Under Florida law, household violence refers to any actual or intention striking or touching another person without consent, or intentionally causing bodily harm to another person, when the person struck is a household or family member. The term household or family member can refer to any of the following: husbands and wives, ex-husbands and ex-wives, persons related by blood or marriage, persons living together as a family, persons who have resided together as a family in the past and individuals who have a child in common. Here are some important details to know about domestic battery in West Palm Beach.
Possible Consequences of Domestic Battery
Household violence is regarded a first-degree misdemeanor with penalties that may entail a one-year jail term or 12 months probation and a fine of $ 1000. Due to the nature of crime, the convicted person will face additional mandatory penalties, including:
• 12 months probation
• Complete a 26-weeks Batterer’s Intervention Program (BIP)
• Five days jail term if the defendant is found guilty and the victim suffered bodily injuries
• Loss of essential civil liberties, such as being able to carry a firearm
• Additional hours of community service
• Imposition of an injunction or No Contact Order
Expunging or Sealing of Domestic Battery
Unlike other crimes in Florida, household violence charges cannot be sealed or expunged. According to the State law, persons charged with domestic violence battery or any other domestic related crime as defined in Section 741.28 of the Florida Statutes are not eligible to have their records sealed or expunged, regardless of whether jurisdiction is withheld.
Common Defenses for Domestic Battery
There are numerous defenses for household violence, many of which can help in having the case dropped or reduced before trial. Here are some common defense strategies:
Contacting the Victim
Household violence charges can be effectively addressed in their initial stages before the case is filed. If a “no contact “order has been issued, an attorney can contact the victim, and convince them to drop the charges. This will require the victim to complete a drop-charge affidavit, complete a course or meet with a Domestic Violence advocate so as to cancel the prosecution.
If the charges cannot be dropped in the initial stages of the case, pretrial motions can offer addition impetus for disposing or reducing the charges. Examples of pretrial motions include motions for court ruling, motions in limine and stand your ground motions. These may further help in negotiations and deter continued litigation.
Seeking Help Voluntarily
In most cases, it is essential for the defendant to be proactive and enroll for counseling or other rehab services voluntarily. Participating in such programs shows a level of responsibility, and can help change the prosecutor’s perception on the defendant as well as the case. This increases the odds of a non-criminal resolution, such as pretrial intervention.
Just like any other criminal offense in Florida, there are severe consequences if you are charged with household violence. It is important to hire an attorney to examine your case and determine the best course of action for you.