The state of Florida considers domestic violence as one of the most severe offenses. Any action that results in physical injury or death of a family or household member committed by another family or household member is defined as domestic violence. The offense can be assault, battery, or a criminal act. Additional crimes covered under domestic charges include false imprisonment, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, sexual assault, and sexual battery.
Getting in touch with an experienced Ocala domestic violence lawyer is very essential in a situation where you’re involved in a domestic violence charge. You could lose your right to movement and the ability to see your kids. In case the judge rules an injunction, you must understand how that works and the penalties you could incur. Also, remember that victims cannot withdraw the charges.
Florida Law Covers Family Members Living Together, Formerly or Currently
Domestic violence charges are not necessarily only against legally married spouses. The law also covers family members like:
- Divorced legal spouses
- Unmarried romantic partners
- Family members related by marriage or blood
- Any individuals who are now living or once lived together in the same household as a family
- Any individuals that have a child together even if they are not married or living in the same house
- Any individuals who once resided or currently reside in a common domicile
Penalties for Domestic Violence Depend on the Perpetrator’s Record
Punishments for domestic violence vary according to the perpetrator’s record of similar offenses. A prison term and counseling are only some of the penalties. For instance:
- 10 days in a county jail for a first offense
- 15 days jail term for the second offense
- 20 days county jail term or state prison term for the third and any subsequent offenses
The penalties can be more severe if a minor who is 16 years or younger is involved. If a child is present during the crime, the judge may choose to order a 30-day stay in a county jail or state prison for the third and any subsequent offenses. Perpetrators must also mandatorily enroll in a batterer’s intervention program and complete one-year probation. Community service hours and restrictions on carrying and using firearms may also be added to the penalties.
The Court May Pass Injunctions and No-Contact Orders
Injunctions and no contact orders are meant to provide immediate protection to the victims in domestic violence situations. Depending on sufficient evidence, the court may find that the victims need temporary or long-term protection.
- Restraining the offender and ordering them to stay away from the victims
- Removing the offender from the residence shared with the victims
- Mandating that the offender participate in counseling, additional treatment, and community service
What Happens at a Temporary Injunction and Subsequent Hearing
When the victim files a petition for protection, the court schedules a hearing where the judge hears the information provided by the legal representatives from both, the victim and offender. If the judge ascertains that the victim is in danger, they may issue a temporary injunction that remains valid until the next hearing date. At the hearing, the court reviews the facts of the situation in detail and explores statements provided by the parties. If the judge rules that a pattern of abuse exists and that the victim is in danger, they may order an injunction.
Violating an Injunction Carries Penalties Similar to First Degree Misdemeanor
Violating an injunction order carries penalties similar to that of a first degree misdemeanor. Offenders may continue to harass the victims in different ways, such as:
- Continuing to live in the residence shared with the victim
- Communicating or trying to communicate with the victim via email, texts, phones, or any other channel
- Making threats against the victim
- Additional domestic violence behavior
- Destroying the victim’s belongings
- Violating the 500-feet mandatory distance
Cyberstalking and repeated harassment after an injunction is considered a third felony offense and aggravated stalking. Offenders can expect penalties like a prison sentence of up to 5 years, probation of up to 5 years, and fines of up to $5,000.
You’ll Need the Advice of the Expert Legal Team at Smith & Eulo
Domestic violence charges should not be taken lightly. Considering that the case may go for a jury trial, you absolutely need experienced legal representation. Rely on the competent attorneys at Smith & Eulo to help safeguard your rights and possibly get the charges dismissed for lack of adequate evidence. Often, minor disputes and arguments spiral out of control, with one of the parties fearing for their safety. Trust in your lawyers’ expertise to present the facts of the case as they occurred and help you resolve the issue without any impact on your entire life and future.