Many people find out the hard way that once police officers are called to address a situation involving domestic violence, it is likely that someone will wind up in jail. Domestic violence is not a private matter but a criminal matter. However, it is treated a little differently from other types of crimes. One type of domestic violence is domestic battery. If you are charged with domestic battery, you should retain an experienced Tampa domestic battery lawyer. At Hanlon Law, we understand the consequences of having a conviction on your record, and we are familiar with all of the possible defenses that can be raised under the circumstances.Fighting a Domestic Battery Charge
Under Florida Statute section 741.28, domestic battery is a type of domestic violence. It involves any actual and intentional nonconsensual touching, hitting, or intentional causing of injury to another person who is a family or household member. Family or household members include spouses, ex-wives or ex-husbands, people related by marriage or blood, people who are presently living together as a family or who have lived together in the past as a family, and people who parent a child together, regardless of their marital status. Except for people who parent a child in common, family or household members must be currently living together or have lived together in the same home.
Domestic battery is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor. This means that you can face up to a year in jail or probation, as well as a fine of $1,000. Other penalties include completing a Batterer's Intervention Program, five days required in jail if you are adjudicated guilty for bodily injury, community service, the imposition of a no-contact order or injunction, and the loss of certain civil liberties. Unlike some other crimes, you cannot have a record for domestic violence, including domestic battery, sealed or expunged, regardless of whether adjudication is withheld. This means that it will stay on your permanent record and may affect sentences for future crimes, as well as your ability to secure a professional license, a job, and housing and educational opportunities. A domestic battery attorney can help Tampa residents try to avoid these consequences.
However, even if you have been arrested for domestic battery, you should not assume that you are doomed to a permanent record. If you retain an attorney early in the process, we can evaluate your case, determine a defense strategy, and talk to the prosecutor to see whether the charges can be dismissed or reduced. Defenses that we may raise include self-defense, defense of others, the vindictiveness of the alleged victim, the absence of physical injuries, factual disputes about what happened, and mutual combat.
In some cases, we can contact the alleged victim for you. If a no-contact order is in place, you cannot contact the victim, but we can find out whether the victim truly wants to press charges. In some cases, the victim does not wish to press charges. The ultimate decision rests with the Office of the State Attorney, but a prosecutor may be influenced by the reluctance of the victim to testify or press charges. A victim can complete a drop-charge affidavit, go to a course, or visit with a domestic violence advocate in order to get the court to drop the charges. If an alleged victim does not want to press charges, it may be possible to file a motion to modify the conditions of release, which allows you to resume contact with the alleged victim and try to get the charges dropped.Consult a Domestic Battery Lawyer in Tampa or the Surrounding Cities
It is advantageous to retain an attorney early in the process to discuss the case with the prosecution. The prosecutor may be less likely to press charges if they are presented with strong factual defenses or mitigating circumstances. You should take seriously an arrest for domestic battery. An early intervention by a skillful Tampa domestic battery attorney with a strong reputation can make a difference to the outcome of your case and its impact on your family. Our founder, Will Hanlon, is committed to protecting the rights of the accused. He has represented criminal defendants who need an assault or battery attorney since 1994. Call Hanlon Law at 813-228-7095 or complete our online form for an appointment.