Defending Domestic Violence Allegations in Orlando, FL
Domestic violence allegations can often arise from heated arguments, either or both parties being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or when someone is trying to gain a more favorable position in child custody cases or divorces.
Domestic violence can be almost anything, and according to Florida Statutes § 741.28, it is any criminal offense that results in violence against another family member, person in household, or someone in a dating relationship that results in any kind of injury or death. Common domestic violence charges can arise from:
Orlando Domestic Violence Attorney
It is important to hire an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to help you avoid any serious repercussions that may arise from your domestic violence charge in Orlando, Florida. The attorneys at Hale, Hale & Jacobson will strive to help you receive the best possible outcome for your particular situation in Orange County. Maria D. Hale and Richard O. Hale will make every effort to help you avoid harsh punishments for your alleged offense. Call the law offices of Hale, Hale & Jacobson at (407) 425-4640 for a consultation today.
Orlando Domestic Violence Information Center
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Florida Domestic Violence Terms and Definitions
Protective Order Hearings – These court hearings are to determine if a protective order should be put in effect for a dating or family relationship. The alleged offender is able to present their case and any witnesses they may have to the court.
Cyberstalking – is communicating with a specific person through e-mail that causes substantial emotional distress to that person, and there is no purpose to the communication except to harass them.
Dating Violence – is violence between two people who have a continuing intimate and romantic relationship, or have had had one within the past six months. The relationship must have involved some kind of affection or sexual intimacy, and the interaction between the parties must have been for a continuous period of time. This type of violence does not include casual relationships or violence between people in business or social relationships.
Domestic Violence Injunction – is a court order prohibiting someone from doing something, or requiring them to do something. This can also be known as a protective order or restraining order.
Family or Household Member – can be a spouse, former spouse, person related by blood or marriage, people who had a child together, or someone who resides with someone else as a family member or has resided with that person in the past.
Harass - means to direct certain conduct to a specific person that causes that person severe emotional distress, and there is no real purpose to the conduct.
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Domestic Violence Offenses and Florida Statutes
- Assault is the intentional act of violence, or threat to cause violence, to someone else. A person who assaults someone has to apparently be able to commit the act they are threatening to do, and the intended victim has to be fearful the act is going to happen in the near future (Fla. Stat. § 784.011).
- Aggravated Assault (Fla. Stat. § 784.021) is an assault that involves a deadly weapon without intending to kill the victim, or an assault that was intended to cause a felony against the victim.
- Battery (Fla. Stat. § 784.03) is defined as actually touching someone else and intentionally touching them against their will; or touching someone with an intent to cause harm against them.
- Felony Battery is a battery that causes great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to the victim (Fla. Stat. § 784.041).
- Domestic Battery by Strangulation (Fla. Stat. § 784.041(2)(a)) is knowingly and intentionally preventing the normal breathing or circulation of someone against their will. The action has to cause great bodily harm to the victim, and the victim must be either a family or household member or a person in dating relationship.
- Aggravated Battery is a battery committed with a deadly weapon. The person who commits the battery has to intentionally, or knowingly, cause great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement to the victim. It can also be a battery upon a pregnant woman that the offender knew or should have known was pregnant (Fla. Stat. § 784.045).
- Stalking is defined as the willful, malicious repeated following, harassing or cyberstalking of another person (Fla. Stat. § 784.048).
- Aggravated Stalking (Fla. Stat. § 784.048(3)) is stalking someone and making a threat against that person that causes them to reasonably fear death or bodily injury.
- A Violation of Domestic Violence Injunction can occur if someone willfully refuses to vacate the shared home; goes to the petitioner’s work, school, or residence; commits an act of domestic violence against the petitioner; contacts the petitioner; comes within a certain distance of the petitioner’s vehicle, or destroys the petitioner’s personal property (Fla. Stat. § 741.31 (4)(a)).
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Penalties for Florida Domestic Violence Charges
Domestic charges can range anywhere from simple misdemeanor charges with minimal fines and jail time to felony charges that can incur longer prison sentences and steeper fines.
