Domestic Violence

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Domestic violence is one of the most commonly charged crimes in Florida. In 2014 alone, more than 106,000 reports of domestic violence were made in the state, resulting in 64,000 arrests. While many of these arrests were truly the result of family violence, false domestic violence accusations can and do arise in the aftermath of emotionally charged situations.

At Monroe & King, P.A., our Jacksonville domestic violence lawyers represent individuals who have been arrested for or charged with domestic violence throughout Duval, Clay, and Nassau counties. We understand the complex and fraught nature of these accusations, as well as what you are up against and the possible, life-altering penalties you face. As such, we provide honest, straightforward legal counsel and dedicated representation tailored to your unique situation and circumstances.

If you have been arrested for domestic violence in Duval, Clay, or Nassau counties, contact the Jacksonville domestic violence attorneys at Monroe & King, P.A. for a complimentary case evaluation: (904) 474-3115

What Is Considered Domestic Violence in Florida?

Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of abusive behavior between family or household members. In Florida, the legal definition of domestic violence (sometimes referred to as “domestic battery”) is when one person intentionally harms or attempts to cause bodily injury to a family member or household member.

This behavior can include:

  • Verbal threats
  • Physical attacks
  • Emotional abuse
  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • and More

In order for a crime to be charged as domestic violence, the individual must be a current or previous occupant of the same household as the defendant. However, when the person and the defendant have a child together, this rule does not come into play.

Who Is Considered a "Household Member"?

By law, “household members” include any of the following people:

  • Spouses
  • Ex-spouses
  • Boyfriends/girlfriends
  • Ex-boyfriends/ex-girlfriends
  • Same-sex partners
  • Children
  • Step-children
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Blood relatives
  • In-laws
  • Parents of a shared child
  • Roommates
  • Anyone who has shared or currently shares a residence

Types of Domestic Violence

In certain instances, an individual can be accused of domestic violence or battery after shoving a roommate in an argument or threatening a spouse during a heated moment. In other instances, an ex-spouse may accuse the other parent of their child of child endangerment as a form of exerting control or limiting parental rights during a contentious divorce.

There are 4 forms of abuse that could be considered domestic violence:

  • Physical abuse: Taking physical control and conducting violent behavior is the most prevalent form of domestic violence. This includes hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, choking, or any violent behavior toward in a physical manner. However, there must be proof of injury. Usually resulting in a trip to the hospital.
  • Sexual abuse: Sexual abuse goes beyond the scope of rape and sexual assault. In fact, it encompasses harassment that includes unwelcomed touches. Also, it may include coercion to avoid contraception or force to have an abortion.
  • Emotional abuse: Even though this form is not tangible, it falls under the definition of domestic violence. It involves the destruction of a person's self-worth or self-esteem. For instance, constantly insulting, humiliating, or criticizing another person. Since this type does not include physical control, it is difficult to prove, especially in Florida. When a person suffers from this kind of abuse, it is advised to keep notes and records. For example, it is wise to save text that contains harassing messages.
  • Economic abuse: Financial abuse takes numerous forms and may be less obvious than more physical forms of abuse, but can include causing the individual to be financially incapable or reliant. For instance, one spouse may prevent the other from obtaining a job outside of their home or from going back to school for further education. Oftentimes, it occurs in families where one partner depends on the other for financial means. The person being accused withholds money to pay for food, clothing, or other basic needs.
  • Psychological abuse: Psychological abuse is any behavior that intimidates, threatens, or causes fear in another individual on a constant basis. For example, threatening a person with violence or preventing someone from leaving the home falls under this type of abuse.

If you've been accused of any of these, contact our domestic violence lawyer Jacksonville today for a complimentary consultation!

Penalties for Domestic Violence in Florida

Regardless of the circumstances, a conviction for domestic violence will have immediate and negative consequences. You will likely have an injunction (also known as a “no-contact” or restraining order) taken out against you, as well as lose the right to see your children. A conviction will also typically result in jail or prison time, hefty fines, mandatory probation, community service, and enrollment in a 26-week batterer’s intervention program.

If you are facing domestic violence charges in Florida, the minimum punishment is at least five days in jail. The court decides the sentence of either probation or community service according to state laws.

Domestic violence charges can include many other criminal offenses, such as:

  • Assault: second-degree misdemeanor
  • Aggravated Assault: third-degree felony
  • Battery: first-degree misdemeanor or as a third-degree felony

The charges an individual may face in Florida for domestic violence include misdemeanor, third-degree felony, or second-degree felony. Additionally, these convictions include time in prison:

  • Misdemeanor: From 60 days to one year in prison
  • Third-Degree felony: Up to five years in prison
  • Second-Degree felony: Up to fifteen years in prison

What Happens in Domestic Violence Cases Florida?

The domestic violence process in Florida is a legal action taken by the State to protect victims of domestic or family violence. The process begins when a domestic violence victim or witness makes a call to police and/or files a police report. An arrest may be made depending on the severity of the incident and there are various outcomes that can be expected depending on the evidence available.

Generally, there will be an injunction granted that ensures safety of the domestic violence “victim”, followed by court hearings in front of a judge wherein both parties present their case. The judge weighs what happens in Florida domestic violence cases and renders decisions based on the testimonies presented. Ultimately, this process could include domestic violence convictions, jail time for offenders, orders for protection, issuing probationary sentences with restrictions and more.

FL Defenses Against Domestic Violence Charges

While being charged with domestic violence can seem like the end of the world, there are things that can be done to protect your future moving forward. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most successful domestic violence defense strategies in Florida.

Defending False Accusations of Domestic Violence

There has been a large increase in the number of false domestic violence reports filed since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020. If you’ve been falsely accused, there are steps you can take to fight the charges, including:

  • Proving that your partner had a reason to falsely accuse you. Common reasons include divorce, infidelity, and ongoing child custody battles.
  • Showing that your partner’s story is inconsistent.

Self-Defense Not Domestic Violence

Another common situation where domestic violence charges stem from is from acting out of self-defense. If you can prove that your significant other struck first and you were acting out of self-defense or to defend your child, your charges could be dropped.

Additionally, if you can prove that your partner has a history of abuse, you’re much more likely to have your charges dropped.

Lack of Evidence for Domestic Violence

Unlike many other crimes, individuals charged with domestic violence are often “guilty until proven innocent”. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that can be done to show your innocence.

If the accuser cannot provide sufficient evidence to support their statements, you could have your charges dropped.

Contact Domestic Violence Attorney Jacksonville!

If you have been accused of domestic violence, your rights are at stake. Don’t delay in contacting our firm for a complimentary consultation with an experienced and awarded domestic violence attorney in Jacksonville. We have the resources, skill, and in-depth legal knowledge required to aggressively defend your rights, your future, and your reputation.

Call (904) 474-3115today to speak with a domestic violence lawyer Jacksonville from Monroe & King, P.A.

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