It is important to know your rights when faced with domestic violence charges. With a criminal defense lawyer on your side, you will have a better understanding of the process and potential ramifications of these charges.
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of abusive behaviors by one or both partners in a familial or intimate relationship. There are several types of domestic violence including:
- Physical aggression (hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, throwing objects)
- Threats of physical aggression
- Sexual abuse (forcing of undesired sexual behavior)
- Emotional abuse (subjecting a person to behavior that is psychologically harmful)
- Intimidation (intention to instill intense fear of injury or harm in another)
- Stalking (incessant unwanted attention by an individual)
- Neglect (failing to provide adequate care for a dependent)
What happens if I’m charged with domestic violence?
Domestic violence is a first-degree misdemeanor, which would result in a permanent criminal record if you are convicted. Contact a criminal defense lawyer to help you understand what happens after you’re arrested.
The long term consequences of domestic violence can be very serious. Employers who routinely conduct background checks will most certainly be able to see that you were convicted of a misdemeanor, and would be reluctant to hire you.
In Florida, landlords almost always do backgrounds checks to avoid liability for civil lawsuits in the event they rent to a person with violent tendencies.
What are my rights?
- The arresting officer must read you your Miranda warning
- You have the right to contact an attorney, a family member, or a bail bondsman
- You have the right to hear your charges, which should be a part of your Miranda warning
- You can ask for clarification of what your charges mean
- You can request your bail amount be reduced based on any evidence you have to show (finances, employment, community ties)
- You can NOT contact your victim unless your victim states he or she is not in fear of you
What do I do now?
Many domestic violence cases can be resolved without a criminal record if your lawyer has you immediately enroll in an anger management program or battery intervention program (BIP) and refrain from harmful contact with the victim. This can result in the charge being dismissed or “nolle prosed” without a conviction or a criminal record.
Being proactive in a domestic violence case can often make the difference between facing a first-degree misdemeanor charge and having the charge dismissed. If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side to help you fight for your freedom.