A minor disagreement between a couple, family, or household member can quickly get out of hand and become an explosive confrontation. When violence occurs, or one party alleges the other was aggressive against them, they may face arrest for domestic violence.
A conviction for domestic violence can result in severe disruptions in your life and penalties, including a misdemeanor or felony on your permanent criminal background. The state’s attorney prosecutes domestic violence charges vigorously, so taking these cases seriously is crucial. Call today to schedule an appointment and meet with a seasoned Inverness domestic violence lawyer if you need help planning a defense.
What is Domestic Violence?
While most consider domestic violence as involving people in a romantic relationship, it can also be a dispute between two household members. Under Florida Statutes 741.28, a person committing violence against any spouse or ex-spouse, unmarried partner, co-parent, or relative by blood relation or marriage. Committing any of the following actions could result in domestic violence or battery charges:
- Sexual assault and sexual battery
- Stalking or aggravated stalking
- Assault and aggravated assault
- Battery or aggravated battery
- Kidnapping and false imprisonment
- All criminal offenses resulting in death or physical injury
A conviction for domestic violence could be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances, including the actions, people involved, and details of the arrest.
Domestic Violence Misdemeanors and Felonies
Domestic violence could lead to a misdemeanor or felony conviction depending on two primary factors. The state will review the individual’s criminal history, including whether they have previous domestic violence arrests and the severity of the illegal actions and injuries.
Misdemeanors Domestic Violence
Simple assault and battery against a partner, family, or household member are misdemeanor offenses in Florida. Stalking could fall into either group, depending on the specifics. A first-time conviction could result in a one-year prison sentence, fines, and other penalties.
Felony Domestic Violence
Aggravated assault, battery, kidnapping, and sexual assault or battery against a partner, household, or family member is a felony domestic violence under the statute. A felony domestic violence conviction could result in significant fines, jail time, and a permanent charge on your criminal record.
Possible Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges
Planning an effective defense strategy resulting in case dismissal or lesser charges is the best approach for domestic violence cases. If the state drops the case, the accused will not have a violent arrest on their permanent criminal background. Common defense strategies include the following:
- Mutual confrontation
- The defense of another person or property
- Lack of evidence
- Factual disputes
- Establishing that any reasonable person in the same circumstances would have done the same thing
A diligent Inverness attorney could complete a thorough investigation of a domestic disturbance and help prepare a solid defense strategy.
Domestic Violence Misdemeanor Diversion Program
Anyone facing misdemeanor domestic violence charges could qualify for a diversion program. If applicable, completing the 26-week program—and any substance abuse treatment—may prompt the state to drop the charges against them entirely.
However, not everyone is eligible, and the state’s attorney must determine whether it is a suitable punishment for those accused of violence against a household member. A hardworking lawyer in Inverness could review the benefits and disadvantages of diversion programs relating to domestic violence charges and determine if they might benefit an alleged defendant.
Speak With a Skilled Domestic Violence Attorney in Inverness
A conviction for domestic violence can result in severe and life-altering penalties and other long-term consequences. Therefore, acting immediately and preparing to defend yourself is crucial.
A skilled Inverness domestic violence lawyer could help you strategize and plan the defense and advocate on your behalf before and during the criminal court hearing. Call today to schedule a consultation with a legal team member.