Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers in Panama City, Florida

How to Beat a Domestic Violence Charge in in Panama City, Florida

Panama City, Florida is a popular destination along Florida’s panhandle, and is the county seat for Bay County. Panama City has a population of more than 35,000 people and welcomes millions of tourists and visitors each year. Although Panama City is popular, it has a higher than average crime rate. According to an article published by, which derived data from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Bay County came in first place for having the highest per capita crime rate in the state of Florida. Some believe the reason for the higher crime rate is a reduction in population, but regardless of the reason, the important takeaway is that Panama City prosecutors aggressively pursue criminal charges on a daily basis, and domestic violence charges are no exception.

Domestic violence is not a problem unique to Panama City or even the state of Florida. Domestic violence is a matter that affects families and household members nationwide. Domestic violence deserves attention and victims often need protection. However, those accused of committing domestic violence crimes must also be heard and defended. Criminal allegations are often just that – allegations. Criminal charges that are supported by false, misleading, or unverified evidence can be dismissed with the assistance of the right Panama City Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer. If you are facing domestic violence charges in Panama City, you should take all possible steps to find a lawyer who can provide superior legal representation and help you to fight your charges.

Florida Statistics on Domestic Violence Statistics

The vast majority of domestic crimes involve “simple assault,” which is a form of domestic violence battery. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, victims of alleged domestic violence reported a total of 104,914 incidents in 2018, with approximately 80 percent of the reported incidents being for simple assault. The full details regarding reported domestic violence incidents in Florida in 2018 include the following:



Total Reported Incidents of Domestic Violence


Criminal Homicide




Forcible Rape


Forcible Fondling


Aggravated Assault


Simple Assault


Aggravated Stalking


Simple Stalking




Not every incident of domestic violence is reported in Panama City and not every reported domestic violence incident is true and accurate. However, allegations alone can have devastating consequences on one’s individual rights and liberties. Therefore, if you have been accused of domestic violence and/or are facing criminal charges, act quickly to locate and retain a skilled Panama City Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer.

Domestic Violence Laws in Panama City, Florida

A variety of crimes fall under the general category of “domestic violence,” pursuant to Florida law. Specifically, Florida Statute § 741.28(2) identifies the following crimes as crimes of domestic violence:

  • Assault;
  • Aggravated Assault;
  • Battery;
  • Aggravated Battery;
  • Sexual Battery;
  • Stalking;
  • Aggravated Stalking;
  • Kidnapping;
  • False Imprisonment; or
  • Any Criminal Offense Resulting in Physical Injury or Death.

Although most domestic violence crimes fall under the categories of assault and battery, some domestic violence crimes will fall under the last category of “any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death.” What this means is that ANY crime can be considered a crime of domestic violence if the victim at issue is physically injured or killed. However, the conduct at issue does not become relevant unless Panama City prosecutors can establish that the accused person and the victim(s) are “family or household members,” under Florida law. Family or household members include the following:

  • Spouses;
  • 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.

In most cases, family or household members must live together or have lived together in the past. The only instance in which family or household members do not need to live together for purposes of proving a crime of domestic violence has occurred, is when the parties at issue are individuals who share a child in common. Domestic violence cases can be confusing and because prosecutors must satisfy a series of statutory requirements, there is room to seek dismissal of claims that do not meet Florida’s legal guidelines. However, to seek dismissal of domestic violence charges, one must work alongside a Panama City Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer.

Understanding Domestic Violence Injunctions in Panama City, Florida

One aspect of domestic violence cases that many people may not be aware of is that a person can be the subject of a domestic violence injunction, also known as a restraining order or order of protection, without ever facing any criminal charges. Florida civil law allows victims to obtain domestic violence injunctions regardless of whether any criminal charges are pending against the accused individual. Domestic violence injunctions are civil court orders that can substantially limit a person’s legal rights. As such, anyone who has been served with a domestic violence injunction – whether that person is facing criminal charges – should act quickly to speak with a Panama City Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer.

The purpose of a domestic violence injunction is to protect a victim of domestic violence from imminent harm. Given the urgency of many domestic violence matters, judges tend to issue quick decisions when reviewing a victim’s request for an injunction. When a victim wishes to obtain a domestic violence injunction in Panama City pursuant to Florida Statute § 741.30, he or she must file a petition with the court that states (1) the accused person and victim(s) are family or household members, and (2) that imminent harm will be sustained without intervention of the domestic violence injunction.

The person filing the petition in a domestic violence injunction matter is known as the “petitioner,” and the person who is the subject of the petition (the person facing domestic violence allegations) is known as the “respondent.” The petitioner may be the victim, or the petitioner may be a parent or legal guardian of a minor child who is the victim of alleged domestic violence. Once a petition is filed, a judge will review the petition and issue a temporary domestic violence injunction if the petition meets Florida’s legal requirements.

