Domestic Violence is an intricate part of the law and an unfortunate circumstance for those who are affected by it. There are a number of offenses that you can be charged with when it comes to Domestic Violence. Under Florida Statute 784.03, battery is defined as occurring when a person: Actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other; or intentionally causes bodily harm to another person. It becomes classified as Battery, Domestic Violence when it is allegedly committed against one family or household member by another family or household member. It can also include non-blood or relative through marriage who are living together as a family or if they had lived together in the past. If you are charged under the above mentioned statute number, it is a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one (1) year in jail and or a one-thousand ($1,000.00) fine.
There are a number of other charges that can be filed under the domestic violence scheme. These include but are not limited to assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, felony battery, domestic battery by strangulation and false imprisonment. The penalties can range from a misdemeanor to a first degree felony.
If you are charged with any of the above mentioned crimes, there are a number of things that may happen. First, after arrest, along with a bond amount, you may have numerous conditions regarding your pre-trial release. More than likely, you will have a “no-contact” provision with the alleged victim, and depending on the severity or number of priors the Defendant may have, a G.P.S. monitoring device could be imposed. If you find yourself in this position, there are a number of things that we can do for you. First, we can move to modify the conditions of your pre-trial release. This means that we can amend the “no-contact order” to a “no-hostile contact” order. This amendment would allow you to be in contact with the alleged victim, but only under amicable conditions. We can also attempt to have the G.P.S. device removed as well. This can be accomplished through motion and usually by victim cooperation or Defendant hardship.
During the case, if there is reconciliation between the parties, the victim can file a “declination of prosecution” with the State Attorney’s Office. This document is a sworn instrument in which the victim states he or she wishes not to prosecute the case. More often than not, when the State Attorney realizes that the victim wishes not to prosecute, the case will be dismissed. However, there are times when the State will continue with the case.
Recently, I tried a case where our client was charged with Battery, Domestic Violence. The alleged victim in the case wished not to prosecute and expressed her wishes to the Assistant State Attorney. However, there were eyewitnesses to the event and 911 tapes that contained the victims call. In this scenario, the State moved forward with their eyewitness and the tape. During trial, the witness testified to what he saw and the 911 tapes were played to the jury. Despite their recollections, the jury came back with a verdict of not guilty.
Battery Domestic Violence is an intricate part of criminal law. Civil injunctions may be imposed and you can face numerous sanctions, including jail-time, if the case is not handled in the proper fashion. Our office has handled thousands of these cases and hundreds of civil injunction cases. If you find yourself in one of these situations, please call our office for help.
-Christopher Atcachunas, Esq.