Domestic violence is a serious charge that should be addressed as quickly as possible. Domestic violence is an umbrella term that is usually part of another offense including battery, assault, stalking, kidnapping, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, and false imprisonment, among others. In many cases, it only takes one instance to create a domestic violence charge. In Florida, law enforcement may be required to make an arrest in cases where they have been called for a domestic situation. A conviction on domestic violence charges means severe penalties that will have a long-lasting negative impact. For this reason it is essential to fight to protect your rights.

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence often begins with minor disagreements between couples.  As the couple continues to argue over time the fights escalate. Everyone argues from time to time. But when the arguments escalate they can become physical and turn into domestic violence. Often, domestic violence may occur numerous times in a toxic relationship. Domestic violence doesn’t consist only of hitting another person. Many acts qualify as forms of domestic violence including such things as:

  • Loud arguing
  • Yelling and threatening
  • Throwing a drink on another person
  • Pushing someone out of the way

You do not need to live with someone to be charged with domestic violence. The law defines domestic violence as a violent act committed by one family member against another. However, the statute includes not only spouses, but also former spouses, blood relatives, people related through marriage (in-laws), children, and anyone who has a child in common. It also includes those who live together as a family or those who formerly lived as a family.

Penalties for Domestic Violence Convictions

Domestic violence crimes carry their own minimum and maximum penalties. In Florida, those accused with domestic violence are not allowed bond until the first appearance. This must occur within 48 hours after arrest. At the first appearance the judge will determine an appropriate bond. Additionally, the judge will usually order that there is no contact with the other person. This is known as a “no contact order”. If you have been living in the same house as the other person, you will not be allowed to continue living together. If convicted, you may face penalties that may include jail time, fines, and completion of a domestic violence class, and will be prohibited from owning a firearm. Additionally, the conviction will appear on your record which can harm you for many years to come.

What To Do If You’re Charged with Domestic Violence

First, if facing domestic violence charges it is important to seek assistance from an experienced attorney. Make sure that your lawyer is present whenever you are asked to speak to police. Your attorney will represent you at your initial hearing, where your bond will be set. He will also try to get the charges against you lowered or even dropped. The minimum jail time for domestic violence is 5 days. After this hearing your lawyer will work to protect your rights and defend your case as vigorously as possible. In some cases you may be provided with a plea deal. Your attorney will discuss this option with you before you make a decision. Domestic violence charges may prove to be false or unfounded. If so, it is essential to take action as quickly as possible to resolve the situation. A skilled attorney with experience in these matters will guide you through the process and assist you in how to proceed.