As a criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale who has worked on thousands of cases, domestic violence charges always seem to be the most troubling. Even in situations where the family has worked through their differences, the State Attorney's office will certainly still seek a conviction for an alleged offense. This often has the effect of tearing the family apart.
Females as well as males can commit domestic violence, though it is less common. Domestic violence includes assault and aggravated assault, battery and aggravated battery, sexual battery, sexual assault Domestic violence also includes stalking and aggravated stalking, false imprisonment, kidnapping, or other criminal offenses that result in physical injury or death of family members or household member by other family or household members.
Domestic Battery on a Spouse
Attorneys who handle domestic violence cases will point out that you do not have to be married to a person to be charged with domestic violence for injuring that person. Florida Statutes defines a family or household member as:
- Former spouse
- A person related by blood or marriage
- A person presently residing with you as if you were family
- A person who has previously resided with you as if you were family
- The other parent of your child, whether you were married or not
If you are charged with domestic violence, especially during divorce proceedings, the court may order you to attend marital counseling and/or anger management classes. You may also have visitation with your children rescinded or you may only be able to see them under the supervision of an uninterested party or an agency recommended by the state. You may also be required to turn in any firearms you own to the sheriff's department.
When someone files a domestic violence injunction (DVI) against you, you will be assigned a hearing date on the temporary injunction. When you attend the hearing, if the court finds that there is enough reason, it will enter a final judgment on the injunction. Injunctions are normally enforced for a period of one year. You will not be able to go within a specified number of feet to the petitioner - whether it is his or her work place or home.
If there are children involved, you may be ordered supervised visitation, and if not, you will have to pick up your children for visitation at a public place. You will also be ordered to pay child support if you are not the primary residential parent. If you are the secondary residential parent, you will most likely be asked to leave the marital home, as it is usually in the best interests of the minor children to stay there rather than you.
If you are charged with domestic violence or a domestic violence injunction has been served on you, it is advisable to contact an attorney immediately.
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