Domestic Violence Criminal Charge Defense Lawyers in Daytona Beach, Florida
How to Beat a Domestic Violence Criminal Charge in Florida
Emergency calls reporting domestic violence are treated seriously by Daytona Beach law enforcement officers. When they arrive on-scene, they are often confronted by an emotional person who claims to be a victim of domestic abuse. The police, in the typical case, are not able to conduct a thorough investigation. They might examine the alleged victim for injuries, interview people who are on-scene at the time, and then decide whether they have probable cause to arrest the alleged perpetrator for domestic violence. Because probable cause is not a high hurdle to overcome, law enforcement agents, out of necessity, frequently rush to judgment and decide to arrest the alleged attacker without much evidence.
A series of procedural safeguards, based on the protection of the alleged victim, springs into action once the police arrest someone on allegations of domestic violence in Daytona Beach, Florida. The fundamental rights of the person under arrest immediately begin to erode, even if the police only listen to one side of the story. The state attorneys prosecuting domestic violence in Daytona Beach scrutinize the factual basis for the arrest and then push to have alleged perpetrators of domestic violence held on excessive bond or detained without the possibility of making bond to prevent a retaliatory attack against the alleged victim. The prosecution will advocate forcefully for a conviction and a lengthy sentence to a penal institution.
A stacked deck confronts a person charged with domestic violence offenses in Daytona Beach. Despite the outward appearance of an inevitable conviction and incarceration, a seasoned Daytona Beach Domestic Violence Defense Attorney understands how to defend the rights of people accused of domestic violence aggressively and can create a defense that could exonerate the accused, avoid an unjust conviction, and minimize the impact a domestic violence conviction in Daytona Beach might have on the accused.
Domestic Violence Statistics in Florida
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, referred to as FDLE for short, releases all of the crime stats for Florida. The law in Florida categorizes “domestic violence” broadly. Accordingly, the domestic violence statistics developed by the FDLE encompass a wide range of criminal offenses.
At first glance, one might assume that Florida is in the midst of a domestic violence epidemic. The FDLE reported that 104,914 domestic violence incidents were investigated in 2018. However, with a population estimated to be just over 21 million people, the number of domestic violence cases is relatively small comparatively. Moreover, not every arrest or incident resulted in an arrest or a conviction.
The FDLE categorized domestic violence events more specifically in 2018, from most-frequently reported to infrequently reported, as follows:
- Simple Assault: Simple assault was the most-commonly charged domestic violence crime in 2018. FDLE reported 83,980 incidents of simple assault, with 24,614 of the incidents involve household members generally, while 17,585 people reported their spouses committed a simple assault, and 14,150 of the alleged victims of simple assault said the perpetrator fall into the “other” category.
- Aggravated Assault: Aggravated assault cases involved domestic violence numbered about 16,000 in 2018. Out of the 16,000 aggravated assault cases, 4,513 listed themselves as household members of the accused, 2,950 indicated that the perpetrator fell into the “other” category, and 2,873 people reported their spouse committed an act of aggravated assault in 2018.
- Forcible Rape: FLDE indicated that 1,783 domestic violence investigations involved a complaint of forcible rape. Out of that total, 287 children said that a parent forcibly raped them, and 376 said the perpetrator was in the “other” catchall category.
- Threat or Intimidation: Out of the 1,551 domestic violence reports involving threats or intimidation, 389 alleged victims reported their spouse committed the crime, 322 victims reported the perpetrator was “other,” and 304 victims claimed the person with whom they cohabitated committed the act.
- Forcible Fondling: “Other” members of the alleged victims’ families reportedly committed 308 incidents of forcible fondling, while 223 additional cases reportedly involved a parent as the perpetrator.
- Simple Stalking: Police received 384 complaints of simple stalking, in which 140 victims identified their spouse as the assailant, 99 people identified their household member, and 93 fell into the “other” classification.
- Homicide: Homicide investigations in Florida included 196 domestic violence homicide cases. More specifically, 70 victims were allegedly killed by their spouses, 35 victims lived with their killer, and a parent allegedly killed 34 homicide victims.
- Aggravated Stalking: In 2018, 160 individuals reported aggravated stalking crimes defined as domestic violence. More specifically, 71 incidents involved a person described as “other,” while 55 people identified their spouses as committing an act of aggravated stalking.
- Manslaughter: Manslaughter investigations on numbered nineteen in 2018, out of which centered on the parent of the victim.
Statistics rarely tell the full story, and these are no different. The outcome of each incident recited above centers on the people and the individual facts of the case. A Daytona Beach Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer with extensive trial experience will develop a defense strategy that focuses on the individual case to protect the rights of the accused.
