Consequences For Domestic Violence In Florida
If a person is convicted of domestic violence, the legal consequences are significant – at the very least, jail time and fines await them. However, there are additional consequences that can affect a person who has a domestic violence conviction (or even an arrest, in some cases!) on their criminal record. If you have been charged with a crime of domestic violence in Florida, it is crucial that you be aware of what may potentially await you.
Sometimes, A Longer Jail Sentence
Florida does not have one singular crime of domestic violence on its books. Rather, the underlying offense is charged – for example, assault – and the presence of domestic violence-related factors is used as a sentencing enhancement of sorts. Some individuals tend to persist in believing that domestic violence is a personal issue between spouses or other family members; Florida’s legislature sees it as an offense that can harm society – hence the broad definition.
Any criminal offense that “results in injury or death” to a family or household member will generally fall under the domestic violence umbrella, and thus may face a stricter penalty than a crime that is not related to those motives. For example, if a person beats up their co-parent (whether they are married or not), that person may face assault and battery charges, but they may have a stricter sentence because of the fact the crimes allegedly happened in a domestic violence situation.
Consequences Outside The Courtroom
In addition to being sentenced to a jail term, as well as being required to pay fines and costs to settle a lawsuit, there are many other potential aftereffects of a domestic violence conviction that may affect you. As one might imagine, the most potentially devastating is the simple fact of having a violent offense on your criminal record. Because of this, you can be denied housing or employment, since the offense will show up on a background check. If your domestic violence offense was a felony, you will likely also lose the right to vote.
Other potential long-term consequences may include your right to own firearms being revoked – the federal Lautenberg Amendment prohibits anyone who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence from owning a gun – or your losing parenting time with your children. Florida child custody law establishes that a parent who has been convicted of a crime of domestic violence has a rebuttable presumption against them saying it would not be in a child’s best interests for them to have parenting time. It can be overcome, but it is not easy.
Contact A West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Attorney
If you have been charged with domestic violence, it is crucial to understand the potential consequences of a conviction. If you have questions or concerns, it is a good idea to consult a West Palm Beach criminal attorney. The firm of Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A. has experience with these types of cases, and will work hard to ensure that your rights are protected in court. Call our office today at 561-721-0552 to speak to an attorney.