If you’re a victim of domestic violence or if you’ve been wrongly accused of committing an act of domestic violence, you can trust that Smith & Eulo’s Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys will ensure your protection. In Jacksonville, charges for domestic violence have long-lasting consequences, and they’re not eligible for expungement from the perpetrator’s permanent record.
In the United States, domestic violence affects around 10 million people, and we understand that these situations require timeliness and delicacy. Smith & Eulo provides experienced legal representation for victims and the accused alike in Jacksonville, Florida.
What qualifies as domestic violence?
According to Florida State Statute 741.28, domestic violence is “an instance of assault, battery, or criminal act that results in the physical injury or death of a family or household member by another family or household member.”
It’s important to note that “family or household member” covers a broad range of relationships, include:
- Ex-partners or spouses
- People living together as a family
- Co-parents of a child
Various domestic violence acts include:
- Domestic battery and aggravated battery
- Domestic assault and aggravated assault
- Kidnapping and false imprisonment
- Elderly Abuse
- Harassment, stalking, and aggravated stalking
- Restraining order and no-contact order violations
- Sexual battery, rape, and other sex offenses,
What can I do after I’ve been domestically abused?
Victims of domestic abuse can pursue injunctions to be temporarily or permanently placed against their abuser. Florida courts pass these injunctions for victims of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual violence, and repeat violence. An injunction, or a no-contact order, is passed to protect the victim. These orders convey the following restrictions against an abuser:
- The abuser cannot contact the victim or go near them
- The abuser cannot return to any shared home with the victim
- The offender must go into counseling or complete community service
The process for getting an injunction passed can be complex without the aid of an attorney. When the victim asks the court for a protection order against their abuser, a hearing is scheduled where the judge will review the facts of the situation, and decide whether to lengthen a temporary injunction or not.
A temporary injunction will last only 15 days, during which time the hearing is scheduled to determine the need for a permanent injunction based on “clear and convincing” evidence and any charges or domestic violence that need to be filed against her.
What types of injunctions are there?
There are 5 types of domestic violence injunctions that can be passed based on relationship dynamics between the victim and the abuser.
- Domestic Violence Injunction is for spouses, former spouses, people related by blood or marriage, people living together, and people that share a child
- Repeat Violence injunction is for situations where two or more violent acts have happened in the past 6 months before filing an injunction
- Sexual Violence Injunction is for violent sexual acts
- Dating Violence Injunctions are appropriate when violence occurs between two individuals who had a romantic/intimate relationship in the 6 months before the injunction petition.
- Stalking Violence Injunction are used when someone is repeatedly being followed or harassed by another individual for no reason
What if I’ve been accused of domestic violence?
If you’ve been wrongly accused of domestic violence, an experienced attorney can help you avoid the long-term consequences of a conviction or an injunction.
Injunctions keep you from being around your family and home, and they can affect outcomes of child custody and support. Additionally, violating the conditions of your release or injection can result in a first degree misdemeanor which is punishable with up to one year in jail, one year on probation, and up to $1,000 in fines. Injunctions also put forth the following restrictions:
- Refusing to leave the residence shared with the victim
- Not respecting the 500 feet mandatory distance
- Communicating or attempting to communicate with the victim via phone, text, email, or any other
- Threatening the victim
- Destroying property belonging to the victim
- Any additional domestic violence acts
By working with an attorney they can craft a strong defense against any charges of domestic violence and claim that any action that occurred was the result of self-defense, standing your ground, defense of others, or mutual combat.
What are the punishments for domestic violence?
Domestic violence offenders that are found guilty of domestic violence can expect some stay in jail. However, their terms in either county or state prison will depend on their history of criminal acts.
- First offenses generally result in 10 days in a county jail
- Second offenses can lead to 15-day jail terms
- Third and further offenses can lead to 20-day county jail term or state prison term
Jail time will increase if a minor was present during the domestic violence act. The judgment will default to 30 days in jail or more, depending on the judge. Additionally, there will be mandatory enrollment in a batterer’s intervention program, plus at least one year of probation. Additional penalties include community service and firearm restrictions.
Domestic Violence Lawyers in Jacksonville
Domestic violence crimes are likely to go to court. With the help of the experienced lawyers at Smith & Eulo in Jacksonville, we can help you achieve the outcome that ensures your protection, safety, and peace of mind.
Here are some additional legal resources in the Jacksonville area to help you navigate your legal situation.