Daytona Beach, Florida Domestic Violence Laws
In broad terms, domestic violence in Florida is an act of violence that occurs between members of a family or among the same household unit. However, Florida Statutes §741.28(2) specifies the following crimes as acts that, when committed by a person described as a family or household member against another, are acts of domestic violence. Those criminal charges are:
- A criminal offense that causes physical injury or kills another,
- Aggravated Assault,
- Sexual Battery
- Aggravated Battery,
- Aggravated Stalking,
- False Imprisonment, or
Section 741.28(2) provides an explanation for the term “domestic.” A relationship that qualifies as one which could be prosecuted under §741.28(2) includes:
- Spouses, whether current or former,
- Anyone related by blood or as in-laws by marriage,
- People living together as a family unit or who once lived together as a family unit, and
- Parents of any child, even if the parents never lived together.
The definition of domestic violence is vital to both the prosecution and defense because of the enhanced penalties, as discussed below, Florida law imposes on individuals convicted of a domestic violence crime.
Daytona Beach, Florida Domestic Violence Injunctions
Section 741.30 of the Florida Statutes establishes the procedure that allows the alleged victim of domestic violence to seek and receive a domestic violence injunction. Domestic violence injunctions, also referred to as restraining orders or protective orders, are orders of the court enjoining the person accused of committing an act of domestic violence from committing any crime against the person protected by the order. A domestic violence injunction revokes the right of the accused to possess firearms and ammunition and orders the person not to contact and stay away from the person protected by the order.
The alleged victim is identified as the petitioner when applying for a domestic violence injunction. The judge will review the application after the petitioner submits it to the clerk’s office in court. The hearings judge always has the discretion to order a temporary injunction at that time or wait until the full hearing to decide the outcome of the case. The court must serve the accused with the temporary order and notice of the final hearing date. Once severed, the temporary order, also called a temporary restraining order, must be followed without exception.
The accused has the right to obtain a Daytona Domestic Violence Defense Attorney for representation at the final hearing. The accuser must show the court that the relationship between the petitioner and the accused, or the “respondent” meets the definition of a domestic relationship and the petitioner or the petitioner’s minor child is reasonably in fear of an imminent incident of domestic violence.
The alleged victim is not obligated to pursue criminal charges when seeking a domestic violence restraining order. However, a violation of either the temporary order or a permanent order is grounds for criminal prosecution. Therefore, the alleged abuser needs to seek the counsel of an aggressive Daytona Beach Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer to protect his or her valuable legal rights.
Automatic No-Contact Orders in Daytona Beach Domestic Violence Cases
As alluded to earlier, Florida law operates to protect the alleged victims of domestic violence. The arrestee must remain in jail for 24 hours before posting a bond or until the individual can appear before a judge. Additionally, §741.29(6) of the Florida Statutes provides that the person under arrest for a crime alleged to be domestic violence must avoid contact and stay away from the alleged victim during the case. A violation of this provision could be prosecuted, and the offender could be incarcerated. Therefore, the accused must scrupulously abide by this law. Asking a third-party to carry messages to the alleged victim or secretly contacting the victim violates the terms of release.
Remember that anyone who discusses a domestic violence case potentially becomes a witness, and any statements made by the accused could be used in court. Therefore, a qualified Daytona Beach Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer is the only person to whom the accused should speak about his or her case before the case comes to an end.
Domestic Violence Penalties in Daytona Beach, Florida
The person facing domestic violence charges in Daytona Beach, Florida, faces enhanced sanctions for a conviction. Not only can the judge sentence the accused to the maximum sentence allowed by Florida law for the underlying charges, but the judge can also add more sanctions because the crime alleged was defined as domestic violence.
In addition to punishment for the underlying crime, the judge can also impose additional penalties designed to punish the accused more severely and prevent it from happening again. Sanctions for domestic violence offenses include:
- Completing the 26-week Batterer’s Intervention Program,
- Remaining on Probation for at least one year,
- At least five days incarceration if the victim sustained a physical injury. The minimum-mandatory jail time increases with repeated offenses,
- Community Service obligation,
- Revocation of the constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms,
- Mandatory No-Contact Order, and
- Potential permanent Domestic Violence Injunction.
These penalties are harsh and life-altering. Accordingly, anyone accused of committing an act of Domestic Violence in Daytona Beach, Florida, must seek a well-qualified and experienced Daytona Beach Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer to defend their interests.
