Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers in Punta Gorda, Florida

How to Beat a Florida Criminal Charge

Punta Gorda, Florida is a small city that sits along the Gulf Coast in Charlotte County. Home to many retirees, Punta Gorda welcomes visitors and tourists each year who come to enjoy the year-round warm weather. Despite Punta Gorda’s small size and population of just over 20,000 people, prosecutors are busy pressing criminal charges against individuals on a daily basis, especially criminal charges involving allegations of domestic violence. Most people will not dispute that domestic violence is a matter that places victims at risk, and that victims deserve protection.

However, as with any criminal matter in Punta Gorda, allegations are only allegations until facts and evidence can corroborate what a victim has alleged. Unfortunately, many individuals in Punta Gorda face false or misleading allegations of domestic violence, which can be extremely damaging to not only a person’s reputation, but also that person’s ability to possess a firearm and to be present in certain locations within Punta Gorda. Moreover, domestic violence matters are not limited to criminal charges, but also include domestic violence injunctions, which have the power to limit a person’s legal rights even when the person is not facing criminal charges. Overall, anyone facing allegations of domestic violence must be ready to fight and can only do so successfully with the help of a highly skilled Punta Gorda Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer.

Florida’s Domestic Violence Statistics – Understanding the Scope of Allegations

Domestic violence allegations involve a wide variety of conduct ranging from simple assault to kidnapping to even manslaughter or murder. However, of the 104,914 reported incidents of domestic violence in Florida in 2018, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, most involved simple assault or battery. The data provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement identifies the following domestic violence crimes reported to law enforcement officials in 2018:



Total Reported Incidents of Domestic Violence


Criminal Homicide




Forcible Rape


Forcible Fondling


Aggravated Assault


Simple Assault


Aggravated Stalking


Simple Stalking




Because domestic violence crimes can go beyond the crimes identified above, any allegation should be discussed with a Punta Gorda Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer. Too much is at risk to face domestic violence allegations alone without the assistance of a legal professional.

Domestic Violence Laws in Punta Gorda, Florida

Under Florida Statute § 741.28(2), the following crimes fall under the umbrella 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.

A crime can only meet the definition of “domestic violence” if the conduct in question involves parties who are considered “family or household members” under Florida law, which identifies the following groups of individuals as family or household members:

  • 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 involving allegations of domestic violence, the parties either live together or have previously lived together, which is an essential requirement except in cases that involve individuals who share a child in common. Proving a domestic violence case from the prosecutor’s perspective in Punta Gorda requires a finding that (1) the parties at issue are family or household members, and (2) that one family or household member has caused injury or death to another family or household member. This means that nearly ANY crime that leads to injury or death may be considered a domestic violence crime.

A failure by prosecutors to establish these basic requirements could lead to the dismissal of domestic violence charges. However, predicting how a domestic violence case will go in Punta Gorda can be dangerous. As such, if you are facing domestic violence charges, act quickly to seek the advice of a Punta Gorda Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer.

Domestic Violence Injunctions in Punta Gorda, Florida

Domestic violence matters do not only involve criminal charges. In addition to the possibility of facing criminal charges in Punta Gorda, individuals accused of committing acts of domestic violence may face a domestic violence injunction, which is no different than what most people call a restraining order or order of protection. Under Florida law, a person could face a domestic violence injunction without ever facing criminal charges pertaining to the same allegations of domestic violence. Moreover, while domestic violence injunctions are civil court orders, any person who violates an injunction may face criminal charges.

Under Florida Statute § 741.30, a victim of alleged domestic violence can seek a domestic violence injunction in Punta Gorda by filing a petition with the court, using a court-approved form. The person filing the petition is known as the “petitioner,” and the person accused of domestic violence who is the subject of the injunction is known as the “respondent.” The petitioner may be filing the petition on behalf of him/herself and/or on behalf of a minor child.

Once a petition is filed, a judge reviews the petition to determine whether the allegations meet the legal threshold to be considered domestic violence. If the petition asserts that the parties at issue are family or household members as defined under Florida law and that the purported victim(s) are at imminent risk of suffering harm, a judge is likely to grant a temporary domestic violence injunction. The respondent is promptly served with a copy of the petition and temporary injunction and is provided notice of a hearing date, at which time the merits of the petition will be presented before a judge. The temporary injunction lasts no longer than fifteen days, which does not provide much time for an accused person to retain a skilled Punta Gorda Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer.

