During the last several months, Florida's stay at home orders have forced people into close quarters for long periods of time, and tempers are flaring. The stress caused by financial concerns, children underfoot and fear of illness are like a pressure cooker, and charges of domestic abuse have risen. The police must be diligent in investigating each case to determine whether it is an argument that got out of hand or a crime. A balance needs to be struck between protecting victims from abuse, even during a pandemic, and avoiding exposing officers, victims, alleged perpetrators, and court personnel to Covid 19. If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, your life is at risk if you are held in jail. That is why it's more important than ever to hire an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney that can provide an excellent defense during this crisis.
How Is Domestic Violence Defined in Florida?
Florida Statutes 741.28 defines domestic violence as a violent crime that causes physical injury to a family member or a member of one's household. The underlying crime can be any violent crime such as assault, battery, sexual assault, stalking, false imprisonment, or kidnapping. During the pandemic, people sharing a living space would easily meet the requirements of a household, so most violent crimes committed in homes while sheltering in place are likely to be considered domestic violence. Police are trying their best to mitigate disputes, but the fact is if the police are called to a home and hear or see evidence that a crime related to domestic violence has been committed, one party will be going to jail. All police agencies have a pro arrest policy in these cases.
Depending on the severity of the case, your domestic abuse charge could result in anything from mandatory fines, probation, and house arrest, to more serious consequences like jail or a prison sentence. A domestic abuse charge could negatively impact your professional and personal future and could stick on your record for a long time. A domestic abuse charge could also impact your child custody status, could be used against you in divorce court, and could be the start of a lot of other problems in your future.
Defending against charges of domestic violence in Florida
There are many ways to defend against domestic violence charges, and the strategy must be determined by the facts of each case. As a practical matter, it is very unlikely that you will be arrested and detained on domestic violence charges during the Covid 19 pandemic if you are a first offender and there are minimal or no injuries. If you are arrested, there are many defenses that an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney can use to prove that you are not guilty. The most common defense in domestic violence situations is mutual combat or consensual confrontation. There is no crime committed when two people agree to fight, even if one or both are injured as a result. You are also not guilty of a crime if you injure a person while defending yourself from their attack. For example, if somebody raises a fist to you, and you knock them over while pushing their hand out of the way, you are not guilty of a crime if they are injured. Similarly, if you injure a person while preventing them from causing harm to another, you have not committed a crime. Of course, the force used to defend yourself or another must be proportional to the original threat.
Alternatives to Jail due to Covid
The safest place to stay during the Pandemic is with close family that you have been with since the onset. Whenever possible, courts are ordering virtual anger management classes and other stay at home measures in lieu of jail time to prevent the spread of the virus. It is important to work with an experienced and creative Florida criminal defense attorney if you are accused of domestic violence while sheltering in place.
We are here for you 24/7. If you are facing any type of criminal charge, the first step is calling a criminal defense lawyer you can trust. Avallone Law P.A. is ready to help. Visit here for more information!