The charge of domestic battery is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. It is not eligible to seal or expunge, regardless of withholding adjudication of guilt. Domestic Battery can possibly be enhanced to a felony. For example, if you have a prior conviction for battery, you could be charged with a third degree felony battery. This is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
This is a serious charge even if it remains a misdemeanor. Many employers will not tolerate an arrest and conviction for this type of charge. Additionally, you will lose your concealed weapons permit upon arrest and will not be able to get it reinstated if you enter a plea to a domestic battery charge. Therefore, it is very important to have an attorney looking out for your interests every step of the way.
You may be asking yourself, the victim doesn’t want to prosecute so why do I need an attorney?
The victim can inform the prosecutor that they no longer wish to proceed with prosecution. Often, they will have to take a class concerning domestic abuse and possibly fill out paperwork. Even if all of this is accomplished, the prosecutor does not have any obligation to drop the charges. The wishes of the victim are only one of many factors taken into consideration.
The prosecutor may ask that the Defendant complete certain classes or conditions prior to making a decision on charging or dropping charges. The prosecutor may make a favorable offer to the Defendant based upon the wishes of the victim. However, there are no rules or formulas. This is why hiring a lawyer is invaluable. Your lawyer can help the victim in the case communicate their wishes with the prosecutor and get the best possible outcome for you.
I did not do anything wrong and the victim is lying, what are my options?
Often, charges like this are used as retaliation for divorce, a relationship ending, or infidelity. Considering that these events are truly “he-said, she said” situations, there is usually very little evidence to support the charge. The evidence is usually testimony from the arresting officer, who was not an eye witness, and from the alleged victim. If you choose to have a jury trial, the prosecutor must prove you committed the battery beyond and to the exclusion of all reasonable doubt. This is a very high burden. If you are thinking of going to trial, you should consider hiring an attorney with significant trial experience. Picking a jury for a case involving domestic violence is not easy. Many jurors have personal experiences with domestic violence that they could bring into their deliberations to find you guilty. An attorney with jury trial experience knows what to ask in order to reveal who these jurors are and what they really think.
An experienced trial attorney can help present your case, and the issues with the prosecution’s case, effectively to a jury and help secure an acquittal.
I was served with a temporary injunction, what do I do?
As a criminal defense and family law firm, we are often times asked how a Temporary Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence can be issued based solely upon the statements made by the Petitioner (alleged victim) without the Respondent (alleged abuser) having an opportunity to state his or her side of the story. It seems unfair that a person can go to the courthouse, fill out a petition stating their side of the story (often untrue or one-sided) and a temporary injunction (often referred to as a “restraining order” or “protective order”) gets entered requiring the Respondent to vacate the residence, pay child support and have no contact with the Petitioner or the children.
In the event a “Temporary Injunction” is issued against you, time is crucial. Pursuant to Florida law, the Court is required to schedule a hearing within 15 days in which both parties must appear before the Court. The Court will hear “testimony” from both the Petitioner and the Respondent, and any witnesses as may be necessary, as to the allegations made in the Petition. Based upon the evidence and testimony presented, the Court will then make a determination whether to dismiss the temporary injunction or enter a “Final Judgment” on the injunction.
This hearing is your one chance to be heard before a Final Judgment of Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence is entered. It is important that you hire an experienced, knowledgeable Domestic Violence Injunction Attorney to represent you at this hearing, present your side of the case, and ask that the temporary injunction be dismissed.
If you are being charged with Domestic Battery or have been served with a Temporary Injuction for Protection please call our office for a free consultation with one of our highly experienced trial attorneys.