In Florida, domestic violence is a serious issue; therefore, it is taken very seriously. Several offenses fall under the domestic violence umbrella, and those accused of this crime are often charged with serious felonies. If you have been charged with domestic violence, you are likely worried about the penalties that could follow a conviction. Sentences can be harsh, and often include huge fines and spending years in state prison. Attorney Erika Valcarcel knows that people are often falsely accused of this crime and as a Sarasota domestic violence attorney, she can use her experience as both a prosecutor and a defender to uncover all of the evidence.
Florida Domestic Violence Laws
The state of Florida defines domestic violence as certain types of violent acts committed against a household or family member. Domestic violence can also take place between two or more individuals who are cohabitating; the victim is not required to be a friend or family member in this case. For the crime to qualify as domestic, the act must be committed against one of the following individuals:
- Co-parent of the perpetrator’s child
- A relative related to the individual through blood or marriage
The number of violent crimes that qualify as domestic violence are also numerous. These include, but are not limited to:
- Aggravated assault
- Aggravated battery
- Sexual assault and sexual battery
The charges brought against a person accused of domestic violence depend on certain circumstances. If for example, the person hits a family member, the crime would likely be charged with battery. On the other hand, if there is only a threat of violence in the household, the crime would likely be classified as assault. The prosecutor may also look for aggravating factors in a domestic violence case. An aggravated charge will result in the crime being filed as a felony, which means a far harsher sentence.
Criminal Penalties and Collateral Consequences
The minimum penalty for domestic violence, according to Florida’s domestic violence laws, is a minimum of five days in county jail. If found guilty, the person must also serve one year of probation, during which time they are required to complete a batterers’ intervention program. These penalties may seem mild, but those who are convicted rarely receive the minimum sentence.
In addition to the accusation of domestic violence, a prosecutor may pursue additional charges. Assault and battery are both charged as misdemeanors, while aggravated assault and aggravated battery are labeled as felonies. Common penalties for these and other crimes are listed below:
- Assault: A fine of up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail or 6 months on probation
- Aggravated Assault: A fine of up to $5,000 and up to 5 years in prison or 5 years on probation
- Battery: A fine of up to $1,000 and up to 1 year in jail or 12 months on probation
- Aggravated Battery: Mandatory prison, with up to 15 years or more depending on the case
- Sexual Assault: A fine of up to $10,000 and up to 15 years in prison
- Sexual Battery: Up to life in prison
A victim of domestic violence may also choose to file an injunction, also called a restraining order, against their accuser through Florida’s family courts. This process includes the victim filing a petition with the court, requesting that they provide protection from the accused. If the injunction is granted, the person being accused of domestic violence may be cut off from their family. The restraining order may also grant the victim exclusive use of the shared residence and other possessions.
Defending Against Domestic Violence
With the help of a skilled defense attorney, it may be possible to get your charges reduced or eliminated in court. The most effective defense in cases of domestic violence is claiming self-defense. Perhaps you were attacked and forced to defend yourself; maybe your spouse was attacking your children, leaving you with no choice but to step in to prevent harm. It might also be the case that you are the victim of a false accusation. In many cases, a spouse or family member may file domestic violence charges in order to gain access to funds or property.
Contact Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. Today
A domestic violence charge can devastate your entire life. From your career to the trust of loved ones, there is no aspect left unaffected. Attorney Valcarcel knows the type of turmoil that arises from these situations and as a Sarasota domestic violence attorney, she’ll zealously work to protect your freedom and ensure that punishment is not issued for a crime that you did not commit.
Call (941) 363-7900 now to see how she can fight for your rights.