Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers in Fort Myers, Florida
How to Beat a Florida Domestic Violence Charge
Crimes involving domestic violence are often treated more seriously than other crimes. Nearly any crime that involves a domestic relationship can fall under the umbrella of “domestic violence.” Although common forms of domestic violence involve battery, the broad category of crimes is far-reaching, and the consequences can be disastrous not only for one’s personal freedom but also one’s ability to see family members again. Fort Myers prosecutors do not take domestic violence charges lightly. As such, if you are facing any criminal charges relating to domestic violence, you need to retain a skilled Fort Myers Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer. Given that domestic violence encompasses a substantial number of individual crimes, you need a lawyer who is well-versed in all aspects of criminal law.
Florida Domestic Violence Statistics
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, there was a total of 104,914 reported incidents of domestic violence in the state of Florida in 2018, with approximately 80 percent (or 83,980 offenses) being simple assault. More than 100,000 reported incidents of domestic violence cases across the state of Florida may seem high, but not all reported incidents will materialize into criminal charges.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement also reported the following statistics related to reported domestic violence offenses in 2018:
- Criminal Homicide – There was a total of 196 reported incidents of domestic violence-related criminal homicide, with 70 of the incidents involving victims who were spouses, 35 of the incidents involving victims who were co-habitants, and 34 of the incidents involving victims who were children of the accused offender.
- Manslaughter – There was a total of 19 reported incidents of domestic violence-related manslaughter, with 11 of the incidents involving victims who were children of the accused offender.
- Forcible Rape – There was a total of 1,783 reported incidents of domestic violence-related forcible rape, with 287 of the incidents involving victims who were children of the accused offender, and 376 of the incidents involving victims who were “other” family members.
- Forcible Fondling – There was a total of 841 reported incidents of domestic violence-related fondling, with 308 of the incidents involving victims who were “other” family members, and 223 of the incidents involving victims who were children of the accused offender.
- Aggravated Assault – There was a total of 16,000 reported incidents of domestic violence-related aggravated assault, with 4,513 of the incidents involving victims who were co-habitants, 2,950 of the incidents involving victims classified as “other,” and 2,873 of the incidents involving victims who were spouses of the accused offender.
- Simple Assault – There was a total of 83,980 reported incidents of domestic violence-related simple assault, with 24,614 of the incidents involving victims who were co-habitants, 17,585 of the incidents involving victims who were spouses, and 14,150 incidents involving victims classified as “other.”
- Aggravated Stalking - There was a total of 160 reported incidents of domestic violence-related aggravated stalking, with 71 of the incidents involving victims classified as “other,” and 55 of the incidents involving victims who were spouses of the accused offender.
- Simple Stalking – There was a total of 384 reported incidents of domestic violence-related simple stalking, with 140 of the incidents involving victims who were spouses, 99 of the incidents involving co-habitants, and 93 of the incidents involving victims classified as “other.”
- Threat/Intimidation – There was a total of 1,551 reported incidents of domestic violence-related threat/intimidation, with 389 of the incidents involving victims who were spouses, 322 of the incidents involving victims classified as “other,” and 304 of the incidents involving victims who were co-habitants of the accused offender.
It is important to keep in mind that while the reported incidents of domestic violence in Florida, some reported incidents are false, misleading, or fail to meet the definition of “domestic violence.” However, only a qualified For Myers Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer can help an accused client build a strong defense to exploit weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.
Domestic Violence Laws in Fort Myers, Florida
Generally, domestic violence includes any crime that causes harm to a family or household member, as defined under Florida law. Pursuant to Florida Statute § 741.28(2), domestic violence includes the following categories of crimes:
- Aggravated Assault;
- Aggravated Battery;
- Sexual Battery;
- Aggravated Stalking;
- False Imprisonment; or
- Any Criminal Offense Resulting in Physical Injury or Death.
The last category of crime includes numerous other offenses that can be considered a form of domestic violence if the act is caused by one family or household member against another family or household member. Florida law considers the following groups of individuals to be family or household members:
- Former Spouses;
- Persons Related by Blood or Marriage;
- Persons Presently Residing Together as if a Family;
- Persons Who Have Resided Together in the Past as a Family; and
- Persons Who Share a Child in Common Regardless of Whether They Have Been Married.
A crucial requirement of domestic violence offenses is that the accused person and victim must either currently reside together or have resided together in the past, but this does not apply to parents who share a child in common. In such cases, there is no residency requirement.
Domestic Violence Injunctions in Fort Myers, Florida
Domestic violence not only involves potential criminal charges but also involves the issue of restraining orders, which are commonly referred to as protective injunctions in Florida. Under Florida Statute § 741.30, a victim of alleged domestic violence can seek to obtain a Domestic Violence Injunction regardless of whether there are any pending domestic violence criminal charges against the accused offender.
Florida law requires that the person seeking the Domestic Violence Injunction, known as the “petitioner,” establishes that (1) he or she (or a minor child) is a family our household member, and (2) the petitioner reasonably believes h or she (or a minor child) is at imminent risk of suffering from a crime of domestic violence.
The petition seeking the domestic violence injunction is filed in a Fort Myers civil court, using a court-approved form, and is promptly reviewed by a judge. Because all allegations of domestic violence are taking seriously, judges are likely to grant a temporary domestic violence injunction, which lasts approximately fifteen days, to provide protection to the alleged victim(s). A hearing is scheduled to address the merits of the petition, and the accused individual should be present alongside his/her attorney to fight the injunction.
