Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers in Sarasota, Florida

Domestic violence was once considered to be an internal family problem about which no one spoke. Physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse were marital disputes that were “nobody’s business.” With time, the attitudes toward domestic violence have changed. Domestic violence victims are encouraged to stand up for themselves, seek help, and cooperate with law enforcement and prosecutorsare expected to convict the alleged offender.

Unfortunately, the change in attitude spawned unintended, albeit devastating, consequences for the alleged perpetrators of domestic violence. The ease with which domestic violence is reported and prosecuted has inspired a wave of false complaints that forces police officers to arrest individuals who have done nothing wrong. Instead of calling the police to stop a violent attack or to seek intervention in a potentially violent dispute, alleged domestic violence victims are emboldened to contact the police to press charges, even when no crime occurred.

Prosecutors in Sarasota, Florida, receive extensive training regarding domestic violence cases. Prosecutors are trained to believe the victim and fight to protect her or him to the greatest extent possible. Well-trained prosecutors understand that domestic violence is an awful problem and could escalate into a deadly situation rather quickly. Therefore, state attorneys take no chances. Prosecutors in Sarasota and all across Florida will do what they can to stop the domestic violence cycle.

The approach state prosecutors take toward pushing every domestic violence incident forward conflicts with their constitutionally-mandated obligation to seek justice. When prosecutors blindly believe the “victim,” the person accused has no recourse and will face the wrath of the judicial system unless he or she enlists the help of a seasoned Sarasota Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer to defend their rights. Contact Musca Law todat at (888) 484-5057 to learn more about your legal rights and options.

Statistics in Florida Relating to Domestic Violence

According to the most recent census data available, over 21 million people live in Florida. Additionally, 2.65 people, on average, live together in a housing unit. The number of domestic violence incidents in 2018 across the state of Florida involves a tiny percentage of the general population. The statistics generated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement indicate that 104,914 domestic violence incidents were reported in Florida during 2018. In other words, the domestic violence crime rate in Florida involved merely 0.49% of the population in 2018.

Not every incident reported of alleged domestic violence materialized into criminal charges, and even fewer cases ultimately resulted in a conviction. Notwithstanding, the incidents were highly stressful for those accused of committing domestic violence and for the alleged victims as well.

Florida’s definition of an incident involving domestic violence, as will be discussed in greater detail below, is broad. Therefore, the range of criminal charges that could be categorized as domestic violence is significantly more serious than a simple assault or battery charge. The domestic violence statistics from 2018 may be categorized according to individual crimes:

  • Criminal Homicide — The statistics indicate that 196 domestic violence criminal homicides occurred in 2018. More specifically, 70 of the cases involved spouses, 35 involved people living together, and 34 victims were children allegedly slain by a parent.
  • Manslaughter — Only nineteen cases of domestic violence manslaughter were reported in 2018. However, eleven of the incidents involved children of the alleged perpetrator.
  • Forcible Rape — The statistics indicate that 1,783 forcible rape allegations involving a family or household member were made in 2018. Out of the 1,783 incidents, 287 incidents included a child as a victim of a parent, while 376 incidents involved accusations focusing on another family member.
  • Forcible Fondling — Domestic violence incidents involving forcible fondling included 841 total investigations. More specifically, 308 forcible fondling incidents that were also domestic violence episodes involved children accusing a family member other than a parent, while 223 children accused a parent of the offense.
  • Aggravated Assault — Approximately 16,000 aggravated assault cases were recorded as domestic violence incidents in 2018. Out of the 16,000 investigations, 4,513 incidents involved allegations of domestic violence perpetrated by a cohabitant, 2,950 incidents were recorded as “other,” and 2,873 domestic violence aggravated assault investigations involved spouses.
  • Simple Assault — Simple assault was the most-commonly reported charge involving domestic violence in 2018. According to the statistic, 83,980 domestic violence incidents involved an allegation of assault. Among those reports, 24,614 reports involved the alleged victim and perpetrator living together, 17,585 spouses were reportedly involved in domestic violence assault investigations, and 14,150 incidents fell into the general category of “other.”
  • Aggravated Stalking — Aggravated stalking incidents that were also reported as domestic violence incidents involved 71 incidents of the crime reported as “other,” and 55 included spouses of the victim out of the 160 investigations.
  • Simple Stalking — Out of the 384 simple stalking incidents recorded as crimes of domestic violence, 140 cases involved current or former spouses, 99 people either currently or formerly lived together, and 93 incidents occurred in which the relationship between the alleged perpetrator and alleged victim were classified as “other.”
  • Threats or Intimidation — Florida law enforcement agencies reported 1,551 cases of threats or intimidation in 2018. Those incidents included 389 spouses, 322 categorized as “other,” and 304 cases involving people who once lived together or currently resided together.

The individuals accused of committing these acts of domestic violence have rights and defenses to domestic violence allegations. Sarasota Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer with unparalleled qualifications and experience can help you navigate the uncertain and stressful domestic violence accusations to avoid prosecution and incarceration altogether.

Domestic Violence Law in Sarasota

Florida Statutes §741.28(2) enumerates the crimes defined as domestic violence. To qualify as a crime of domestic violence, the individuals involved must meet the definition of family or household members, and the alleged crime is one of violence. More specifically, crimes of domestic violence in Florida include:

  • Assault,
  • Battery,
  • Aggravated Assault,
  • Aggravated Battery,
  • Sexual Assault
  • Sexual Battery,
  • Aggravated Stalking,
  • Stalking,
  • False Imprisonment,
  • Kidnapping, or
  • Criminal Offenses that may cause serious physical injury or death.

The enumerated crimes carry a specific penalty. However, classifying them as domestic violence carries the potential for additional sanctions.

