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How Do I Defend Against Domestic Violence Charges?

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Being charged with domestic violence in Florida can change a person’s life, even if they are not convicted. If you are in this situation, it is understandable that you may be nervous or even panicked. However, Florida does recognize defenses to domestic violence, and with sufficient evidence, it can be enough to get you off the proverbial hook. An experienced attorney can help.

Attack The Evidence

It is a persistent myth that domestic violence charges are only brought if a serious physical altercation has occurred. After all, the definition under state law is any criminal offense “resulting in physical injury or death” to a member of the alleged perpetrator’s family or household. In reality, an incident report is easy to file and the standard by which an arrest can be made is lax. Law enforcement may intervene in anything that they believe rises to the level of a domestic incident, even if little to no physical altercation has occurred, and all it takes for them to make an arrest is the alleged victim’s statement (and their own judgment).

That said, justifying an arrest is not the same as justifying a conviction. It may be that the evidence gathered simply does not add up to a guilty verdict. This is particularly true in cases where the only evidence against you is the statement of your alleged victim. While no defendant should ever try to intimidate or otherwise coerce a victim out of cooperating with prosecutors, it is possible they may simply choose that path. Alternatively, it may be possible to cast doubt on their statement itself.

Stand Your Ground

If your domestic incident did escalate into physical violence, you may be able to argue that you had the right to ‘stand your ground’ if both of you got physical. Florida’s law, while controversial, explicitly grants a person the right to threaten – or use – an appropriate amount of force in response to a reasonable threat to them. The key word is “reasonable” – if your alleged victim slapped you in the face, for example, pulling a handgun in response is not reasonable.

It is, however, noticeable that if you are in a home or other residence where you have a right to be present, you do not have any duty to retreat – in other words, you need not try to deescalate the altercation before using force. Your victim may try to argue that your actions were not in self-defense, but in many cases, the law will be on your side.

Call A West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Attorney

Be advised that defenses are almost never mutually exclusive – if one doesn’t work, it will not harm your case to assert another. A West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney from Perlet & Shiner, P.A. can help answer any questions you may have about the legal process, and protect your rights in court. Call our office today to speak to an attorney.

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