- Dating Violence Injunctions;
- Repeat Violence Injunctions;
- Sexual Violence Injunctions; and
- Stalking Injunctions (including cyberstalking).
Protective Injunctions are often related to existing criminal matters. As such, anyone facing domestic violence charges and/or protective injunctions must work with a skilled Fort Myers Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer to fight the allegations. Violating a protective injunction is a criminal offense that can send a person to jail. Therefore, proceeding forward without the assistance of a legal professional is a risky decision to make.
No-Contact Orders – The Initial Step of a Domestic Violence Criminal Case in Fort Myers
Even if a domestic violence case is clearly defensible, an accused person will be held in jail for a period of approximately 24 hours following arrest, or until the accused person can appear in court before a judge. To ensure the safety of the alleged victim(s), the accused person will be subject to a standard No-Contact Order under Florida law. The No-Contact Order requires that the accused person avoid physical and/or verbal contact with the alleged victim(s), and, per Florida Statute § 741.29(6), violation of this order is grounds for additional criminal charges. Therefore, even if an accused person is innocent and/or the allegations of domestic violence are misleading, the accused person must not violate the No-Contact Order. Instead, the accused person should immediately locate and seek the counsel and advice of a Fort Myers Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer.
Penalties for Conviction of Domestic Violence Battery in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
As previously discussed, battery and assault are the most common types of domestic violence crimes in the state of Florida, and the penalties for conviction of these offenses are severe. A person convicted of domestic battery faces a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida, which carries a potential jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000. Aggravated domestic battery, also known as felony battery, is considered a third-degree felony in Florida, which carries a potential jail sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $5,000.
Additional penalties for conviction of domestic battery and/or aggravated/felony domestic battery include, but may not be limited to, the following:
- Completion of a 26-Week Batterer’s Intervention Program (BIP);
- Probation for Up to One Year;
- Minimum of Five Days in Jail if the Accused is Found Guilty and the Crime(s) Involved Bodily Injury;
- Completion of Community Service Hours;
- Loss of Right to Possess Firearms and Ammunition;
- Facing a No-Contact Order; and
- Potentially Facing a Domestic Violence Injunction.
The consequences of being convicted of domestic battery and/or felony domestic battery in Fort Myers are life-altering. As such, it cannot be stressed enough how essential it is to retain a Fort Myers Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer who routinely handles similar tough criminal matters on a regular basis.
Additional Domestic Violence Crimes in Fort Myers, Florida
Domestic violence crimes that fall under the catchall category of “other” criminal offenses that cause physical and/or psychological harm, allegedly perpetrated by one household or family member on another household or family member, include the following:
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
Defending Against Domestic Violence Charges in Fort Myers, Florida
Defense strategies in a Fort Myers domestic violence case will be dependent on the unique circumstances of the allegations. Not all domestic violence cases are alike. As such, potential defenses will vary, and any defense strategy must be formulated with the assistance of a highly skilled Fort Myers Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer. Examples of defenses often raised in domestic violence cases include, among others, the following:
- Seeking Dismissal of the Case for Failure to Present Evidence that a Crime Has Been Committed;
- The Absence of Injuries to the Victim(s);
- Evidence that the Victim(s) is/are Vindictive;
- Defense of Others;
- Defense of Property;
- Stand Your Ground; and
- Consensual Confrontation or Mutual Combat.
Act quickly to build your defense with the help of a Fort Myers Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer.
Avoiding Prosecution for Domestic Violence Crimes in Fort Myers – Steps You Can Take
Avoiding criminal prosecution is the best outcome possible for any criminal matter. However, it is not possible for any lawyer to guarantee a specific outcome. Rather, steps can be taken to help reach the goal of avoiding prosecution or at least negotiating a criminal matter to avoid worst consequences under Florida law. A reputable and seasoned Fort Myers Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer should have substantial experience negotiating criminal matters with prosecutors. Such experience demonstrates a lawyer’s good working relationship with the opposing side, and such a relationship often helps an accused person reach a result that is fair and one that avoids a trial.
To take advantage of early negotiations, a person facing domestic violence charges in Fort Myers must work with his or her lawyer right away after being arrested. Waiting to long to seek the advice of a lawyer can be detrimental to the accused person’s rights and the ability to negotiate early resolution to a domestic violence matter. Moreover, an accused person who willingly receives treatment and/or counseling (alongside the victim(s) in some cases), shows prosecutors that he or she is willing to take whatever steps necessary to achieve a result that avoids substantial jail time, fines and a tarnished reputation. To have the best chance possible at fighting domestic violence charges, an accused person does not have time to waste to reach out to a Fort Myers Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer.
Contact the Fort Myers Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers of Musca Law Today!
Domestic violence charges can be damaging to your reputation and your livelihood, especially when you may be prevented from seeing your loved ones. Facing domestic violence charges and/or domestic violence injunctions are serious matters that should not be addressed without the assistance of a qualified Fort Myers Defense Lawyer.
At Musca Law, our team of reputable Fort Myers Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers work tirelessly to ensure all clients are receiving the best legal representation possible both inside and outside the courtroom. Do not fight your criminal matter alone. Contact Musca Law today by calling (888) 484-5057 to speak with one of our Fort Myers Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers. We are standing by 24/7 to help you with your legal needs.
2200 Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd ,Suite A,
Fort Myers, FL 33901
Phone: (239) 932-3551
Hours: Open now: Open 24 hours
J4RJ+6H Fort Myers, Florida