West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Lawyer
Providing Domestic Violence Defense Throughout Jupiter and West Palm Beach
Domestic violence is a serious crime that occurs between family or household members. The definition of a “family or household member” is quite broad in the state of Florida. This can include a spouse, relative, or someone you are living with or dating, or someone with whom you share a child regardless of whether you are currently living together. Statute §741.28 of the 2018 Florida Statutes defines domestic violence as one of several crimes that falls under the “domestic abuse” umbrella. These offenses are violent offenses that result in injury or death and occur between family members or household members.
Domestic violence cases wreak havoc on families and intimate partners and can often arise out of frustration or in the “heat of the moment.” If you have been charged with any domestic violence crime, you need the representation of a tough domestic violence lawyer who can vouch for you.
Florida Domestic Violence Laws
Who, exactly, is a “household member” per the state’s domestic violence laws? Section §741.28 of the Florida Statutes defines family or household members as people who are related in a multitude of ways:
- Any person related by blood or marriage, including sons, daughters, stepsons, stepdaughters, grandchildren, fathers and mothers
- People who live together as a family
- People who have lived together as a family
- People who share a child, whether or not they currently live together, or have lived together in the past
As you can see, domestic violence charges in Florida do not occur solely between married persons or blood relatives. If two people live together but are not married, violence charges may be prosecuted as domestic violence charges. The statute also defines “dating violence” as violence that occurs between people who have or have had a romantic relationship within the last 6 months but who do not necessarily live together.
Types of Domestic Violence Charges
Many offenses can fall beneath the domestic abuse umbrella. All the following charges can be prosecuted as domestic violence crimes:
- Aggravated Assault
- Aggravated Battery
- Sexual Assault
- Sexual Battery
- Aggravated Stalking
- False Imprisonment
In addition, any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death can result in a domestic violence charge when it occurs between household or family members. When it comes to a domestic violence charge, a guilty plea will keep your offense on your record for life. A person who commits an act of domestic violence battery or another related crime of violence as described in Section §741.28 is ineligible to have his or her record expunged or sealed, which is why the sooner you get a dedicated defense attorney like Brian Gabriel of The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel involved in your defense, the better the outcome of your case can be.
Injunctions for Protection Against Domestic Violence
Any person who believes he or she may become a victim of an act of domestic violence or who has been the target of domestic violence attacks in the past has the right to seek a protective order from the court called a domestic violence injunction. The purpose of an injunction is to help abused spouses or partners stay safe during volatile periods of their relationship. An injunction is a court order that prohibits a person from taking certain actions; in a domestic violence situation, the order prevents the alleged abuser from doing harm to the victim.
In determining whether a person has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger, the court must consider the following relevant factors:
- The relationship history between the petitioner (the alleged victim) and the respondent (the alleged abuser) including threats, harassment, stalking, and physical abuse
- Whether the respondent has attempted to harm the petitioner, the petitioner’s family members or close friends
- Whether the respondent has threatened to kidnap or harm the petitioner’s children
- Whether the respondent has intentionally injured or killed a family pet
- Whether the respondent has used or threatened to use any weapons against the petitioner
- Whether the respondent has a criminal history involving violence or threatening violence
- Whether the respondent has destroyed the personal property of the petitioner
A court can enforce the injunction if the abusing partner violates its terms. Violating the terms of an injunction for protection against domestic violence can lead to a criminal charge.
Consequences of Domestic Violence Charges
Domestic violence crimes can be misdemeanor and felony offenses depending on the specific offense with which you are charged. This means you could spend time in jail, prison, on probation or a combination of both incarceration and probation. You may also be expected to pay steep fines. For domestic violence specifically, you could be expected to spend a minimum of 5 days in jail if convicted. You can also lose your right to carry a firearm for life, even for a misdemeanor domestic abuse charge. Additionally, domestic violence charges are unique in that if you are arrested for this crime, you are subject to a “no bond” policy. This means that you cannot immediately post bond until you have attended your first court appearance. It is also very difficult to have charges dropped as it is up to the state to drop domestic violence charges; alleged victims have no power to drop the charges against you.
Protect Yourself Against Damaging Allegations of Domestic Violence
A domestic violence charge can change not only your family’s but your entire community’s perspective of you. Even if no formal conviction takes place, the fact that you were once charged for an offense that carries such a strong stigma can affect the rest of your life. Your alleged victim may also try to win an injunction against you, which might keep you out of the house you share and away from your children. If you face one or more domestic violence charges, talk to an experienced lawyer who defends these accusations today.
Attorney Brian Gabriel has defended those accused of criminal offenses for more than 25 years throughout South Florida and is a Top 100 Trial Lawyer with the National Trial Lawyers. He has made it a point in his career to stand up for those facing charges for serious offenses like domestic violence and holds a favorable reputation throughout the Palm Beach County legal community. Contact The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel or call 561-622-5575 for a free consultation.