Myths About Domestic Violence Cases In Florida
The Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV) estimates that roughly 105,000 arrests were made for domestic violence in 2018, and it is generally understood that even more occurred that went unreported. However, if you have been charged with domestic violence, it can be easy to misunderstand the serious nature of the offense. There are a lot of myths surrounding domestic violence charges in Florida, and it is in your best interests to do your research so that you know what is true and what is not.
Myth: Florida’s law on domestic violence only applies to cases involving physical abuse.
Fact: It can be easy to think this is the case, because Florida’s domestic violence statute defines the crime as any assault, battery, sexual assault or battery, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or “any other criminal offense” that results in “physical injury or death” to a family or household member. However, this does not mean that emotional abuse or manipulation are not part of a pattern that can be used against someone later, especially if you are ever brought to trial over your actions.
Myth: It was a private matter between me and my partner.
Fact: The state does not see it this way in the wide majority of cases. Domestic violence is a crime in Florida, and crimes are seen as wrongs against society. Altercations between two strangers would rightfully be punished; altercations between partners or other family members should be punished in the same manner.
Myth: My children won’t remember anything that happens.
Fact: In reality, children as young as preschool age can and do internalize witnessing abuse, with a host of potential side effects that can occur, even if they are not physically abused themselves. In some cases, you may also be charged with child abuse, as Florida law defines child abuse as an “intentional act” that could “reasonably be expected” to result in physical or emotional damage to a child – witnessing an intentional attack on their mother or second parent can most certainly be “reasonably expected” to cause trauma.
Myth: Even if I’m convicted, I’ll only get 5 days in jail or so.
Fact: 5 days in county jail is the minimum possible sentence – it is much more plausible that you will receive a longer sentence, in addition to being required to undergo a batterers’ intervention program, a probation period, and being slapped with other sanctions such as the loss of your right to own firearms. Also, if you are convicted, even if you only serve a minimum of 5 days, the charge will remain on your record. Potential employers and landlords, among others, will be able to view it on a background check, which can do serious long-term damage to your prospects.
A West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Attorney Can Help You
If you are truly innocent of the charges against you, you deserve your chance to have your day in court. If you are not, you deserve a chance to tell your side of the story. Either way, the West Palm Beach criminal defense attorneys at the firm of Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A. can try to help. We are ready to help protect your rights – contact our offices today to speak to an attorney.