There is a common misconception that a person facing a criminal charge for domestic violence will not be penalized if the victim elects not to press charges. This general misunderstanding seems to stem from the idea that victims of domestic abuse have some sort of influence on whether the State of Florida prosecutes these kinds of offenses or not. However, the reality is domestic violence victims cannot prevent the State from pressing charges against their abusers.
If you or someone you care about has been charged with a domestic violence crime in Florida, now is the time to seek legal counsel from a qualified attorney. With over 30 years of experience defending the rights of Floridians accused of domestic abuse, Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Gabriel understands what is necessary to mitigate the effects of these types of accusations. When you work with Mr. Gabriel, he will handle your case using all the knowledge and skill developed over the span of his more than triple-decade career.
What To Know About Prosecuting Domestic Violence Crimes in Florida
From the time the police are called to a domestic violence situation, there is a heavy pro-prosecution mentality. Whether the alleged victim, another family member, or a neighbor called the police, there is no turning back once law enforcement arrives.
Victims who sustain injuries from domestic violence abusers often do not wish to see their spouses in legal trouble. Many call out of fear, anger, or spite, failing to realize the consequences of their actions before it is too late. Once the police arrive, file a report, and issue charges, the incident becomes a case the State of Florida must investigate.
The prosecuting attorney will determine whether or not the domestic violence case will be prosecuted. Even in cases where the victim does not wish to press charges or refuses to cooperate with the prosecution, the prosecuting attorney may still decide to proceed with the case. If they feel there is sufficient evidence to support their case, they will most likely pursue charges.
Getting Domestic Violence Charges Dropped in Florida
Domestic violence acts are criminal actions that may not remain private matters once police become involved. Since it is the prosecuting attorney who files charges, only he or she may dismiss them. Working with a domestic violence defense lawyer may help convince a prosecutor to drop charges, but under no circumstances does a victim have any power to file or drop charges.
When choosing whether to submit motions to dismiss domestic violence charges, prosecuting attorneys may exercise discretion, but they are rarely swayed to do so. In general, prosecuting attorneys will only file motions to dismiss these cases if they determine that the evidence is unreliable or that it will be difficult to prove elements of the charge.
In some cases, a prosecuting attorney may also drop some charges as part of a plea deal with the defendant. This may occur when the defendant pleads guilty to the charges, which has long-term ramifications.
Potential Penalties for Domestic Battery
Domestic battery is a first-degree misdemeanor offense in the state of Florida. This means someone charged with this crime could face the following:
- Up to a year in jail
- Up to 12 months of probation
- A fine of up to $1,000
- Other mandatory penalties
While less severe than felony offenses, some misdemeanor offenses can do considerable damage. Domestic battery charges will likely show up on an employment background check, and even if you are never convicted, the charges may not be expunged nor sealed in Florida.
Work with an Experienced Domestic Battery Defense Lawyer in South Florida
Do not delay seeking strong legal representation for your domestic violence case. If you face a charge of domestic battery or a related charge, you may help your case by getting a domestic violence defense attorney in the West Palm Beach area involved early.
Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Gabriel may be able to request that certain types of evidence not be used at trial or challenge other types of evidence the State has against you. Mr. Gabriel will work diligently to have your charges dropped or to prevent you from entering a guilty plea.
Start with a free consultation today by calling Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Gabriel of The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel at (561) 622-5575. You can also complete an online contact form to learn more.