Domestic Violence Attorney
If you have been charged with domestic violence in St. Petersburg, FL, you need an effective legal advocate to represent you.
Emotions often run high in families and relationships, and it is not uncommon for a heated argument to escalate into something more. Domestic violence is a violent act or threat of violence that occurs within a family or other domestic relationship: for example, one family member strikes another, forces a spouse or partner into unwanted sexual intercourse, confines or imprisons a member of the household, or stalks an estranged romantic partner.
Historically, domestic violence was often ignored. Because of this history and heightened awareness in today’s society, the pendulum has swung in the other direction. Today in Florida, domestic violence is taken very seriously, and a conviction may bring enhanced penalties, making it possible to punish the alleged perpetrator more harshly than if the victim was not someone in a domestic relationship with him or her.
A domestic violence attorney knows false accusations of domestic violence are not uncommon. An aggrieved and angry spouse may retaliate for infidelity or some other unwanted behavior by a partner by calling the police and wrongfully reporting an act of violence.
Because domestic crime has become so highly politicized in recent years, police are not given the discretion whether to file charges or not. If they are called out to investigate an allegation of domestic violence, if there is any chance at all that it may have occurred, someone must be charged, even if the accuser recants. Only the prosecutor may decide to drop the charges.Enhanced Domestic Violence Penalties In Florida
On top of the penalties for a given crime if the accused is not involved in a domestic relationship with the victim, the following enhanced penalties may be added to the normal ones provided by Florida statutes:
- Five days minimum in jail
- Participation in a mandatory intervention program for batterers, lasting up to 29 weeks
- Inability to ever have the record sealed or expunged
- Loss of the right to own a firearm
- Revocation of the accused’s concealed weapons permit
- Restraining order and expulsion from the family home
Domestic violence charges are different from others because they are often intertwined with social, emotional, and psychological problems on the part of the victim, the accused, or both.
- Child custody disputes
- Incompatible views on parenting
- Separation and divorce
- Substance abuse
- Mental health issues
- Legal proceedings to obtain an injunction
The frustrations and emotional bruises that often occur in these situations can lead to actual domestic violence or a false accusation.You Need Highly Skilled Defense
A domestic violence conviction can destroy your family and result in a permanent criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life. It is therefore important to obtain the best available defense by hiring a very experienced attorney to represent you. These cases can be very tricky, but defenses are available, for example:
- The act was done in defense of oneself or another person
- The alleged act was so minimal that it should not be deemed a criminal offense
- The allegation was entirely false and could not have been committed by the defendant
If you have been accused of domestic violence, you potentially have a great deal to lose, including your freedom, your family, and your home and financial assets. Never try to fight these charges alone. Having a compassionate and skilled St. Petersburg domestic violence lawyer working for you can make a tremendous difference in the outcome for you and your family.
Attorney Will Hanlon understands the legal and emotional factors involved in volatile domestic situations and can often work out solutions that benefit all parties and lead to having charges dismissed. If this is not a possibility, he will aggressively pursue the best available defense to prevent you from suffering the dire consequences of a domestic violence conviction.
For more than 25 years, Will has fought and won these cases for his clients. Don’t take a chance by trying to go it alone, and don’t rely on an overworked public defender. Call the law offices of criminal defense attorney Will Hanlon in St. Petersburg immediately to protect all that you hold dear.
- Battery By Strangulation
- Domestic Battery
- Domestic Violence Injuction
- Injunction to Prevent Repeat Violence in Domestic Violence Cases
- Sexual Violence Injunction
St. Petersburg has the sixth-highest rate of crime among cities in Florida. As of 2010, there were about 40,000 households with heterosexual married couples living together, while about 10,000 other households consisted of unmarried couples. Domestic violence is often part of a pattern of controlling actions that are used by one person to establish power over an intimate partner or family member. Generally, it can include kicking, punching, squeezing, arm twisting, strangling, slapping, hair pulling, verbal insults, hurting pets, efforts to isolate, threats to commit suicide, withholding medical care, stalking, demanding sex, or engaging in rape. These behaviors are subject to criminal prosecution under Florida law. If you are accused of domestic violence, it is crucial to retain a skillful criminal defense attorney right away. St. Petersburg domestic violence lawyer Will Hanlon is committed to protecting the rights of the accused, and he may be able to help you.Domestic Violence Charges
Under Florida Statutes section 741.28, criminal domestic violence can be charged when the perpetrator and the victim of a criminal action have a family or household member relationship. Family and household members include spouses, ex-spouses, people related through marriage or blood, people living together like a family, people who have lived together as a family in the past, and people who are parents of a child in common. Except for people who parent a shared child, a family or household member must have lived in the past in the same dwelling or currently do so. Criminal actions that count as domestic violence include battery, aggravated assault, assault, aggravated battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or other crimes resulting in the death or physical injury of one family or household member by another family or household member.
Domestic violence can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. Assault with the requisite family or household relationship, for example, is a second-degree misdemeanor. On the other hand, aggravated assault is charged as a third-degree felony. Battery can be a first-degree misdemeanor, but it can also be a third-degree felony. If you are convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor, you face a maximum of one year in jail or 12 months of probation and can be fined $1,000.
If they are charging you with domestic violence battery, a prosecutor needs to prove that you actually and intentionally touched or struck someone with whom you have a family or household member relationship, without that person’s consent. Alternatively, the prosecutor needs to show that you intentionally caused bodily harm to a family or household member. A domestic violence attorney in the St. Petersburg area can help you build an argument to cast doubt on the prosecution’s case.
In addition to imprisonment and fines, you may also be required to complete a 26-week batterers' intervention program, spend five days in jail, perform community service, and lose civil liberties. Often, a victim asks for a no-contact order or injunction. However, in some cases, a victim does not want the prosecutor to pursue the charges, and it may be possible to work together to get the charges dismissed or dropped.
There are defenses that a St. Petersburg domestic violence attorney can possibly raise on your behalf if you are accused of domestic violence. In some cases, there are material facts that are disputed about the incident giving rise to the charges, or there is no corroborating evidence. In other cases, there may be no injuries, and this fact can be used to persuade the prosecution to reduce or dismiss the charges. Other defenses can include a mutual confrontation or fight, self-defense, or defense of others. It may be appropriate to attack the victim's credibility if the victim has a reason to lie about the allegations, such as to gain an advantage in a family law dispute or take revenge.
In all domestic violence cases, it can be helpful to have an attorney on your side even before charges have been filed. Sometimes, we can make contact with the victim even if a no-contact order has been issued and provide them with information about how to ask for the charges to be dropped if they wish.Consult a Domestic Violence Lawyer in St. Petersburg
If you are charged with domestic violence, you should consult our experienced criminal defense firm. Our founder, Will Hanlon, has been providing dedicated criminal defense representation since 1994. He is committed to guarding the rights of the accused. You can call Hanlon Law at 727.289.0222 or submit our online form.