The Four Additional Types of Protective Injunctions in Punta Gorda, Florida

Domestic violence injunctions can only be used in cases that pertain to conduct that meets the definition of domestic violence under Florida law. Depending on the unique facts of a case, a victim of alleged domestic violence may seek another type of protective injunction, and anyone facing allegations must be prepared to act. Under Florida Statute § 784.046 and Florida Statute § 784.045, the four other types of protective injunctions available under Florida law include the following:

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

Because alleged violent conduct can crossover between domestic violence, dating violence, repeat violence, sexual violence, and stalking/cyberstalking, you cannot hesitate when seeking legal advice. Only a truly qualified Punta Gorda Domestic Violence and Criminal Defense Lawyer should be handling serious civil protective injunction matters that carry damaging consequences.

The “No Contact” Order – Understanding the Steps of Punta Gorda Domestic Violence Case

Florida law takes extra steps to protect victims of domestic violence, and in addition to the domestic violence injunction (and other protective injunctions), Florida law mandates that all individuals arrested on charges of domestic violence be subject to a standard “No Contact” order. What this means is that after a person is arrested and detained on domestic violence charges in Punta Gorda, he or she will be required to refrain from ALL contact with the alleged victim(s), which includes verbal or physical contact (as well as any contact by electronic means). An unfortunate reality of the No Contact order is that individuals falsely accused of domestic violence must still comply, as failure to comply can lead to more criminal charges, per Florida Statute § 741.29(6).

While it can be frustrating and damaging to a person mentally to be arrested and detained for criminal charges that rest on false allegations of domestic violence, it is critically important to comply with the No Contact order. Cooperating with law enforcement and prosecutors is a must with domestic violence cases, but no individual facing domestic violence charges should ever meet or speak with any law enforcement official without first consulting with a Punta Gorda Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer.

Domestic Battery/Assault – Understanding the Penalties in Punta Gorda, Florida

In Florida, domestic battery/assault, also known as domestic violence battery, is the most common reported crime of domestic violence. As such, it is important to know what penalties may result from a conviction of domestic battery or aggravated domestic battery/assault. Per Florida law, domestic battery/simple assault is considered a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries a potential jail sentence of up to one year and a maximum fine of up to $1,000. Aggravated domestic battery/assault is much more serious, and is considered a third-degree felony, which carries a potential jail sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $5,000. While jail time and fines are serious consequences that go on one’s record, there are additional penalties to take into consideration.

A person who either pleads guilty to domestic battery or is found guilty at trial may face the following penalties in addition to jail time and fines (or in lieu of jail time and fines if a case is negotiated with a Punta Gorda prosecutor):

  • 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.

Penalties are often contingent on the type and severity of the alleged battery. Simple battery will not lead to as many harsh consequences as aggravated felony battery, but a misdemeanor is still serious and does not leave a person’s record.

List of Domestic Violence Crimes in Punta Gorda, Florida

Domestic violence crimes are not limited to the most common reported crimes in Florida. As discussed, if the family or household member requirement is satisfied in a domestic violence case, any crime that causes physical injury or death may be considered a crime of domestic violence. Examples of additional crimes, which may be included under the general category of domestic violence 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

Finding a Charlotte County Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer Can Protect Your Legal Rights

Many individuals facing allegations of domestic violence in Punta Gorda choose to defend themselves, work with a public defender, or hire an inexperienced lawyer. While public defenders are qualified lawyers, many of whom go on to have their own legal practices, public defenders have limited resources. As such, they often are overworked with too many clients and cannot fully advocate for each client as they normally would if they had the necessary staff and resources. Choosing to move forward without a lawyer is dangerous territory as is working with a lawyer with little to no experience handling domestic violence cases.

Although there is a cost associated with hiring a Punta Gorda Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer, doing so can actually save money in the long run in terms of court fees and other costs associated with conviction. Furthermore, a qualified Punta Gorda Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer is in the best position to achieve dismissal or a negotiated plea deal that avoids conviction of the harshest domestic violence offenses. Examples of defenses that a lawyer may raise in a given domestic violence case 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.

Defending a Punta Gorda domestic violence case – whether in the context of a criminal proceeding or a civil injunction matter – requires skill, diligence, resources, time, energy, and a dedication to protect a client’s legal rights. The cost of finding a reputable Punta Gorda Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer is well worth it.

Contact the Punta Gorda Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers of Musca Law Today!

If you are facing accusations of domestic violence, have been charged with domestic violence crimes, or have been served with a domestic violence injunction (or any other protective injunction), you need a strong advocate on your side to fight on your behalf. The Punta Gorda Defense Lawyers of Musca Law are nationally recognized for achieving favorable results for clients, for having a good reputation within the legal community, and for providing excellent customer service to clients. To discuss your legal options with one of our Punta Gorda Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers, contact Musca Law 24/7 by calling (888) 484-5057.

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