The temporary injunction will be served on the respondent and a hearing will be scheduled for approximately fifteen days later, when the temporary injunction will expire. At the time of the hearing, the judge will hear arguments and review evidence from both parties and will issue a final decision, which will either terminate the temporary domestic violence injunction, or enter a final injunction that will last for an extended period of time. Domestic violence injunctions are serious court orders that do not themselves lead to criminal charges, but just one violation of a domestic violence injunction can lead to criminal charges. Therefore, anyone facing a domestic violence injunction should work alongside a Panama City Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer.

Additional Types of Protective Injunctions in Panama City, Florida

Domestic violence injunctions are just one type of protective injunction available to individuals in Florida. Depending on the alleged conduct at issue, victims can seek various types of protective injunctions. Pursuant to Florida Statute § 784.046 and Florida Statute § 784.045, individuals can seek the following four types of protective injunctions in addition to domestic violence injunctions:

  • Dating Violence Injunctions;
  • Repeat Violence Injunctions;
  • Sexual Violence Injunctions; and
  • Stalking Injunctions (including cyberstalking).

Overall, the injunction process is similar regardless of the type of injunction being sought. In each case, petitioners must meet all legal requirements and respondents will have an opportunity to defend the allegations in court with the assistance of a qualified Panama City Domestic Violence and Protective Injunction Defense Lawyer.

Understanding the “No Contact Order” Following Arrest on Domestic Violence Charges

Just as courts in Panama City often issue temporary domestic violence injunctions to provide immediate protection to victims, Florida law requires that anyone arrested on charges of domestic violence in the state of Florida comply with the state’s standard “No Contact Order.” Once a person is arrested in Panama City on domestic violence charges, he or she will be detained in jail for a period of approximately 24 hours or until the initial court appearance. The charged person will be required to comply with a No Contact Order that prohibits all physical and verbal contact between the accused person and the victim(s).

In many cases, an arrested person may be innocent and facing substantial limitations on his or her rights. However, regardless of innocence or guilt, anyone arrested on domestic violence charges MUST comply with the No Contact Order or face additional criminal charges for any violation of the order pursuant to Florida Statute § 741.29(6). Too much is on the line to face domestic violence charges alone. Act fast to find a Panama City Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer who can thoroughly review your case and advocate on your behalf in the courtroom.

The Criminal Penalties for Domestic Violence Battery/Assault in Panama City, Florida

Given that domestic violence battery/simple assault is a commonly charged domestic violence crime, it is important for anyone facing domestic violence battery or assault charges to know what to expect in terms of penalties for conviction. Domestic battery/simple assault is considered a first-degree misdemeanor under Florida law, which carries a potential jail sentence of up to one year, and a monetary fine of up to $1,000. Aggravated domestic battery/aggravated assault is much more serious, and is considered a third-degree felony under Florida law, which carries a potential jail sentence of up to five years, and a monetary fine of up to $5,000. Additional penalties to expect from a domestic violence battery conviction include, but are certainly not 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 best way to help yourself avoid the harsh consequences of conviction is to team up with a Panama City Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer who has successfully handled similar cases in the past.

Additional Domestic Violence Crimes in Bay County, Florida

The long list of criminal offenses that may fall into the general category of domestic violence in Panama City, Florida include, but may not be limited to, the following:



Violent Crimes

Aggravated Domestic Battery with Serious Bodily Injury

F.S. § 741.028(2); F.S. § 784.045

Aggravated Domestic Battery with Use of a Deadly Weapon

F.S. § 741.028(2); F.S. § 784.045

Domestic Battery by Strangulation

F.S. § 741.041(2)(a)

Aggravated Battery on a Pregnant Victim

F.S. § 784.045(1)(b)

Assault or Battery on Person Over the Age of 65 Years Old

F.S. § 784.08

Violation of a Domestic Violence Protective Injunction

F.S. § 741.30

Violation of a Dating Violence Injunction, Repeat Violence Injunction, or Sexual Violence Injunction

F.S. § 784.046

Violation of a Stalking Injunction

F.S. § 784.045

Stalking, Aggravated Stalking, and Cyberstalking

F.S. § 784.048

Kidnapping, Kidnapping Child Under Age 13, and Aggravated Kidnapping

F.S. § 787.01

False Imprisonment, False Imprisonment of Child Under Age 13, and Aggravated False Imprisonment

F.S. § 787.02

Homicide/Murder, and Attempted Murder

F.S. 782.04

Manslaughter, Aggravated Manslaughter of an Elderly Person or Disabled Adult, and Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child

