How Florida Defines Domestic Violence
If a person is accused of a violent act against a family member, significant other, or person in which they have a child in common, the law treats the case differently from any other accusation of violence. No matter what the criminal charge, the law requires a minimum sentence of one year probation with a condition to complete the batterer’s intervention program. This is a 6-month long program designed to educate and counsel people in how to avoid acts of domestic violence.
First Time Offenders of Domestic Violence
First time offenders of misdemeanor domestic battery sometimes have a chance to keep their records clean with a deferred prosecution agreement or other diversion program. These programs give the accused a chance to complete certain conditions, like a 6-month long batterer’s intervention program, in exchange for dropped charges. The availability of these options depends on the facts and unique domestic violence issues of each individual case. If felony charges are filed, such as domestic battery by strangulation, domestic assault or battery with a deadly weapon, or aggravated stalking, penalties can be harsh, even for first time offenders. Nevertheless, a zealous and experienced lawyer can provide a good defense by investigating the case and challenging the accusing witnesses and evidence in court.
Violation of Injunction against Domestic Violence
A charge of violating an injunction against domestic violence (sometimes referred to as a restraining order), is taken very seriously by the courts as well as prosecutors. Such an injunction can be violated in several ways, including but not limited to: going within 500 feet of the protected person’s residence or another place they frequent, making threats against that person, coming within 100 feet of that person’s empty car, or vandalizing that person’s property. The violation must be intentional or “willful,” however, in order to result in a criminal conviction. For a third conviction for violation of such an injunction against the same person, the crime becomes a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison. The law requires completion of the batter’s intervention program for any violation of injunction against domestic violence, unless the court decides this requirement would be inappropriate in the particular case.
Ms. Fore has tried numerous domestic violence cases, including misdemeanors as well as felonies. Often there are options available to a person without prior criminal history to avoid a life-altering criminal conviction. Ms. Fore can guide you through those options and be your zealous advocate in the court room when you need it the most.