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 727.897.5413 or submit our online form.