Domestic Violence in Palm Beach County
Florida law defines domestic violence as any assault (threat or attempt to do bodily harm), battery (intentional, unlawful touching or striking) sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking (repeated, willful and malicious pattern of harassing, or following), kidnapping, or false imprisonment or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury, or death of one “family or household” member by another who is, or was, residing in the same single dwelling unit.
Domestic violence is a serious problem and it is getting worse every year. It is a common cause of injury. Victims may suffer physical injuries like bruises or broken bones – or worse. They may also suffer emotionally from depression, anxiety and social isolation.
It is hard to know exactly how many domestic violence incidents there are in Palm Beach County because many victims are unwilling to report it. There is no typical victim. It happens to people of all ages and it affects all levels of income, education and race.
Domestic violence is a first-degree misdemeanor in Palm Beach County and can result in a permanent criminal record if you are convicted. Make no mistake – if you have been charged with domestic violence, this is serious stuff and you need a good criminal defense attorney to assist you.
Many domestic violence cases can be resolved if you immediately enroll in an anger management program or a battery intervention program (BIP) and refrain from contacting the victim. This can result in the charge being dismissed or “nolle prosed” without a conviction or a criminal record.
If you did not commit the crime, a good criminal defense attorney will fight the charge aggressively. The lawyer will investigate the case, take depositions, get medical records, police reports and CAD reports (the information generated between the 911 and the police officer) to find out if the evidence supports the charges.
Charges of spousal abuse and domestic violence are often complicated because there may be a pending divorce or child custody matter. A criminal defense attorney with experience will sort out the many variables of the case. If the attorney is proactive, he or she can make the difference between facing a first-degree misdemeanor charge and having the charge dismissed altogether.
These cases are always fueled with emotion because it is between people who know each other. If you have been charged with domestic violence in Palm Beach County, hire a defense attorney who has all the skills to help you – and the sensitivity to understand what you are going through.