Domestic Battery

Delray Beach Domestic Battery Lawyer

Have you been charged with some type of domestic violence?  Are you looking for a domestic battery attorney in Delray Beach or the surrounding area?  If so, you already know how chaotic and alarming domestic violence charges can be.  In addition to worrying about the outcome of any criminal charges, allegations of domestic violence, whether or not it occurred, indicate significant family problems that can impact your as much as, if not more than, your criminal charges.

The experienced Delray Beach area domestic battery criminal defense attorneys at Demand the Limits are well aware that domestic violence is a serious social issue.  The state of Florida, like many other states, is embracing awareness of this serious social issue and zealously prosecuting domestic violence offenders.  This is a great example of a policy with great intentions, but where the consequences might be different than what was intended.  As a social issue, domestic violence focuses on an imbalance of power, with the violence used to intimidate, coerce, and control one partner.  In other words, it is considered systemic and pervasive issue.  However, from a legal standpoint, domestic violence does not refer only to recurring violent behavior, but to any specific or isolated incidence of violence between family members, no matter how minor.

What You Should Know

You may wonder what domestic violence is and how a domestic battery charge differs from a general charge or battery or assault.  Under Florida law, domestic violence is considered any one of a number of specific crimes committed by one family our household member against another family or household member.

The crimes that fall under domestic violence include: assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual battery, stalking, aggravating stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any other criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death.

The term family or household member is interpreted broadly.  It includes all people related by blood or marriage, spouses and former spouses, people who are living together as a family or who have previously lived together as a family, and people who are parents of a child in common.  Generally, for domestic violence charges to apply, the family or household members must be living together or have previously resided together; but there is an exception for parents of a child in common, they are considered family members even if they have never been married or cohabitated.

Because domestic violence is a serious issue that often has deadly consequences, the police are trained to respond aggressively to domestic violence.  When the police receive a report of domestic violence, they will generally make an arrest, and this arrest is not usually dependent upon whether the complaining party wants to press charges.  Instead, the officers are trained to look at all of the circumstances surrounding the arrest.  Once the arrest has been made, the officers are no longer involved in the decision to prosecute; the Office of the State Attorney makes the decision whether or not to prosecute.  While they may consider the complainant’s desires, it is important to keep in mind that the complainant’s desires will not be dispositive. The complainant does not have to agree to prosecute and does not even have to participate in the prosecution in order for the state to secure a conviction.

Once considered a “family issue” domestic violence is now recognized as a serious problem, which means that the penalties for domestic violence can be very significant.  Of course, there are criminal consequences to a domestic battery charge.  Potential criminal penalties include probation, community control, jail time, required participation in a Batterers Intervention Program, and revocation of your concealed weapons permit.

However, the criminal consequences of at least minor domestic violence charges are not necessarily the most daunting part of facing a domestic violence charge.  They treated differently than most other types of criminal charges.  For example, you cannot seal or expunge your arrest record, even if a judge withholds adjudication.  Domestic violence charges can lead to deportation or removal proceedings by ICE if you are not an American citizen.  In addition, there are a number of potential civil consequences of a domestic violence conviction.

The most common civil consequence of a domestic violence conviction is that the complainant will also request a restraining order against you.  The restraining order can order you not to contact the complainant and require you to stay a certain distance from the complainant, which can have the practical impact of requiring you to move out of a shared residence.  While the civil proceeding for a restraining order is separate from the criminal proceeding for any criminal charges, it is important to keep in mind that evidence in either proceeding may end up being admissible in other proceedings.

Another type of civil proceeding that might address issues of domestic violence is a divorce proceeding or a custody lawsuit.  Just like the civil restraining order proceedings, there are no Fifth Amendment protections that apply directly in a divorce case.  However, that does not mean that you cannot invoke your rights against self-incrimination if there is a pending criminal matter.  As a result, even though a civil proceeding does not have civil consequences, we strongly advise that you consult with an attorney before any domestic violence civil proceedings.  If you have domestic battery charges and have any questions about how to proceed in a civil suit that might touch on issues of domestic violence, we urge you to contact the South Florida domestic battery attorneys at Demand the Limits for a free consultation.

If you have been accused of domestic violence, you may have found that your usual support network has disappeared.  Society has a very binary way of viewing domestic violence, and if you actually engaged in the violence, you may be spiraling into a cycle of self-loathing and regret.  This cycle can cause some defendants to feel guilty if they hire a great lawyer to defend them against the charges.  While we in no way condone domestic violence, we also understand that violent behavior does not happen in a vacuum.  Otherwise very good people have committed acts of domestic violence and gone on to have happy, healthy, productive, violence-free relationships.  That is why, instead of viewing these charges as the end of your life, we urge our clients to view them as an opportunity to improve their lives.

Contact Our Delray Beach Domestic Battery Lawyers

Defending against domestic violence can be difficult, especially if the evidence of the violence is not simply a he-said/ she-said scenario.  It is even possible for prosecutors to get a conviction without any participation by the complainant.  However, some of the more serious complications of a domestic violence charge are outside of the criminal realm.  The reality is that most people want to have safe and healthy family relationships and that an incidence of domestic violence indicates an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.  The criminal justice system is probably not the ideal place to work out those issues.  That is why you need an experienced domestic violence attorney.  Let one of our Delray Beach Domestic Battery Lawyers focus on the legal repercussions of the charges you are facing, so that you can focus on doing whatever you need to do in order to restore your life to normal.

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