Domestic violence is a serious offense. In Florida, penalties can range from a five-day jail sentence to fifteen years of imprisonment. Domestic violence may result in charges of assault and battery, which can mean a second-degree misdemeanor or third-degree felony, according to FindLaw.
If you have children, a domestic violence conviction could cause you to lose custody or visitation rights.
Domestic violence is a tragic problem across the country, and so strict laws exist to protect victims. But some accusations of domestic violence are false, and sometimes allegations result from acts of self-defense. You have the right to work with an experienced domestic violence attorney to prove your side of the story.
What is Domestic Violence?
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the definition of domestic violence is “a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain control over another intimate partner.” Florida domestic violence laws can apply to spouses, sexual/dating/intimate partners, family members, children, and cohabitants, according to FindLaw.
What Can Be Grounds for Domestic Violence or Abuse Allegations?
When proving a domestic violence case, a prosecutor must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally performed acts defined as domestic violence. If actual bodily injury occurred to the victim, the prosecutor may provide evidence proving that your actions resulted in bodily injury.
You might think that if you are innocent or were acting out of self-defense, then your case would be easy to win. However, it’s not so simple. Domestic violence and self-defense cases can get very complicated. According to VeryWellMind, the law considers “abuse” as going beyond just physical abuse. Abuse can include any action that is considered harassment, intimidation of a dependent, or interfering with someone’s personal liberty.
If you get into an argument with your spouse or partner – even actions such as yelling, touching your partner’s arm, or blocking a door while trying to explain your side of the argument – could be grounds for a domestic violence or abuse allegations.
Proving your innocence in terms of harassment, intimidation, or interference with personal liberty can be a complex and confusing challenge. Florida self-defense laws are very strict, sometimes making your rights and limits ambiguous. It’s critical to have legal support from an attorney who is highly experienced in all the nuances of Florida domestic violence laws. Otherwise, you might never be able to prove your innocence in court.
What About Self-Defense?
Self-defense is defined as “the right to prevent suffering force or violence through the use of a sufficient level of counteracting force or violence.” While this definition may seem straightforward there are almost endless questions that a prosecutor might ask. What is a sufficient level of force or violence when defending oneself? What pushes or exceeds the limit? Who provoked the attack? Was retreat possible? What is reasonable cause for threat and what isn’t? What threats are subjective and which are objective?
If you’re using self-defense against domestic violence charges, you need an attorney who knows Florida law inside and out.
What If You’re Accused of Domestic Violence in Florida?
Once an allegation of domestic abuse or violence has been made against you, a judge can issue an emergency order of protection. Orders of protection can vary in severity – with provisions ranging from a “No Contact” to “Peaceful Contact” to “Stay Away” or “Move Out.” The legal standard for issuing an order of protection is surprisingly low, meaning that people who were falsely accused or acting in self-defense risk long-term negative implications.
Even if you believe you are innocent or legally defending yourself, it’s essential to obey the rules of the order of protection at all costs. You can start working on your case with your attorney in the meantime, but disobeying the requirements of the order of protection will definitely hurt your case – even if you are innocent.
No kind of domestic violence or abuse charges should be taken lightly. If you are convicted, the repercussions could affect your entire life forever. If you’re accused of domestic violence in any form, it’s imperative to contact a family law attorney right away. Michael M. Raheb can help you gather evidence that convinces the courts of your innocence and legal rights to defend yourself. Make the decision that protects your wellbeing now and in the future.
Yes, if you were acting out of self-defense you can use that as a rebuttal to domestic violence charges. But it’s hardly ever that simple. Self-defense laws are complicated and domestic violence allegations are messy. Call 239-226-0888 or message us online.
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