Domestic violence law, because of its unique sensitivity and goal of protecting specific vulnerable people, has rules (and penalties) which can look unlike any other area of criminal law. Even those who think that they understand criminal defense can often be surprised by unique aspects of domestic violence law, such as the state’s attorney making the decision to go ahead with a case independent of the complainant – in other worse, even if the target of the crime decides they don’t want to “press charges,” the case can – and often will – proceed without them.
What is criminal domestic violence?
Under the relevant Florida statute, domestic violence is assault, battery, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death, against a family member or member of the offender’s household. “Member of household” is broadly defined, including former spouses, other parents of a child of the offender’s, and people residing together as a family, regardless of whether they were ever married.
What elements of Florida law make domestic violence different from other crimes?
The Florida legislature has, over the years, attached significant additional penalties to domestic violence crimes. Bail is never available before your first appearance before a judge. Domestic violence cases have strict minimum jail terms, and any parole will always come with a mandatory “batterer’s intervention” course. Unless found not guilty, a domestic violence arrest cannot be expunged from your record. Additionally, a domestic violence arrest or conviction can have a bearing on your rights to concealed carry or own a firearm in Florida, and can also impact child custody. Violating an injunction against stalking is normally a first-degree misdemeanor, carrying a maximum sentence of one year; in a domestic violence case, it becomes a third-degree felony with a maximum sentence of five years.
Contact an Experienced St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Lawyer for More Information
When dealing with a class of crimes as complex and heavily punished as domestic violence, be sure to contact a law firm that has experience in this kind of case and equipped with the resources to fight for you. The St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyers of Khonsari Law Group has spent years serving as criminal defense attorneys in the St. Petersburg and greater Tampa Bay area. If you have been charged with a domestic violence-related offense, contact us today for a FREE, no-risk consultation at (727) 269-5300.