Only specific relationships qualify for prosecution under the domestic violence statute. The relationships considered to be family or household members are:

  • Spouses and former spouses,
  • Anyone related by blood or by marriage,
  • Individuals who currently or once resided in the same residential unit as a family, and
  • Individuals who have a child in common, even if they never lived together.

Family or household members who are related by blood or marriage must be living together at the time the incident occurs to be considered a domestic violence event.

Injunctions to Prevent Domestic Violence in Sarasota, Florida

Courts in Florida have jurisdiction over petitions for domestic violence injunctions. Domestic violence injunctions in Sarasota have no requirement that the alleged victim initiates a criminal prosecution. Florida Statutes §741.30 grants alleged victims of domestic violence the opportunity to seek the protection of the court by applying for a domestic violence injunction. In Florida, domestic violence injunctions are also referred to as protective orders and restraining orders.

The person who requests the injunction is the petitioner. The petitioner must specify in the petition that the petitioner is a family member or a household member in addition to alleged that the petitioner feels like he or she is in imminent fear of being a victim of domestic violence.

A judge must review the petition once the document is filed to determine whether a temporary restraining order should issue to protect the petitioner until a final hearing on the domestic violence injunction could be held. Judges prefer to preserve the status quo until the final hearing and will most likely issue a temporary restraining order.

The respondent, who is the person against whom the restraining order is sought, has a right to be served with the temporary order and the date of the final hearing. The respondent must have formal notice of the temporary order and the final hearing date. Otherwise, the respondent will not be bound to follow the order.

Receiving notice of a temporary restraining order is an incredibly serious legal matter. A violation of the injunction or restraining order could land the respondent in jail and cause the individual to face additional charges. A well-qualified Sarasota Criminal Defense Lawyer will understand the best tactic to defend your rights. The person facing a domestic violence injunction stands to lose many valuable rights that will have a massive impact on his or her life, such as losing the right to be a parent, contact family members, live in their home, and have a firearm and ammunition for protection. Moreover, the allegations contained in the petition for a domestic violence injunction could make out a case for a crime of domestic violence. An experienced Sarasota Domestic Violence Defense Attorney would know how to defend the allegations in civil court and criminal court while protecting the rights of the accused.

Automatic No-Contact Orders in Sarasota Domestic Violence Cases

Police can arrest a person for a crime of domestic violence when they have probable cause to believe the person committed a crime. Probable cause to arrest is a far cry from a conviction. Additionally, the police do not search for exculpatory evidence to help the arrestee. Once they hear that a person committed a crime of domestic violence, which is typically based on the statement of the alleged victim, the police must arrest the person accused of the crime.

Once the person is under arrest for a crime of domestic violence, the person cannot be let out until jail until 24 hours pass, or the court sets the person free. Additionally, §741.29(6) imposes a stay away and no-contact order on the accused automatically. A violation of the automatic order will initiate additional criminal offenses.

Domestic Violence Penalties in Sarasota

Classifying a crime as a domestic violence offense acts as a sentencing enhancement for the underlying crime. For example, the common penalty for assault or battery is incarceration in the county jail for up to one year. The crime of aggravated domestic battery, which courts refer to as felony battery, is a third-degree felony and is punishable by a five-year prison term in a state penetentiary.

Additional sanctions for a conviction relating to a crime of domestic violence include:

  • 26-Week Batterer’s Program completion;
  • One Year of Probation;
  • Five Days in jail — minimum — if the crime involves a bodily injury;
  • Community Service;
  • Lost right to own firearms and ammunition;
  • Automatic No-Contact Order, and
  • Possibly living subject to a domestic violence injunction.

The possible consequences for a conviction of a crime of domestic violence are life-altering and harsh. The person facing these charges in Sarasota needs the service of a tough and experienced Sarasota Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer to defend their freedom.

Domestic Crimes in Sarasota

As discussed previously, the range of crimes classified as domestic violence in Florida is expansive. The crimes listed below will be qualified as domestic violence incidents when they involve a family or household member:



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 the 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

Defending Sarasota County Criminal Offenses

Defending against domestic violence crimes requires thorough planning coupled with an exhaustive investigation conducted for the benefit of the accused. The applicable defenses will vary depending on the unique circumstances of the case. Defenses may be asserted during the pre-trial stages as well as the trial stages.

Pre-trial defenses could focus on the lawfulness of the police conduct. If the police violated the rights of the accused by seizing evidence unlawfully or questioning the accused without issuing the Miranda warnings appropriately. The judge could toss out the evidence unlawfully seized or obtained.

Negotiating a favorable disposition through plea bargaining is another valuable pre-trial tactic. Taking the initiative and entering counseling before the disposition of the case shows the prosecution and the judge that the accused is serious about correcting the problems that sparked the domestic incident. Effective plea bargaining can only be done with the representation of a reputable Sarasota Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer who works well with the prosecution and is respected by the prosecuting attorneys.

Trial defenses involve contesting the government’s evidence that a crime of domestic violence was committed. Trial defenses might involve arguing that the alleged victim fabricated the charges, exaggerated the event, engaged in mutual combat, made inconsistent statements, did not have an injury, and had a motive to lie. Other defenses that could be asserted at trial include self-defense, defense of another person, property defense, and stand your ground.

Call the Sarasota Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers with Musca Law Today!

Domestic violence charges are incredibly serious, and the ramifications of a conviction have the potential to cause great upheaval in a person’s life. Contacting Musca Law’s today at 888-484-5057 to speak with Sarasota Defense Lawyers who are available 24/7 to protect you and fight on your behalf. Do not delay in pursuing the strongest defense possible, and contact Musca Law today.

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