Domestic violence is a grave issue that affects countless individuals and families across the globe, causing physical, emotional, and psychological harm. In response to this societal problem, most states have implemented strict policies to address domestic violence cases. In Florida, the authorities have taken a resolute stance against domestic violence, aiming to protect victims and hold offenders accountable.
Understanding Domestic Violence in Florida
In Florida, domestic violence is broadly defined as any assault, battery, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense that causes physical injury or death to a family or household member by another family or household member. Family or household members include spouses, former spouses, individuals related by blood or marriage, individuals residing together as a family, and those who have a child in common, irrespective of marital status. The state considers domestic violence a serious crime and treats it accordingly.
Domestic Violence Arrest Policy in Florida
Florida has a mandatory arrest policy for domestic violence cases. According to this policy, law enforcement officers are required to make an arrest when they have probable cause to believe that an act of domestic violence has occurred. This means that if the responding officers find any visible injuries, witness the violence, or have sufficient evidence to indicate that an assault has taken place, they are obligated to make an arrest without obtaining a warrant.
The primary objective of the mandatory arrest policy is to protect victims from further harm and potential escalation of violence. The primary aggressor is determined and taken to jail.
In Florida, prosecutors follow a "no-drop" policy for domestic violence cases. This means that once an arrest has been made, the victim cannot unilaterally drop the charges or request that the case be dismissed. Instead, it is the prosecutor's decision whether to continue with the case or not.
The rationale behind the no-drop policy is to safeguard victims from potential coercion or intimidation by the abuser, as recanting of allegations is common in many domestic violence cases due to the complex dynamics involved. Prosecutors take into account the severity of the offense, the victim's safety, and the available evidence before deciding whether to proceed with the case.
In addition to making an arrest, law enforcement officers can also issue a temporary injunction or protective order known as a "restraining order." This order restricts the alleged abuser from contacting the victim or coming within a certain distance of them. It may also grant the victim exclusive possession of the residence and establish temporary custody arrangements if children are involved.
The purpose of the protective order is to provide immediate protection to the victim and prevent further harm. Once the temporary injunction is issued, a court hearing is scheduled within a few weeks to determine whether to extend the order or modify it as necessary.
Let Hager & Schwartz, P.A. Help You
Navigating the domestic violence arrest policy in Florida requires a comprehensive understanding of the legal system and the steps involved. By familiarizing yourself with the definitions, procedures, and potential consequences, you can make informed decisions and protect your rights. If you or a loved one is facing domestic violence charges, it is crucial to seek professional legal assistance.
At Hager & Schwartz, P.A., we specialize in criminal defense, including domestic violence cases. Our experienced attorneys are well-versed in Florida's domestic violence arrest policy and can provide you with the guidance and representation you need.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation and let us help you navigate this challenging legal process.