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Domestic Battery Arrests in Palm Beach County

Palm Beach County, FL has seen a rise in Domestic Battery arrests over the past few months.  The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office has a must arrest policy, when dealing with domestic battery calls. If you or someone in your home calls 911 and request a deputy sheriff because of a domestic situation, in Palm Beach County, you can bet someone is going to jail after law enforcement officers arrive at the location of the call. This policy of must arrest on domestic battery situations dates back to 1990’s or to the Lita McClinton Sullivan murder.

Domestic battery in Florida is easily defined as: (1) actually and intentionally touching or striking another person against their will; (2) with both the alleged defendant and victim being from the same family or household.  The statute and case law defines family or household member to mean spouse, former spouse, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married. With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit.

With Palm Beach County’s must arrest policy on domestic violence cases and with the above definition of the law, what should one do when a member of the household calls 911 to report a domestic situation at their house, apartment, condominium or place of adobe? The following information provided comes with over 10 years of defending domestic violence cases throughout Palm Beach County, FL.

The best thing to do is remain calm. Remember, law enforcement officers are being called to a domestic situation and are unaware of what is occurring from the location of the call. So naturally, law enforcement officers will be on heightened alert and likely tense, when they arrive to investigate the domestic battery call. Palm Beach County Sheriff Deputies, upon arrival, will immediately separate any and all family members involved in the domestic situation. The deputies will begin to sort out what allegedly occurred by trying to determine who was the primary aggressor and who in fact received injuries?

When Palm Beach County Deputies arrive at a domestic violence call, they will take somebody involved in the dispute to the Palm Beach County Jail on Gun Club Road. With a must arrest policy in place, it is just a matter of the deputies sorting who will be leaving the residency in handcuffs. So besides staying calm, what other means should one take?

First, it is best not to give a statement to the law enforcement officer if you have been involved in any type of perceived criminal activity. If you are the target of the investigation in a domestic battery arrest, anything you say will be used against you to make the arrest and later by the prosecuting attorney in the Office of the State Attorney in and for Palm Beach County, when deciding whether to formally file a criminal information of domestic violence.

Second, the alleged victim may or may not give a statement as to what occurred. The victim does not have to give a statement to law enforcement officers. In Florida, there is no duty to talk to anyone let alone law enforcement officers. Sometimes, when the alleged victim on scene refuses to make a statement of what occurred; others who witnessed the domestic battery will provide statements to the deputies. While these non-victim statements are usually enough for probable cause to arrest the alleged aggressor, they many times are not enough standing to procure a criminal conviction.

Third, if the allegations of the domestic violence occurred between siblings, brothers and or sisters, Florida law still mandates an arrest and prosecution. There is no provision under Florida’s domestic battery law that allows for violence, as between siblings involved in mutual combat. However, the complete defense of invitation or that both parties intentional engaged in contact, when the parties touched each other, is a defense. This defense of mutual combat however, will not prevent an arrest.

Lastly, hiring an aggressive criminal lawyer to secure a sworn statement from the alleged victim that he or she wishes not to prosecute; and to have the witness provide a more accurate account of what really occurred; is likely to get the criminal charges dropped against the accused.

West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer, Andrew D. Stine, has been defending those accused of domestic battery, domestic violence and domestic violent Injunctions in West Palm Beach for over a decade. Domestic battery arrest must be defended aggressively. If you or a loved one has been arrested for domestic battery, domestic violence, or violation of a domestic battery injunction, then contact Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney, Andrew D. Stine, immediately at 561.880.4300.  Hire Stine or Do the Time!

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