F.S. § 782.07

Weapons and Firearms Offenses

F.S. § 790

Abuse and Neglect of Children

Child Abuse, Aggravated Child Abuse, Child Endangerment, and Child Neglect

F.S. § 827.03

Newborn Infants, and Treatment of Surrendered Newborn Infant (not a crime if infant is surrendered to emergency personnel)

F.S. § 827.035; F.S. § 383.50

Contributing to the Delinquency or Dependency of a Child

F.S. § 827.04

Nonsupport of Dependents

F.S. § 827.06

Sexual Performance by a Child

F.S. § 827.071

Unlawful Desertion of a Child

F.S. § 827.10

Sex Crimes and Lewd/Lascivious Behavior

Sexual Assault/Sexual Battery, Forcible Rape

F.S. § 794.011

Lewd or Lascivious Offenses Committed Upon or in the Presence of Persons Less than 16 Years of Age, including Forcible Fondling

F.S. § 800.04

Human Trafficking

F.S. 787.06

Offenses by Adult Involving Minors, Intent of Legislature in Prosecuting Such Offenses

F.S. § 796.001

Forcing, Compelling, or Coercing Another to Become a Prostitute

F.S. § 796.04

Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of Elderly Persons or Disabled Adults

Abuse, Aggravated Abuse, and Neglect of an Elderly Person or Disabled Adult

F.S. § 825.102

Lewd or Lascivious Offenses Upon or in the Presence of an Elderly Person or Disabled Person

F.S. § 825.1025

Exploitation of an Elderly Person or Disabled Adult

F.S. § 825.103

Injunction for Protection Against Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult

F.S. § 825.1035

Violation of an Injunction for Protection Against Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult

F.S. § 825.1036

Other Crimes

Death Resulting from Apparent Drug Overdose and Reporting Requirements

F.S. § 893.0301

Poisoning Food or Water

F.S. § 859.01

Desertion, Withholding Support, and Proviso

F.S. § 856.04

Depriving Crime Victim of Medical Care

F.S. § 843.21

Perjury by Contradictory Statements

F.S. § 837.021

False Reports to Law Enforcement Authorities

F.S. § 837.05

False Information to Law Enforcement During Investigation

F.S. § 837.055

False Official Statements

F.S. § 837.06

Verbal or Written Threats, and Extortion

F.S. § 836.05

Written Threats to Kill, Do Bodily Injury, or Conduct a Mass Shooting or an Act of Terrorism

F.S. § 836.10


F.S. § 836.12

Tampering with a Witness

F.S. § 914.22

Culpable Negligence

F.S. § 784.05

Trespass in Structure or Conveyance

F.S. § 810.08

Trespass on Property Other Than Structure or Conveyance

F.S. 810.09

Obstructing Justice

F.S. § 843

Bigamy, and Incest

F.S. § 826

Find a Panama City Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer to Protect Your Rights

A strong defense begins with a strong Panama City Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer. While no lawyer – no matter how talented or successful – can guarantee a client’s case will be dismissed, a strong lawyer will have the necessary tools to build the best possible defense given the facts of a specific domestic violence case. There are numerous ways in which a domestic violence case can be dismissed if the facts allow for it. If a case cannot be dismissed, a jury will decide the matter or the case may be negotiated before trial, whereby an accused person pleads guilty to a less serious offense that may avoid jail time and other consequences. Examples of defenses a Panama City Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer may raise on behalf of a client include, among others, the following:

  • Seeking to Dismiss for Lack of Evidence of Domestic Violence;
  • Seeking to Dismiss for Violating the Defendant’s Constitutional Rights (i.e., illegally obtaining evidence, eliciting a false confession, or failing to read the defendant his/her Miranda rights upon arrest);
  • Evidence to Suggest a Victim Has Not Suffered Injuries from Domestic Violence;
  • Evidence to Suggest a Victim is Vindictive, and the Accusations at Issue are False or Misleading;
  • Self-Defense;
  • Defense of Others;
  • Defense of Property;
  • Stand Your Ground; and
  • Consensual Confrontation or Mutual Combat.

Because all cases are unique, you must work with a Panama City Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer who can build a defense that best supports the available facts of the case. Choosing an inexperienced lawyer is a risk that nobody should take when facing serious criminal charges.

Contact the Panama City Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers of Musca Law Today!

Do not fight domestic violence charges alone. Ensure you are well-represented with a Panama City Defense Lawyer who has proven results in the courtroom. At Musca Law, our team of nationally recognized Criminal Defense Lawyers routinely handle tough criminal matters that can land clients in jail for decades. As such, our lawyers are ready to handle the most serious of criminal matters on behalf of clients. If you would like to learn how Musca Law can help you fight domestic violence charges and/or a domestic violence injunction, contact our office 24/7 by calling (888) 484-5057.

Get your case started by calling us at (888) 484-5057 today!