There were more than 66,000 arrests made for domestic violence-related offenses in Florida in 2019. Some of the people arrested were guilty of domestic violence. Others were not. Nonetheless, each one of them had the right to the best legal defense available.
If you have been arrested for a domestic violence offense, you face losing your home, your job, your children, and your freedom. You need an experienced domestic violence defense attorney on your side.
For more than 30 years, David Lee Sellers, PA has been representing clients charged with domestic violence offenses in Pensacola, Crestview, Fort Walton Beach, and Milton, Florida. David delivers legal guidance and advocacy with respect for clients and is dedicated to helping them pursue the best outcome available to them in their case.
Reach out to David Lee Sellers, PA today to schedule a free consultation.
Florida law defines domestic violence as “…any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.”
“Family or household member” includes spouses, former spouses, those related by blood or marriage, and those currently residing or formerly residing together as a family. All must be or have been residing in the same dwelling. A family or household member also includes parents who share a child no matter whether they were ever married or lived together.
A conviction for domestic violence does not require a noticeable injury to the victim. The mere threat of harm is enough to warrant an arrest.
When arrested for domestic violence involving injury, you will first be jailed without bond until a hearing can be scheduled. If the bond is set and you pay it, you will be prohibited from having any contact with the alleged victims until charges are dropped or you are acquitted of the charges.
If convicted, you will face misdemeanor or felony penalties related to the specific act. For example, the minimum penalty for a misdemeanor domestic assault conviction is one year of probation, during which time you might be required to complete a batterer’s intervention program.
Other penalties include:
Jail or prison incarceration
Mandatory anger management and intervention programs
Loss of certain privileges such as the right to own firearms
Loss of child custody and parenting privileges
Deportation if you are not a U.S. citizen
These are the penalties you face under the law, but you can lose significantly more if convicted of a domestic violence crime. You may lose your job or the potential for advancement. Your personal relationships with partners, family, children, and friends will suffer. If you are convicted of a domestic violence charge related to sexual abuse, you will also be required to register as a sex offender.
An experienced criminal defense attorney will help you mount a defense against any charges. Three general defenses include:
An alleged victim can accuse someone of something they never did or embellish the actual event to make the alleged perpetrator appear to have committed a violent domestic act. If yours is a case of one person’s word against another, your domestic violence defense attorney can help document evidence of the truth. Law enforcement and the courts often initially take the word of the alleged victim over yours and will take immediate steps to protect them until the facts are discerned.
If you inflicted bodily injury or even death upon the alleged victim while attempt to defend yourself against them, your attorney will work to prove that you acted in self-defense.
Domestic violence must be intentional. That is, you must intend to harm the other person or intend to make them feel threatened. Injury to someone else without your intent is a defense. For example, if you and your spouse have an argument and you leave the house, slam the door, and an object falls off a shelf and strikes your spouse resulting in an injury. There was no intent to cause harm, even though the injury occurred during the course of a domestic argument.
Domestic violence charges are even more complicated than similar criminal charges that do not involve a family or household member. Those relationships make situations more emotional and volatile. Those relationships also often have higher stakes than convictions for crimes against strangers. Whether domestic violence charges are justified or not, you deserve the best criminal defense possible. There are always two sides to every story.
David Lee Sellers, PA is committed to protecting your rights under the law to make sure your story is heard. If you live in Pensacola, Crestview, Fort Walton Beach, or Milton, Florida and you have been arrested for or charged with domestic violence, reach out immediately. A domestic violence conviction can take away your freedom and everything important in your life, so do not delay. Call David Lee Sellers now.