Goldman Wetzel is a Florida criminal defense law firm serving clients in Manatee and Sarasota Counties with an office conveniently located in Bradenton, FL.
Given that they imply the use of force or intimidation against another person, in Florida, domestic violence charges are taken very seriously. Since these cases are harshly prosecuted, if a family member, spouse or household member reported you for a violent behavior, you might need the help of a domestic violence attorney near you.
If you are facing a domestic violence accusation and the prosecution has enough compelling evidence against you, you could face fines, jail time, a permanent criminal record, among other consequences. Overcoming these accusations on your own can be very challenging if you are not familiar with the way the Florida criminal justice system works.
With your liberty and future at risk, consider retaining an experienced criminal lawyer that can help you obtain the best outcome possible for your case. If you are facing a DV charge in Manatee or Sarasota County, get the domestic violence lawyers at Goldman Wetzel on your side. Contact us today to see how we can help you.
What is Considered Domestic Violence in Florida?
Florida Statute § 741.28 establishes that domestic violence is committing any criminal offense that results in the death or harm of a household or family member. Under this definition, examples of domestic violence include simple and aggravated assault or battery, false imprisonment, sexual crimes, and stalking.
As its name suggests, domestic violence is a crime that occurs in a family or domestic environment. Therefore, the key element of involving a family or household member is extremely important in these offenses. In other words, you will be committing domestic violence if you perpetrate a criminal offense against:
- People with whom you have children in common (regardless of whether you have been married to them).
- The person that you are dating (dating violence).
- Your current or former spouse.
- People with whom you are related by blood.
- People with whom you live together (or had lived together in the past).
Dating violence is a term that is closely related to domestic violence. This offense relates to any form of harm or threats of violence that take place in an intimate dating relationship. In order to be considered dating violence, the parties must have been dating within the past 6 months on a continuous basis.
Like domestic violence, examples of dating violence include assault, battery, false imprisonment, and stalking. Even though most DV offenses in Manatee County are charged as misdemeanors, depending on the circumstances of the case, the prosecutor can escalate your charges based on different factors.
If you have been accused of a crime, you might have several questions about your charges, possible penalties, and the next steps to take. Contact our domestic violence attorneys in Bradenton to get more information about your case.
Types of Domestic Violence in Florida
As defined under statute § 741.28, there are many crimes that can fall into a domestic violence offense. Some of them do not necessarily result in the physical harm of the alleged victim, but there is a clear presence of intimidation or threat to use violence.
Virtually any violent crime listed in the Florida statutes might become domestic violence when it involves a family member, partner, or another member of your household. Some of the most common cases that our criminal lawyers handle include:
- Assault and battery
- Child abuse
- Domestic battery with strangulation
- False imprisonment
- Sexual battery
- Violation of restraining order
These offenses imply a different degree of violence against a person which can affect the defendant’s penalties and charges.
Penalties for Domestic Violence in Sarasota & Manatee
In Florida, domestic violence is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor. If convicted, the offender will face up to 1 year in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. However, severe forms of domestic violence (such as battery with strangulation or aggravated stalking) are considered felonies and carry harsher penalties.
Examples that are considered a first-degree misdemeanor domestic violence offense include:
- Domestic battery and assault
- Violating a restraining order
- First-time offenders (as long as there are no aggravating factors)
Aggravating factors that could escalate your charges include:
- Prior domestic violence convictions
- Use of a deadly weapon
- Severity of the injuries inflicted to the victim
- Lack of remorse
- Type of victim
Domestic violence becomes a felony if there is excessive use of force or the victim was a pregnant woman, a minor, or an elderly person. False imprisonment, domestic violence by strangulation, and aggravated stalking are classified as third-degree felony domestic violence. This could result in up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Felonies in the second-degree include severe battery offenses such as aggravated battery, sexual battery, aggravated battery on a pregnant woman and aggravated domestic battery with the use of a deadly weapon. Penalties include up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
A first-degree domestic violence offense includes offenses suchs kidnapping, assaulting or battering a family member over 65 years of age and committing sexual battery with aggravating circumstances. These charges could result in 30 years imprisonment and up to a $10,000 fine.
Additional penalties could also include:
- Complete a Batterer’s Intervention Program
- Possible loss of the right to carry a gun
- Community service hours
If you are facing charges for domestic violence in Sarasota or Manatee County, contact our defense lawyers as soon as possible to start working on your case.
Statute of Limitations for Domestic Violence
In Florida, domestic violence misdemeanors have a statute of limitation of 1 year. However, if the offense was charged as a felony, the statute of limitation is:
- 3 years for third and second-degree felonies.
- 4 years for a first-degree felony charge.
- No statute of limitation for first or second-degree sexual battery reported to law enforcement within 72 hours of the incident.
The prosecution for a domestic violence charge can be very harsh. As a result, convictions mean severe penalties that can have long-lasting effects on your life. Retaining a Goldman Wetzel attorney early in the process might give us the opportunity to negotiate with the prosecutor or find compelling evidence for your case.
Contact our Domestic Violence Attorneys in Bradenton
In Florida, a conviction for domestic violence leads to severe consequences. An experienced Bradenton criminal attorney has effective strategies that could help you obtain the best outcome possible for your case.
The criminal lawyers at Goldman Wetzel represent clients facing charges for domestic violence offenses in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.
If you have been accused of a domestic violence-related crime, speak to our attorneys so we can start working on your defense. We welcome you to send us a message or call us at (941) 405-5193 to schedule a free consultation.