Comprehensive List of Domestic Violence Charges in Daytona Beach, Florida
Having a lawyer who has vast experience defending a wide variety of criminal offenses in Daytona Beach, Florida, is essential to protecting the rights of the accused because domestic violence charges in Florida are diverse and can be extremely complicated cases. The following is a list of criminal offenses which could be defined as domestic violence:
Aggravated Domestic Battery with Serious Bodily Injury
Aggravated Domestic Battery with Use of a Deadly Weapon
Domestic Battery by Strangulation
Aggravated Battery on a Pregnant Victim
Assault or Battery on Person Over the Age of 65 Years Old
Violation of a Domestic Violence Protective Injunction
Violation of a Dating Violence Injunction, Repeat Violence Injunction, or Sexual Violence Injunction
Violation of a Stalking Injunction
Stalking, Aggravated Stalking, and Cyberstalking
Kidnapping, Kidnapping Child Under Age 13, and Aggravated Kidnapping
False Imprisonment, False Imprisonment of Child Under Age 13, and Aggravated False Imprisonment
Homicide/Murder, and Attempted Murder
Manslaughter, Aggravated Manslaughter of an Elderly Person or Disabled Adult, and Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child
Weapons and Firearms Offenses
Abuse and Neglect of Children
Child Abuse, Aggravated Child Abuse, Child Endangerment, and Child Neglect
Newborn Infants, and Treatment of Surrendered Newborn Infant (not a crime if infant is surrendered to emergency personnel)
Contributing to the Delinquency or Dependency of a Child
Nonsupport of Dependents
Sexual Performance by a Child
Unlawful Desertion of a Child
Sex Crimes and Lewd/Lascivious Behavior
Sexual Assault/Sexual Battery, Forcible Rape
Lewd or Lascivious Offenses Committed Upon or in the Presence of Persons Less than 16 Years of Age, including Forcible Fondling
Offenses by Adult Involving Minors, Intent of Legislature in Prosecuting Such Offenses
Forcing, Compelling, or Coercing Another to Become a Prostitute
Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of Elderly Persons or Disabled Adults
Abuse, Aggravated Abuse, and Neglect of an Elderly Person or Disabled Adult
Lewd or Lascivious Offenses Upon or in the Presence of an Elderly Person or Disabled Person
Exploitation of an Elderly Person or Disabled Adult
Injunction for Protection Against Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult
Violation of an Injunction for Protection Against Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult
Death Resulting from Apparent Drug Overdose and Reporting Requirements
Poisoning Food or Water
Desertion, Withholding Support, and Proviso
Depriving Crime Victim of Medical Care
Perjury by Contradictory Statements
False Reports to Law Enforcement Authorities
False Information to Law Enforcement During Investigation
False Official Statements
Verbal or Written Threats, and Extortion
Written Threats to Kill, Do Bodily Injury, or Conduct a Mass Shooting or an Act of Terrorism
Tampering with a Witness
Trespass in Structure or Conveyance
Trespass on Property Other Than Structure or Conveyance
Bigamy, and Incest
Domestic Violence Defenses in Volusia County, Florida
As with every criminal case, the best defense is borne out of a thorough examination of the facts surrounding the incident, coupled with a complete understanding of Florida law. Because the facts of each case change, each individual case must be examined closely by a reputable Daytona Beach Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer that can develop a winning defense.
In general terms, defenses fall into one of two categories: pre-trial and trial defenses. Pre-trial and trial defenses are not an all-or-none proposition but, rather, in conjunction when developing a comprehensive case defense strategy.
Pre-trial motions include motions to dismiss and suppress. A motion to dismiss essentially argues that the prosecution does not have enough evidence to prove the case at trial. Additionally, a motion to suppress evidence argues to the judge that the law enforcement investigators violated the rights of the person protected by the constitution from illegal searches and seizures or unlawfully obtaining a statement from the accused.
The relative success of each motion depends on the facts involved. However, even if the judge does not dismiss the case or suppress evidence, the threat of losing the case outright or losing the ability to admit valuable, damning evidence against the accused at trial could leave the prosecution in a position to plea bargain.
The accused can improve his or her plea bargaining position by taking the initiative. Attending counseling, maintaining employment, abiding by the rules of court, and not violating any terms of release could prove to the prosecution that the accused deserves a second chance to prove that the person is not a threat to re-offend and should not be incarcerated.
If plea negotiations fail, then the accused could ask for a jury trial. At trial, a seasoned Daytona Beach Domestic Violence Defense Attorney with a history of trying tough cases to juries with great success could provide the accused with the best trial defense possible. Typical trial defenses include:
- Mutual combat,
- Defense of another,
- Property defense,
- Attacking the alleged victim’s credibility,
- Proving the alleged victim made inconsistent statements, and
- Showing the accuser suffered no injuries, among other fact-based defenses.
Aligning with a knowledgeable Daytona Beach Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer as soon as possible after an arrest will put the accused in the best possible position to defend the allegations on all fronts.
Domestic Violence Lawyers from Daytona Beach, Florida
A heated argument can sometimes spin out of control, and if it does, domestic violence charges could follow. Unless you take immediate action by calling Musca Law’s Daytona Beach Defense Attorneys at (888) 484-5057 right now, you might suffer life-altering consequences that could have been avoided otherwise. Musca Law’s Daytona Beach Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers are ready to help you 24/7.