What Happens After A Domestic Violence Arrest?
Not all domestic violence cases are created equal, though Florida treats them very similarly. The procedures after you are arrested do not, as a rule, vary much, whether you have been involved in a minor incident or you have committed a serious violent crime. However, there are certain points where you have choices to make, and you can make things much easier or more difficult for yourself. Enlisting an experienced attorney can help protect your rights while you navigate the legal process.
Be Prepared For Consequences
Domestic violence unfortunately has become widespread in Florida, with over 104,000 incidents being reported in 2018. It is reasonable to assume that since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the numbers will be even higher, given the amount of time that abusers and potential victims have been forced to spend together. The majority of the 2018 incidents were simple assault, but other types of offenses like criminal homicide, forcible rape, and stalking occurred regularly as well.
Because of the prevalence of domestic violence and the visibility of these types of incidents, Florida State’s Attorneys tend to prosecute these cases aggressively, even if the actual domestic violence was minor. State law defines domestic violence as any crime that causes physical injury or death to a family or household member that is perpetrated by another family or household member; it does not make distinctions based on the relative mildness of the physical injury.
Disposition Of Your Case
Despite the seriousness of domestic violence charges, it is worth noting that Florida law does allow first-time offenders to avoid prosecution by entering into a pretrial diversion program for domestic violence, if they have no criminal record. Pretrial diversion programs can be difficult work; they are not easy. They mandate that their participants undergo counseling and pass checks as if on probation. If you make it through your program period with no new legal trouble, the original charges will be dropped. Failure to complete the program will mean your domestic violence charges will continue toward prosecution.
If you are prosecuted and convicted, your sentence may vary, as Florida does not charge people with domestic violence, per se; rather, they charge the underlying offense and use the domestic violence as a kind of sentence enhancement. State law only mandates five days in jail for those convicted of a domestic violence type crime, but if someone is found guilty of, say, domestic battery, they would also receive a sentence for that crime (generally a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail, plus fines and costs).
Call A West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Attorney
Domestic violence sometimes happens because of a loss of control, and sometimes because of deliberate premeditation – but Florida law does not differentiate between the two. If you have been arrested and charged with a crime of domestic violence, a West Palm Beach criminal attorney at the firm of Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A. can help you understand what you might face, and what your options are. Call our offices today to set up a consultation.