Have You Been Arrested For Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a heinous crime that is widely seen as a betrayal of trust, especially if the two people involved are married. However, Florida’s definition of domestic violence covers several types of behavior between people with several types of relationships. If you have been arrested and charged with domestic violence, it is crucial that you understand how high the stakes are, and find an experienced attorney to help protect your rights.
Rules & Definitions
The law specifically defines domestic violence as committing any criminal offense that results in physical injury to, or death of, a “family or household member” by another family or household member. A family or household member in Florida is a very wide category, though historically it was quite small; in this day and age, it includes spouses, co-parents, family by blood or marriage, and anyone you have lived with or are living with now (roommates, significant others, and other acquaintances).
If you have been arrested and charged, it is important to obey all of the court’s orders first and foremost, especially when it comes to injunctions. An alleged victim of domestic violence has the right to file for an injunction of protection against an alleged abuser, which may require that you, for example, stay away from the victim’s place of work or their home, not contact the victim, or stop a pattern of behavior that the victim deems harassing. A failure to obey the injunction may lead to prison time or other repercussions on top of the initial charge of domestic violence.
Consequences Are Very Serious
Florida law requires anyone who is found guilty of a crime of domestic violence to serve at least 10 days in the county jail, but the law explicitly grants that a court can award that person a more standard prison sentence that spans months or years. A convicted domestic abuser may also be required to attend anger management or a batterer’s intervention program, in addition to any prison time or fines that the court requires. If you are found guilty, the repugnant nature of the crime will often sway courts to act harshly in sentencing, so as to send a message to the public about zero tolerance policies.
Something that many people arrested for domestic violence do not understand is that unlike other situations under Florida law, any kind of sentence of a domestic violence case (standard conviction, withheld adjudication, no-contest pleas, et cetera) cannot be expunged from your criminal record. This means that unless your record is sealed (which can be almost impossible for those with convictions in particular), the fact that you were arrested and charged with domestic violence will be visible to anyone who looks, including potential landlords or employers.
Call A West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Attorney
Being charged with domestic violence is an extremely serious event, and requires the help of a competent attorney. If this has happened to you, call the West Palm Beach criminal defense attorneys at the firm of Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A. – we are experienced and zealous advocates who will ensure your rights are protected. Contact us today to speak to an attorney.