Domestic Violence Attorney in Tampa, Florida
Facing accusations of domestic violence in Tampa, Plant City can have very serious consequences. Domestic Violence is handled differently from other criminal charges. Here are some consequences of domestic violence:
You cannot immediately bond out but have to sit in jail and wait for the First Appearance court date or PP court to have a bond set,
Even if adjudication was withheld, you are not able to seal your criminal record,
A second offense can lead to a felony conviction,
The police will often arrest someone when called.
If you face domestic violence charges in Tampa or are being investigated for those charges, it is important to contact an experienced Tampa domestic violence attorney. An attorney can help you aggressively fight these charges, get a bond to ease the process of turning yourself in in case of a warrant.
How To Defend Against Domestic Violence Charges?
Victim is not Cooperating
Domestic Violence charges have to be defended aggressively. You may wonder if you need an attorney if the victim wants to drop the charges. The short answer is: Yes! That is because the prosecutor will make the final decision on whether or not the charges will be dropped and often times they will not dismiss the case simply because the alleged victim wants them to do so. The state attorney can prosecute the case based on what other people have seen or heard and what the police officers have seen or heard. If that happens, contact an experienced Tampa criminal defense attorney immediately. An attorney can help you file possible motions to prevent the prosecutor from using certain statements that witnesses and the alleged victim has made to police. These motion can be based on your constitutional rights as well as your rights under Florida evidentiary rules.
In other cases the alleged victim may be lying and falsely accuse you of domestic violence to gain an advantage in a divorce case or simply to get you arrested. An experienced domestic violence attorney can help you examine the case and develop a proper defense, find inconsistencies in the witnesses' statements and observations and evidence that police collected.
Get Charges Dismissed after Diversion
Even if you are guilty, there may be alternative ways available in which the case can be resolved that would prevent a criminal conviction. Depending on the circumstances in your case, you may qualify for the misdemeanor intervention program. This program will allow you to have the domestic violence charges dismissed as long as you complete certain conditions. An experienced Tampa criminal defense attorney can help you get into this program.
Self Defense can be used in a domestic violence case. However, you are not automatically entitled in a jury trial to have the jury consider self defense. You first have to have some kind of evidence that was presented during the trial that self defense was an issue. An experienced Tampa domestic violence attorney can help you assert this defense. If successful, you would be found not guilty or the prosecutor may even drop the charges before trial.
Penalties for Domestic Violence Charges in Tampa
Domestic Violence can be either a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of up to 1 year in jail or a felony with a 5 year prison sentence depending on the circumstances in your case.
Misdemeanor Domestic Violence
If you have never been charged with battery or domestic violence and your case does not involve any aggravated injury, you will be charged with a misdemeanor. In order to prove that you are guilty of domestic violence, the prosecutor has to prove that:
You intentionally touched pr struck the victim, and
That you are related to, have been dating, have lived in the same household as a family, or have children in common with the alleged victim.
Felony Domestic Violence
If you have been convicted of battery or domestic violence before, you could be arrested for a 3rd degree felony and face up to 5 years in prison. You could also face a felony if you caused great bodily harm to the alleged victim or permanent disfigurement or if you strangle the alleged victim. If you know or should have known that the alleged victim was pregnant, you can also be charged with a felony battery on a pregnant female. In order to prove that you are guilty of a felony, the prosecutor has to prove one of the following in addition to the elements listed above:
That you have been previously convicted of battery or domestic violence (this means a conviction and not simply a prior arrest), or
That you caused great bodily harm to the alleged victim, or
That you strangled the alleged victim (strangulation requires that you cut off the air flow of the alleged victim), or
That you either knew or should have known that the alleged victim was pregnant (this means if the alleged victim was your long-time girl friend or your wife, you are presumed to know that she was pregnant because of the intimate relationship).
Battery vs. Domestic Violence
Battery and Domestic Violence charges are very similar. There is only one main difference between the two - which is the relationship status between you and the alleged victim. For the most part domestic violence charges involve two people who are in some kind of relationship with each other such as being married, dating or having a child in common. However, because the statute also includes people living together as a family, some police officers may arrest roommates for domestic violence. Just simply fighting with your roommate however should not be included in this definition. This is because the statute does not simply say anybody living in the same house with someone can be charged but the statute defines this type of relationship as living together as if a family. This means all of the factors including how long you have lived together, are you sharing food and other items and close of a relationship do you have with each other must be considered.
Contact a Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested for or been charged with one of the above crimes, contact an experienced Tampa Domestic Violence Attorney immediately. Do not make any statements to either police or the prosecutor's office without first hiring an attorney. Anything you say will likely be used in the worst possible way against you.