Emotions often run high in families and relationships, and it is not uncommon for a heated argument to escalate into something more. Domestic violence is a violent act or threat of violence that occurs within a family or other domestic relationship: for example, one family member strikes another, forces a spouse or partner into unwanted sexual intercourse, confines or imprisons a member of the household, or stalks an estranged romantic partner. Historically, domestic violence was often ignored. Because of this history and heightened awareness in today’s society, the pendulum has swung in the other direction. Today in Florida, domestic violence is taken very seriously, and a conviction may bring enhanced penalties, making it possible to punish the alleged perpetrator more harshly than if the victim was not someone in a domestic relationship with him or her.
A Tampa domestic violence lawyer knows false accusations of domestic violence are not uncommon. An aggrieved and angry spouse may retaliate for infidelity or some other unwanted behavior by a partner by calling the police and wrongfully reporting an act of violence. Because domestic crime has become so highly politicized in recent years, police are not given the discretion whether to file charges or not. If they are called out to investigate an allegation of domestic violence, if there is any chance at all that it may have occurred, someone must be charged, even if the accuser recants. Only the prosecutor may decide to drop the charges.
Enhanced Domestic Violence Penalties in Florida
On top of the penalties for a given crime if the accused is not involved in a domestic relationship with the victim, the following enhanced penalties may be added to the normal ones provided by Florida statutes:
- Five days minimum in jail
- Participation in a mandatory intervention program for batterers, lasting up to 29 weeks
- Inability to ever have the record sealed or expunged
- Loss of the right to own a firearm
- Revocation of the accused’s concealed weapons permit
- Restraining order and expulsion from the family home
Underlying Causes of Domestic Violence Reports
Domestic violence charges are different from others because they are often intertwined with social, emotional, and psychological problems on the part of the victim, the accused, or both.
- Child custody disputes
- Incompatible views on parenting
- Separation and divorce
- Substance abuse
- Mental health issues
- Legal proceedings to obtain an injunction
The frustrations and emotional bruises that often occur in these situations can lead to actual domestic violence or a false accusation.
You Need Highly Skilled Defense
A domestic violence conviction can destroy your family and result in a permanent criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life. It is therefore important to obtain the best available defense by hiring a very experienced attorney to represent you. These cases can be very tricky, but defenses are available, for example:
- The act was done in defense of oneself or another person.
- The alleged act was so minimal that it should not be deemed a criminal offense.
- The allegation was entirely false and could not have been committed by the defendant.
Compassionate Legal Representation
If you have been accused of domestic violence, you potentially have a great deal to lose, including your freedom, your family, and your home and financial assets. Never try to fight these charges alone. Having a compassionate and skilled Tampa domestic violence lawyer working for you can make a tremendous difference in the outcome for you and your family.
In the Tampa Bay Area, don’t wait to Hanlon Law. Will understands the legal and emotional factors involved in volatile domestic situations and can often work out solutions that benefit all parties and lead to having charges dismissed. If this is not a possibility, he will aggressively pursue the best available defense to prevent you from suffering the dire consequences of a domestic violence conviction.
For more than 25 years, Will has fought and won these cases for his clients. Don’t take a chance by trying to go it alone, and don’t rely on an overworked public defender. Call the law offices of criminal defense attorney Will Hanlon in Tampa immediately to protect all that you hold dear.