic violence. Closing a door on a fire and waiting till a later time to deal with it will not lead to the fire disappearing. The only result will be more damaged in the end. In short, you’ll want to be as proactive as possible. It’s easier to persuade a prosecutor to not file charges because of conflicting evidence than it is to persuade them to drop charges.

DO NOT VIOLATE A NO CONTACT ORDER. One of the biggest mistakes a person can make when charged with domestic abuse is to try to convince the other party, either directly or indirectly, to drop the charges. This is bad in more ways than one. Firstly, there is the most obvious setback, violating a court order has repercussions. You could get hit with additional charges and end up unable to be released from jail because contact was made when it should not have been; this is known as a violation of bond conditions.

HIRE SOMEONE TO REPRESENT YOU and seek legal aid. This may seem like a no-brainer but you would be surprised by the number of people who thought they could represent themselves in a court of law. Representing yourself is never advised. You could end up incriminating yourself very easily simply because you didn’t go to law school. A lawyer can fight for you to have your sentence reduced if you are convicted as well as offer useful advice regarding offers and plea deals made by the state. Additionally, it can be difficult to remain level-headed and make rational decisions when there is so much at stake. One reason a person may not hire a criminal defense attorney is that they are under the impression that the other party will drop the charges. Regardless of whether they do or now it’s better to have a criminal defense attorney and not need one than to need a criminal defense and not have one.

What should you do if you are charged with domestic violence in Florida? The FIRST thing you should do is hire a good, experienced, and aggressive criminal defense attorney. Being charged with a crime has the potential to drastically alter your life, this goes doubly so if you are actually convicted of said crime. It is for that reason you’ll want to take proper steps and precautions to ensure that you have any chance available. Russell B. McCormick is a criminal defense attorney that has years of experience. You don’t have to face criminal charges alone. Call (904) 353-0436 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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