Misdemeanor of the Second Degree – Typically, domestic assault charges are misdemeanors of the second degree, and punishments can include jail time up to 60 days, and/or a fine up to $500.
Misdemeanor of the First Degree – Domestic violence charges that are this degree of misdemeanor are violations of injunctions, domestic battery and stalking. Punishments for this misdemeanor can be jail time up to one year and/or fines not exceeding $1,000.
Felony of the Third Degree – Aggravated domestic assault, domestic battery, felony domestic battery, domestic battery by strangulation, and aggravated stalking are all felonies of the third degree. Penalties for these felonies are imprisonment for up to five years, and/or fines up to $5,000.
Felony of the Second Degree – Aggravated domestic battery is a felony of the second degree, and can incur prison sentences up to 15 years, and/or fines not to exceed $10,000.
Probation – anyone who has pled guilty, nolo contendere, or have had a judgment withheld for any domestic violence charge must be placed on probation for one year.
Batterer’s Intervention Program – this is required for all people who plead guilty, nolo contendere, or have had a judgment withheld to any domestic violence charge, unless the court determines the program is not needed.
Minimum Imprisonment – If the court finds an alleged offender guilty of a domestic violence charge that resulted in intentional bodily harm to the victim, the offender must serve at least five days in jail. This is only the minimum sentence, and the court can actually impose a much longer sentence, probation, or community control.
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Defenses to Florida Domestic Violence Charges
Domestic violence allegations can arise from many situations, but the charges can have a lasting effect on someone who is convicted of domestic violence. It is important to have an attorney help you identify possible defenses in order to avoid lasting repercussions.
Self Defense – Sometimes an alleged victim of domestic violence may have actually been the person who instigated the domestic violence. If you were provoked or attacked, self defense may have been necessary to use. In these situations, it is important to hire an attorney to represent your best interest, and demonstrate you were actually the victim and needed to use self defense.
Defense of Others – It may be necessary to use physical force to prevent someone you have a family relationship with if you reasonably believed they were going to cause harm to someone else.
False Allegations – Sometimes alleged victims will falsely claim a person they have a family relationship with committed domestic violence against them. There are a number of reasons they can make these false allegations. For example, they may do it out of spite, to gain custody of a child or children, or when they are going through a messy divorce. No matter what the reason is, an attorney will be able to help you defend against these false allegations and possibly have your charges dropped.
Lack of Intent - Intent to cause injury to someone else is a required element for many domestic violence charges. If the alleged offender did not have the required intent, their charges could be dismissed or reduced to a less serious charge.
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Resources in Orlando for Domestic Violence
An Abuse, Rape, Domestic Violence Aid and Resource Collection – AARDVARC is a national non-profit organization dedicated to educating victims of domestic violence, providing resources about domestic violence, and combating domestic violence. The web site has resources for Orange County, Osceola County, Seminole County, and surrounding counties in Orlando.
Florida Department of Children and Families – This Florida governmental unit protects vulnerable individuals, promotes economically self-sufficient and strong families, and advances personal and family recovery. The office serving Orange County victims is located at:
Circuit 9 Administrator’s Office
400 W. Robinson Street, S-1106
Orlando, Florida 32801
Phone: (407) 317-7000
Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence – This statewide organization’s goal is to create a violence free world and empower women and children by eliminating personal violence. The organization also provides education, training, assistance and support to local domestic violence programs. An Orange County shelter is located at:
Harbor House of Central Florida
P.O. Box 680748
Orlando, Florida 32868
Phone: (407) 886-2856
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Hale, Hale & Jacobson | Orlando Domestic Violence Arrest Lawyer
Contact the law offices of Hale, Hale & Jacobson today for a consultation about your domestic violence offense in Orlando, Florida. It is important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you find possible defenses and mitigating factors in your particular case. Contact Hale, Hale & Jacobson at (407) 425-4640 for a consultation about your domestic violence charge in Orange County and surrounding areas, including Seminole County, Osceola County, Orlando, Winter Park and Kissimmee.
Contributor: Richard Hale