After A Domestic Violence Arrest
When you have been arrested for domestic violence, it can be overwhelming and frightening, especially if the charge is unfounded. There is a process that is followed with every arrest, however, and understanding how the process goes can sometimes be helpful in ensuring your rights are protected. If you have questions or concerns, calling a domestic violence attorney can also help make sure you get your day in court.
Bonds & Pleas
If they are called to the scene of a domestic dispute, Florida law enforcement may choose to arrest someone, though the law “strongly discourages” arrest in favor of training and deescalation. If you are arrested, you may not bond out until you see a judge, unlike with most other crimes. Even if you do bond out after a hearing – which is not guaranteed – there will be several conditions placed on you as a condition of granting that bond, such as abiding by a no-contact order, and failure to honor those conditions will often land you back behind bars.
Whether you bond out or not, the next step will be the arraignment, where you will make a formal plea. If you truly believe the charge is unfounded, pleading not guilty is the best option. It may be possible to negotiate a plea, especially if you have no previous encounters with the law, but if not, preparing for trial will come next. During this period, your attorney may recommend enrolling in counseling or anger management, to help show that you are taking responsibility for your actions, but this is not always required.
Civil vs Criminal
One important thing to keep in mind is that during the criminal process, your alleged victim may also be in the process of filing a civil injunction against you. A criminal no-contact order is not the same as a civil injunction, also referred to as a Petition for Protection Against Domestic Violence. A criminal no-contact order tends to expire upon the conclusion of the case, but a civil injunction lasts until it is dissolved. If you conflate the two, you may wind up unintentionally violating the injunction and facing further penalties.
Some crimes can also qualify as civil offenses, and if this happens, the criminal proceedings will usually occur before any civil suit. With domestic violence cases this is not necessarily so, given that there is no civil ‘case;’ there is merely a petition for an injunction. These proceedings will most often happen concurrently because your presence is not required in civil hearings except at the petition hearing.
Contact A West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Attorney
Being charged with domestic violence is not something anyone ever wants to go through. If you are unfortunate enough to be in this situation, calling a West Palm Beach criminal attorney from the firm of Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A. can ensure that you receive your fair day in court. Do not hesitate to contact our offices today to speak to an attorney.