If you or a loved one is facing charges of domestic battery, you need to take immediate action. Being convicted of a domestic violence-related crime in Florida can have severe and far-reaching consequences, so you will need an attorney’s expertise to guide you through the rigorous criminal justice system.
This article will help you understand Florida’s laws on domestic battery and how a lawyer can assist you after being charged. Take the time to read it thoroughly and learn more about what an attorney can do for you.
Understanding Domestic Battery
In Florida, domestic battery is defined as intentionally striking or touching a family member, domestic partner, or household member against their will. For you to be convicted of domestic battery, the prosecutor must first show that you had the intention of causing unwanted touching or bodily harm.
Once you get arrested for any domestic violence-related crime, you cannot get released by paying a bail amount. You will be jailed for some time until your first court appearance. The court will also investigate your records to determine if you have committed any other offenses.
The judge will consider your criminal history and background when setting a bond during your first court appearance.
If you are convicted of a domestic violence crime, you may go to jail. However, many first-time offenders are sentenced lightly and may be able to avoid jail time altogether by contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Even though some domestic battery cases result from false accusations by previous partners, it would be best to avoid resolving the issue on your own. Getting in touch with a lawyer as soon as you are arrested is your best option.
Penalties for Domestic Battery in Florida
In the state of Florida, domestic battery is considered a first-degree misdemeanor. Although the consequences of misdemeanors are not as severe as felonies, you can still face up to a year of imprisonment, probation, and a fine of up to $1,000.
Because of the ‘domestic’ nature of the crime, you will face additional mandatory penalties that the state imposes if you are convicted. In Florida, these penalties include;
- Participation in a Batterer’s Intervention Program for 26 weeks
- Community service
- Loss of the right to carry a concealed firearm
- Loss of the right to own a firearm while on probation
If you have a previous record of a battery conviction, the state will charge you with felony domestic battery, which carries much more severe penalties and consequences.
Additionally, a domestic battery conviction cannot be sealed or expunged from your record. In other words, if you plead guilty or no contest to a domestic violence charge, you will have a lifetime criminal record for that offense, making it difficult to get a job, find housing, or get approved for loans.
What a Domestic Violence Attorney Can Do For You
Here are several ways an attorney can help you:
Understanding the Charges and Penalties
Being charged with any crime can be traumatic for anyone. If it’s your first time being arrested, this stressful situation will likely leave you upset and confused, so it is essential to consult a lawyer immediately. An attorney will help you understand the charges being brought against you and the penalties they carry.
Thoroughly understanding what’s at stake when facing charges will allow you to decide what you should do next. Attorneys have extensive knowledge of the law and can give you valuable advice during the entire process.
Formulating a Defense Strategy
Hiring an attorney is the first step of an effective defense strategy as you’re actively showing the prosecutor that you’re prepared to contest the charges.
After explaining your charges, your attorney will start developing an appropriate defense strategy for your case. Remember that each case is unique, and the approach your lawyer will employ depends on the circumstances and facts involved in your case.
During the early stages of the case, your lawyer will try to get the charges dismissed altogether. However, if they are unable to do so, they will attempt to reduce your charges by negotiating with the prosecutor.
Negotiating with the Prosecutor
Your lawyer will negotiate with the prosecutor if there is enough evidence against you. During negotiations, your attorney will try to get you a lighter sentence or reduced charges. Although they will handle most of the talking, you can rest assured that your lawyer has your best interests in mind.
Preparing for Trial
If your attorney and the prosecutor cannot reach a deal, your case may go to trial. Legal proceedings can be intimidating, but you can rest assured that your lawyer will have an effective strategy prepared to defend you in court.
Appealing the Court’s Decision
If you are convicted, you have the right to appeal the decision. Your attorney will walk you through the entire process and help you file the necessary paperwork. Presenting your case to an appeals court will give you another chance to overturn the decision and reach a more favorable outcome.
When Facing Charges, Always Consult An Attorney
A criminal defense attorney can assist you in navigating the tedious processes involved with a domestic battery case. Given the various defense strategies that lawyers can employ to help you avoid a conviction, it is essential that you immediately contact an attorney to resolve your case.
An experienced attorney can help you further understand the charges against you. They will work with you to formulate an effective defense strategy that will get you a favorable result, whether a plea bargain or a dismissal of the charges.
Facing any criminal charge can be a stressful and challenging experience for anyone. Several proceedings and processes must be followed strictly, and you may be ill-equipped to deal with them yourself. Consequently, it is crucial that you consult an attorney as soon as you can to get the best possible outcome for your case.
Contact our attorneys at Hanlon Law in Sarasota to discuss your options and find out what services we can offer you.
1605 Main St Ste 1115
Sarasota, FL 34236