As with every case, the appropriate defense will rise out of the facts and circumstances that gave rise to the criminal charges as well as the personalities involved. None of these incidents happen in a vacuum. Frequently, domestic violence charges arise out of arguments that cause peoples’ emotions to run over, and one or both people might lash out physically. Arguments that turned physical are rarely about the topic being argued. Rather, they are the result of a history of emotional baggage that surfaces during the argument.
The Probable Cause Standard That Allows Police to Place You Under Arrest is Not Hard to Meet in Domestic Violence Accusations
The danger in allowing an argument to escalate into screaming and yelling stems from the possibility that police could get involved. Most likely, two law enforcement agents will arrive to investigate the complaint if it is called in as domestic violence. At that time, it is probable that one person, most likely a male, will end up in custody. Although police need probable cause to arrest a person in Florida for domestic violence, the standard is not hard to meet. Any statement made by an alleged victim of domestic violence could give the police probable cause to believe the crime occurred. The police do not need to collect enough evidence to secure a conviction in court. Rather, they need enough evidence to justify an arrest. They will let the court system sort out the rest.
If you were taken into police custody because of a domestic violence charge, you have valuable rights that protect you from an unlawful conviction and illegal detention. Your rights cannot be protected if you do not act, however. You must call Musca Law today at 888-484-5057 to consult with one of our expert domestic violence defense attorneys from Florida. They will advise you on the appropriate steps to take to protect your rights, preserve favorable evidence, and work to get you and your life back on track.
Domestic Violence Charges Can Continue Even if the “Victim” Doesn´t Want to Assist the Prosecution
Wait and see is not a recipe for success. Even if the alleged victim expresses regret about calling the police, and does not want to assist the prosecution, the case may continue to trial. Prosecutors have powerful tools and resources at their disposal to prosecute cases where the victim does not wish to go forward and testify. Prosecutors do not rely on the victim’s recitation of the facts exclusively to prove their case in court. Instead, they will look for other evidence such as 911 calls, independent witnesses, medical records, photographs, and statements made by the victim under the duress of an exciting situation which the rules of evidence in Florida call excited utterances to use as circumstantial evidence.
With a mountain of evidence loaded up against them, a person who is facing domestic violence charges in Florida might feel like there is no way to beat the case. The person facing domestic violence charges might feel that there is no alternative, but they plead guilty to the charges even if the person knows he or she is not guilty. While the decision to plead guilty is an individual one that the accused must reflect upon, consulting experienced domestic violence defense attorneys from Musca Law before deciding to plead guilty will help you see that there is a valid line of defense and that you have options besides pleading guilty.
Successful defenses to domestic violence charges in Florida will take into account several factors.
Those factors could include:
- vigorously denying the facts of the case as memorialized by the police in the police report,
- defending the charge based upon an absence injury or objective evidence that a crime occurred,
- arguing that the fight was mutual combat rather than one person striking another,
- stand your ground defense,
- defense of a third-party,
- defending property,
- illustrating the victim’s and witness’s bias or motive to lie, and
- attacking the credibility of the victims and witnesses based upon inconsistent statements.
Assimilating more than one of these defenses into an overall strategy to attack the prosecution’s case can be extraordinarily successful. In other words, these defenses are not mutually exclusive. For example, the accused could argue that the accused was defending himself when he struck his domestic partner because the domestic partner attacked him first during an argument. That defense requires contradicting the complainant’s version of events that she did not attack first while advancing the self-defense argument. Additionally, proving that the victim had a motive to lie, such as to gain an advantage in a child custody battle, also figures into the defense strategy.
No one defense strategy or combination of strategies can guarantee an acquittal after trial or dismissal of the charges before the trial. However, thorough investigation and representation by an aggressive and knowledgeable domestic violence defense attorney can put you in the strongest position possible to minimize the damage a domestic violence charge could have on your life.
Experienced defense attorneys will engage investigators to look into areas which the police either did not have time to investigate or ignored completely. Domestic violence investigations are typically short. Once the police have probable cause to arrest and document any evidence that is easy to document, such as a photograph of a bruise, then the investigation is generally over unless the victim was severely injured or killed. A successful defense strategy can take a lack of police investigation into account. That is why this is important to engage a law firm with extensive resources like Musca Law has to locate witnesses and other evidence that can help your defense.
Investigations conducted by the defense team could reveal the existence of a witness that the police did not interview, or could reveal bad act evidence on behalf of the alleged victim, or could reveal an ulterior motive to prosecute the case on behalf of the victim through the analysis of text messages, emails, and social media posts.
Some situations call for a more diplomatic approach. Defense investigators could speak with the victim if he or she consents and ask their opinion about prosecution. At that time, the alleged victim could intimate to the defense investigator that she or he does not wish to go forward with the prosecution. Then, the defense and the victim could approach the prosecution with pleas to dismiss or reduce the charges because the victim is not willing to go forward. This must be done tactfully and strategically. Approaching the victim aggressively and demanding that she recant her statement or claim that she lied is not only a crime but will also guarantee that the prosecution will continue to prosecute the case and aggressively pursue a conviction.
Another viable defense strategy lies in negotiating with the prosecution to resolve the case. The prosecution, in most instances, has a desire to resolve the cases without a trial. Trials take time, exhaust resources, and cost money. Therefore, trying to negotiate a reduced sentence through plea bargaining is often advantageous to both parties. Plea bargains could result in shorter jail sentences and probationary terms where the focus is treatment and rehabilitation rather than living under the auspices of the probation Department who want to send you back to jail.
Call Musca Law Today to Protect Your Rights
No matter what situation you find yourself in, you have rights guaranteed to you by the U.S. Constitution along with the Florida State Constitution. Musca Law prides itself on tirelessly defending your constitutional rights when facing domestic violence charges in Florida. Call our firm at 888-484-5057 to learn about your rights and begin defending your case today.