Treasure Coast Florida families often find themselves facing domestic violence and battery charges, especially when going through a divorce or a custody battle. When one member of the family is charged with domestic violence, they find themselves in a difficult and emotional situation. These charges have consequences that extend beyond criminal records. You should fully expect the state Attorney’s office to arrest and prosecute you for domestic violence, once the police are called to the scene. And when that occurs, you need to act quickly to defend yourself against these charges.
Here at the Law Office of Leonard S. Villafranco, P.A, the attorney is experienced at defending people charged with domestic violence and battery. Our firm, located in Port Saint Lucie, Florida, will guide you through every stage of your case. With the legal experience needed to defend his clients, Leonard Villafranco is familiar with the court system in Saint Lucie and Martin Counties. Contact us immediately to schedule a free initial consultation about your case.
Florida Domestic Violence Crimes
Domestic violence often erupts between family members after a simple misunderstanding. However if the police arrive, the chances are very high that someone will go to jail. If domestic abuse charges result simply from a family dispute, it is important to speak to a knowledgeable attorney like Leonard Villafranco immediately. He recognizes that the most successful resolution of family disputes occur outside of the courtroom. We will contact both prosecutors and the attorney for the spouse/victim directly in an effort to resolve the situation without going to trial.
While domestic violence is commonly associated with a fight between a husband and a wife, it can be any physical contact between husbands, wives, children, domestic partners, or people living in a close relationship. Domestic Violence occurs when a family member injures or commits any violent offense against another family member. Some examples are:
- Assault or Battery
- False Imprisonment of Kidnapping
- Sexual Battery (Rape)
- Any offense resulting in physical injury or death
Florida created a domestic violence court to handle these cases. If convicted, an individual can face the following penalties:
- Jail time and probation
- Restraining order – petitioned by the victim
- No contract order – issued by a judge
- Mandatory counseling
- Permanent stain on your criminal record
Defenses to Domestic Violence
Defending domestic violence cases are difficult, because deeper issues usually caused the altercation in the first place. These defenses can include:
- Alcohol, Drug, or Substance Abuse
- Child Custody Disputes
- Injunctions Proceedings
- Mental Health Issues
- Pending Divorce, or
- Spiteful Family Members
With these things in mind, the best way we approach a domestic violence case in Stuart or Port St. Lucie, Florida, is to develop a plan that will result in the dismissal of the case whenever possible, and also bring harmony between you and the accuser. Remember that in Martin and St. Lucie County, just because the accuser agrees to “drop the charges,” under Florida law, only the State Attorney has the power to dismiss the charge.
Criminal Assault and Battery
Florida law defines assault as an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to another person, coupled with an apparent ability to do so. It must also include actually doing some act, which creates a well-founded fear in the other person that such violence is imminent. A battery is the actual unlawful and willful touching, striking, or causing bodily harm to a victim against his or her will.
Penalties for Domestic Violence
In addition to the statutory penalties applicable to any criminal offense, domestic violence charges also carry the following enhanced penalties.
- Minimum mandatory jail time of five (5) days in jail
- Mandatory 26-29 week Batterers Intervention Program
- Ineligible to ever have the charges sealed or expunged from your criminal record
- Forfeit your right to have a gun while on probation, even for a misdemeanor
- Your concealed weapons permit will be revoked
Domestic violence charges can have far reaching repercussions both to you individually and to your entire family. Criminally speaking, the state Attorney’s office may charge you with either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon the severity of the altercation. The charges may also affect the outcome of your divorce action, how the court may distribute you assets and debts, and issues concerning custody and visitation with your children. To speak to an experienced lawyer in Stuart or Port St. Lucie, contact the Law Office of Leonard S. Villafranco, P.A. to schedule a free initial consultation. We defend people throughout the Treasure Coast of Florida, including Stuart, Palm City, Jupiter, Port Saint Lucie, Fort Pierce, Okeechobee, Vero Beach, and Sebastian.