Few people can heighten our emotions like a family member or loved one and unfortunately, those powerful emotions can sometimes result in an incidence of domestic violence. In other cases, those intense emotions can motivate a person to allege domestic violence even when those allegations are unfounded.
In fact, many who face domestic violence charges are good, law abiding citizens who’ve never been involved with the law before. But suddenly, you find yourself in handcuffs, facing intense embarrassment and even fear at what the future could hold. After all, it’s not uncommon for a prospective employer or even a prospective landlord to check your criminal record and many have policies against dealing with or hiring individuals convicted of a violent crime. This is why it’s so important to trust your case to an experienced domestic violence lawyer.
At the Law Offices of Hutchinson & Huffman, we have an elite team of criminal defense lawyers who represent clients facing a range of charges, including domestic violence. Our clientele spans Palm Beach County, West Palm Beach County, Martin County and the surrounding area.
Our law firm was founded by two very experienced defense attorneys. Combined, they share more than a half century of legal experience. This experience, along with our steadfast commitment to our clients, has allowed us to earn a reputation as some of the most sought-after domestic violence defense lawyers in the region.
If you or a loved one was charged following a domestic dispute, you need legal advice as soon as possible to improve your chances of a positive case resolution. Contact the Law Offices of Hutchinson & Huffman to obtain a free and fully confidential case consultation session. Call our practice at (561) 838-9793.
Common Questions and Concerns After a Domestic Violence Arrest in West Palm Beach
It’s not unusual to have lots of questions and concerns following an arrest. This is especially true if you lack previous involvement with law enforcement and the criminal justice system. In fact, some clients have never been in police custody and a few have never even gone to court! This can make the experience even more frightening Our legal team has compiled a few of the most common inquiries that we address with clients who are facing serious domestic violence charges.
What’s Considered Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence cases are treated somewhat differently from an assault and battery case involving a total stranger. Domestic violence cases are typically subject to harsher penalties.
A case may fall under the purview of Florida domestic violence laws if the incident involves a family member or another member of your household. This can include a spouse, a child, the other parent of your child, a girlfriend or boyfriend, a sibling, a parent or any other family member. This includes family members by blood or by marriage.
The law also protects individuals who lived together in the past. So an altercation involving your former live-in girlfriend may fall under the umbrella of domestic violence.
This type of violence can take many different forms. According to Florida domestic violence laws, “’Domestic violence’” means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.”
What if I Was Defending Myself? Is This Considered Domestic Violence?
There are some domestic violence cases that involve an act of self-defense. The authorities investigating the scene may have a difficult time sorting through the facts of the case, resulting in a situation where they arrest a party who was acting in self-defense or in an effort to provide protection to their children or another vulnerable loved one.
Self-defense can certainly be utilized as an effective defense to allegations of domestic violence. If you were arrested for a domestic violence charge but were, in reality, defending yourself, then this is an important point to discuss with your attorney. Your attorney can then work to gather and present evidence that supports your claim.
As part of your defense, your attorney can also highlight the presence of mitigating circumstances in your case, which can include a lack of criminal history, a history of mental illness or emotional disturbance, or young age at the time of the crime.
I’m Facing Aggravated Domestic Violence Charges. What Does This Mean?
In cases where the prosecutor can establish the presence of an aggravating factor, a charge may be upgraded to an aggravated felony.
Florida law names a number of possible aggravating factors, which can include an act involving an especially cruel atrocity.
What are the Penalties for Domestic Battery? Will I Face Jail Time?
Domestic battery is one of the most common domestic violence-related charges. Each case is unique, so it’s challenging to predict precisely which penalties a client may face if convicted. But some of the potential penalties include:
- up to 12 months probation;
- up to 12 months in jail;
- a fine of up to $1,000;
- community service; and
- enrollment in a 26-week Batterer’s Intervention Program, also called a “BIP.”
In some cases, there may be a mandatory five-day minimum jail sentence in certain cases where the case involves physical injury and the defendant is found guilty. Cases involving child abuse can be prosecuted more seriously.
It is not uncommon for the courts to issue an injunction, also called a “no contact order” which prevents the defendant from contacting the victim. No contact orders can also be called a “restraining order.”
How Much Will It Cost to Hire a Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer?
The total cost of a client’s legal fees will vary according to the nature and complexity of your case. A simple and more straightforward case could be resolved in a fairly swift manner, while another more complex, involved case could proceed to trial, resulting in more significant legal fees.
Due to the degree of variance, we recommend contacting our law firm to discuss your unique case. Once we’re familiar with the specifics of your case, we can provide you with an approximate dollar figure.
How can a West Palm Beach domestic violence attorney help?
The attorney will know the system, different counties/jurisdictions handle domestic violence cases very different. A lawyer familiar with the court workings will be very helpful.
In Palm Beach County, where are domestic violence cases heard?
In court with all other criminal cases.
Is there a specific place that domestic violence can take place?
Anywhere, a home, office, a neighbor’s house, outside or attending an event. The criteria is what relationship you have with the other person.
In West Palm Beach, what constitutes as domestic violence and domestic abuse?
They are both the same, abuse may be more related to a divorce situation where violence will be considered criminal.
Do I need to get a restraining order and if so, how do I go about getting one filed?
If you feel threatened or if the person has hurt you in the past and you feel there is an imminent threat to harm you again, you need to go to your local courthouse and ask for the domestic violence division. Usually, there will be a form that needs to be filled out and notarized.
Turn to a Top Palm Beach Lawyer for Help with Your Domestic Violence Defense
A domestic violence arrest can spur some very intense emotions, making this type of case especially challenging for the client. We understand how difficult this type of case can be, and our legal team is committed to protecting your interests and your freedom as we work to bring about a positive outcome to your case.
At the Law Offices of Hutchinson & Huffman, our experienced team of defense lawyers will work to develop a strong strategy for defending your case, while keeping you informed and involved throughout the entire legal process.
If you or a loved one have been arrested for domestic violence, contact the Palm Beach defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Hutchinson & Huffman. Our practice areas include all types of violent crimes, drug crimes, sex crimes, theft crimes and beyond. We’re happy to provide you with a confidential case evaluation. Call (561) 838-9793.