Millions of domestic violence cases are reported each year. While these are some of the most common offenses, they are complex and can result in a wide variety of charges and penalties. Let’s go over what you could expect after a domestic violence incident results in your arrest.
What is Domestic Violence?
A common misconception is that domestic violence only occurs when someone physically assaults their romantic partner. While this is undoubtedly an example of domestic violence, numerous other types exist.
Someone may be charged with domestic violence for:
- Physical abuse
- Mental abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial abuse
Domestic violence charges may stem from one specific incident or a long-term pattern of behavior.
Additionally, domestic violence doesn’t only occur between romantic partners. Someone may commit domestic violence if they commit any of the above offenses against:
- Their spouse or former spouse
- Their current or former partner
- A relative by blood or through marriage
- A roommate or former roommate
- A co-parent
Domestic Violence Arrests in Florida
Some states follow mandatory arrest policies for domestic violence calls. This means that when the police are called to the scene of a domestic incident, they are required to make an arrest if there is probable cause that a crime has occurred.
In Florida, however, they do not follow mandatory arrest guidelines for domestic violence. Instead, they may make an arrest in cases where they believe domestic violence has occurred. The state also discourages Florida police from making mutual arrests. This means that they discourage them from arresting both parties involved in the domestic violence offense.
If an arrest is made at the end of the initial investigation, the case will progress.
After a Domestic Violence Arrest in Miami
One of the most immediate actions taken after a domestic violence arrest is the alleged seeking an order of protection. An order of protection, also called an injunction, prevents the alleged offender from contacting or being physically near the alleged victim. This order requires the alleged offender to follow multiple strict conditions. If they violate the order in any way, they could be charged with a separate misdemeanor offense.
Charges for Domestic Violence
Official charges are filed shortly after the arrest. This means that the alleged offender will not know what charges they are facing right away. In some cases, the charges will not be announced until after a preliminary hearing.
Depending on the circumstances of the offense, many different charges could be filed.
Assault occurs when an individual threatens or attempts to harm someone else. Assault may be elevated to aggravated assault if a weapon is used at the time of the offense.
Simple assault is a misdemeanor punishable by:
- 60 days in jail
- A $500 fine
- Six months of probation
The penalties increase significantly for aggravated assault, a felony punishable by:
- Up to five years in prison
- A $5,000 fines
- Five years of probation
Battery is a more serious offense than assault, as battery involves actual physical contact between parties. Battery occurs when someone strikes or touches another person without consent, typically in a threatening manner. Like with assault, battery charges may be aggravated by the presence of a weapon.
The penalties of a simple battery charge include:
- Up to one year in jail
- Up to $1,000 in fines
- A year of probation
Aggravated battery is punishable by:
- Up to 15 years in prison or on probation
- Up to $10,000 in fines
Assault and battery are two of the most common charges that individuals may face after a domestic violence incident. However, alleged offenders may also be charged with:
- Sexual battery
- False imprisonment
How Domestic Violence Misdemeanors Are Different
Domestic violence charges range from misdemeanor to felony offenses. Many people are aware of how individuals with felony convictions on their record may lose some rights and face especially serious consequences. However, misdemeanor domestic violence convictions can cause similar trouble.
Individuals with misdemeanor domestic violence convictions on their record may face difficulties:
- Purchasing firearms
- Obtaining housing
- Finding employment
- Fixing their reputation
Additionally, domestic violence misdemeanors can rarely be expunged from criminal records. The only time when a domestic violence offense can be expunged is if the initial charges are dropped. You may be questioning, who makes the decision to drop charges? In domestic violence cases, only the prosecution can decide to drop charges. Even if the alleged victim no longer wants to move forward with a criminal case, they cannot make the final call.
What To Do If Accused of Domestic Violence
Unfortunately, thousands of people have been falsely accused of domestic violence offenses. While you may not believe it could happen to you, it’s best to be prepared.
If you are arrested for a domestic violence offense, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Having an attorney by your side is helpful for numerous reasons. First, they have a deep understanding of your rights and applicable laws. They can also give you guidance throughout your case, both on how you should act and potential outcomes.
You should also be sure to follow all active conditions of either an injunction or your bond. Know what you can and cannot do during your pending case so as to not find yourself facing an additional violation charge.
Many people feel hopeless when facing criminal charges. Remember that just because you have been accused of a crime does not mean that you will be convicted. With a strong defense by your side, there is always hope for a positive outcome.
Miami Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys
You should not fight your domestic violence case alone. A domestic violence conviction can have lifelong effects, and it’s important to work with an experienced defense team in order to best protect yourself and your future. Our attorneys at Hager & Schwartz, P.A. have helped numerous clients facing misdemeanor or felony charges after a domestic incident. Contact us today to discuss your situation and get started preparing your defense.