What is domestic violence?According to Florida law, domestic violence occurs when a person causes injury or death to a family or household member. The term “family or household member” has been broadly defined to include the following:
- A current or former spouse
- A person related by blood or marriage
- A person you live with or have lived with in the past
- A person you are dating and/or engaged to
- A person with whom you have a child.
- Assault and aggravated assault
- Battery and aggravated battery
- False imprisonment
- Sexual assault and battery
- Stalking and aggravated stalking.
What are the consequences of a domestic violence conviction?A domestic violence conviction can have very serious consequences including the following:
- Jail or prison time
- Community control
- A stay away order from the victim (which may include a stay away order from your home, your spouse, and even your children)
- Fines, court costs, and other monetary penalties
- Anger management classes, batterers intervention classes, parenting classes, and/or other classes
- Community service hours
- Immigration consequences
- Mental health treatment
- Substance abuse treatment
How are domestic violence cases treated differently than other cases?
Over the years, the issue of domestic violence has risen dramatically in the public consciousness. Most police officers are now required to write an incident report for every domestic violence call, and many officers will make an arrest if there is even the slightest hint of domestic violence. In addition, the Office of the State Attorney now has a special Domestic Violence Unit that is assigned to aggressively prosecute anyone arrested for domestic violence. Many domestic violence cases proceed to trial even when the alleged victim doesn’t want to go forward, making it extremely difficult to stop a domestic violence prosecution once it has begun. Florida law requires that every person arrested for domestic violence, regardless of their criminal history, be held WITHOUT BOND until a specially assigned domestic violence judge reviews their case and sets a bond. At that bond hearing, an Assistant State Attorney and victim advocate will ask the judge to impose strict conditions to restrain your movement and travel. The most common of these is the stay away order, which precludes you from having any direct or indirect contact with the alleged victim… including telephone, email, text message, and even 3rd person contact. In many cases, the alleged victim may say that they do not want to prosecute a case and may seek to reconcile with the defendant even though the Court has imposed a stay away order. Unfortunately, the alleged victim has no absolute right to demand that a domestic violence case be dropped because it is the Office of the State Attorney alone that prosecutes a case. Usually, the State’s position is to proceed with the case regardless of the alleged victim’s wishes and to simply “let the courts decide” whether or not you are guilty.
Why is it important to have an experienced domestic violence attorney?If you are facing a domestic violence charge, it is extremely important to have an experienced domestic violence lawyer to help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights. Over the years, the attorneys at Pensky & Kim have handled thousands of Miami-Dade and Broward domestic violence cases and have the knowledge and experience to see that you get the best representation possible at a reasonable price. Unlike some other law firms, we provide full-service domestic violence defense including:
- Pre-arraignment negotiations to try to convince the State not to file charges
- Advice to clients on complying with injunctions and stay away orders
- Motions to remove or modify existing stay away orders
- Arraignment, discovery, and pre-trial negotiations
- Trial preparation and trial