Orlando Domestic Violence Lawyer
Domestic violence is one of the most common criminal charges in the State of Florida. It is also taken extremely seriously by Florida police and prosecutors. Domestic violence has gained significant public attention, and Florida prosecutors and courts are more than happy to throw the book at an alleged abuser in order to “set an example.” Penalties for domestic violence charges can be severe, including jail time, restraining orders, and large fines. A domestic violence conviction can follow a defendant for life, affecting their ability to get a job, their child custody rights, and their immigration status, among other things.
If you are facing domestic violence charges in Florida, you need an experienced Orlando domestic violence lawyer on your side. A seasoned criminal defense attorney at the Joshi Law Firm, PA can help you understand your options, negotiate with prosecutors, build a strong legal defense, and provide you with comprehensive legal representation at every step of your case.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence refers to aggressive behavior perpetrated against another member of the alleged aggressor’s household. Domestic violence is not limited to spousal abuse, although that is one form of domestic violence. Rather, in Florida, domestic violence refers to a variety of violent, aggressive, or harassing conduct committed against current or former romantic partners, members of the defendant’s household (cohabitants), relatives, a co-parent, and others connected by family.
Domestic violence allegations can lead to civil proceedings, criminal proceedings, or both. Domestic violence charges are typically based on an underlying crime committed against a qualifying victim. The underlying criminal conduct that can give rise to domestic violence charges include:
- Assault and battery
- Stalking, harassment, and aggravated stalking
- Sexual assault, sexual battery, and other sex offenses
- Kidnapping and false imprisonment
- Elder abuse
- Any criminal offense resulting in injury or death to a family member or household member
Penalties for Domestic Violence
The penalties for domestic violence conviction can be severe and wide-ranging, leading not only to fines and incarceration but also secondary consequences for child custody disputes, divorce proceedings, immigration, weapon carry permits, and others. At a minimum, any person convicted of domestic violence in Florida who intentionally caused bodily harm to another person will serve at least five days in county jail. Depending on the circumstances, the court can impose a lengthy prison sentence, community service, counseling for drug, alcohol, or anger issues, probation, fines, and other penalties. The severity of the penalties will depend on several factors including the seriousness of the underlying offense (e.g., harassment vs. arson), the defendant’s criminal history, and the injury caused to the victim.
How do Restraining Orders/Injunctions for Protection Work?
Domestic violence can also serve as grounds for an injunction for protection in Florida, elsewhere called a restraining order. To obtain an injunction, the alleged victim files a petition in civil court asking for restrictions on the alleged aggressor’s behavior. An injunction can restrict the subject’s ability to contact or communicate with the alleged victim and can set limitations on where the subject can physically go (for example, they may be prohibited from going to the alleged victim’s home or work, and they may be forced to move out of their own home that they share with the victim).
Violating an injunction can lead to additional criminal charges and jail time. Moreover, testimony obtained during the civil proceeding can be used against the defendant in a separate criminal case for domestic violence. Talk to your domestic violence defense attorney to discuss how best to approach both cases in order to protect yourself against Fifth Amendment violations and self-incrimination.
Domestic Violence Charges and Child Custody
Domestic violence charges, especially when they result in a conviction, have significant consequences that go beyond the criminal justice system. If you are currently or later find yourself in a custody battle, as part of a divorce or otherwise, a domestic violence conviction can impact your parental rights.
Florida courts make determinations about child custody based on the best interests of the children. That analysis, in turn, incorporates many different factors. One of those factors, and one that weighs heavily on the court, is any demonstrable history of domestic violence. If you and your co-parent disagree about custody and the court is left to decide, a conviction for domestic violence is likely to be strong evidence toward limiting your physical and legal custodial rights. For that reason, it’s all the more important to understand your rights and present the strongest case possible in your domestic violence criminal matter and avoid additional long-term consequences of a conviction.
Trusted Advice and Representation from a Seasoned Florida Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
The Orlando domestic violence lawyers at the Joshi Law Firm, PA are ready to fight for you, your family, and your rights. Please contact our office for further inquiry or if you would like to set up a consultation. Call today at 407-661-1109 to start building your case.