Florida pursues domestic violence charges in a way that can, at times, be overzealous. Consequently, wrongly accused people, or those who just made a mistake, can end up behind bars, saddled with a permanent criminal record. You could lose your home, your financial well-being, and even your children.
If you were arrested or are facing charges for any domestic violence-related crime, you need advocates who will protect your legal rights and fight for your future. The domestic violence lawyers in Tampa at Goldman Wetzel can help.
Contact us today to get started: 727-828-3900.
How Does the Law Define Domestic Violence in Tampa?
The statutes define domestic violence as any criminal offense that causes physical harm to a household or family member. This includes spouses, former spouses, blood and in-law relatives, current and former cohabitants, and co-parents.
Some of the possible scenarios that the State Attorney will classify as domestic violence include allegations of child abuse, a child perpetuating violence against a parent, partner abuse (regardless of whether the partner is the same sex), and even roommate abuse.
The domestic violence statutes specifically note the following criminal offenses:
- Aggravated assault
- Aggravated battery
- Sexual assault
- Sexual battery
- Aggravated stalking
- False imprisonment
What Are the Penalties for Domestic Violence in Tampa?
A first offense usually carries first-degree misdemeanor charges, which means a $1,000 fine and up to 12 months in jail, and/or 12 months’ probation.
If the incident involved strangulation, you will face third-degree felony charges. These charges carry a sentence of up to five years in prison.
You may face elevated charges if the offense involved aggravating factors.
The court will also require you to complete a 26-week Batterers’ Intervention Program. The court can order you to have no contact with the victim, which may leave you with nowhere to live. You may lose your right to own or carry a firearm and other civil liberties.
Finally, a Tampa domestic violence conviction is not eligible for sealing or expungement. This means you will have a permanent criminal record that will stay with you for the rest of your life. You may even lose your parental rights.
How Can Goldman Wetzel Help Me with Domestic Violence Charges?
Because of the highly emotional nature of these crimes, and the risk to vulnerable individuals, the police and prosecutors can be overzealous in their pursuit of a conviction.
In fact, the State Attorney will likely file charges even if your spouse, partner, or family member recants the allegation and does not wish to prosecute.
The domestic violence legal team at Goldman Wetzel understands how a highly-charged situation can quickly go wrong. The police must make a snap decision at the time and, as they do not have to have witnessed the alleged acts, they will almost always arrest the accused individual and take that person to jail.
The prosecution has a high burden of proof, which means our team may have many options to work with. To build your defense, we may argue any of the following:
No violence occurred: Spouses may argue over money, parenting, infidelity, or other relationship issues. Ex-partners may clash over divorce or child custody matters. In some cases, these verbal, not physical, arguments can cause neighbors to call the police.
Self-defense: In other cases, your partner may have substance abuse problems or anger issues, potentially requiring you to take steps to defend yourself. We consider the possibility, not only of self-defense, but the defense of others or defense of property.
False Accusations: Specifically, we look for red flags such as a lack of injury, a lack of corroborating evidence, or contradictory witness statements.
If you call us as soon as police arrest you, we can often intervene before the state files charges, and argue to have any false accusations dismissed. Depending on the evidence we uncover, we may be able to negotiate for a lesser charge or suggest a voluntary diversion program.
If necessary, however, we can fight your case in court. Using our past experience and unique insight into the legal system, we can build a strong case in your defense.
Along the way, we will protect your rights and fight tirelessly to ensure the best possible outcome in your case.
Our approach to your criminal defense will depend on the specific nature and details of your case.
However, regardless of the case, we always use a team approach. This doubles our resources for collecting evidence in your case, taking witness statements, speaking to friends and family members, and reviewing the police reports — all to build a strong case in your defense.
It also means that we have two unique minds brainstorming defenses for your case.
Goldman Wetzel: Domestic Violence Lawyers in Tampa
Your future is at stake. Do not try to fight this battle alone, and never answer questions or give a statement without your attorney present. And never assume that you are doomed to conviction just because the police took you to jail.
The compassionate, professional attorneys at Goldman Wetzel know how to help you.
We have a comprehensive background that includes time spent in the State Attorney’s office and the Pinellas County justice system. This provides us with unique insight into the way the legal system works and how prosecutors build their cases. Together, we will put this unique insider’s perspective to work for you.
We will fight aggressively to protect your legal rights and defend you against exaggerated or false allegations.
We offer complimentary consultations and case reviews, to answer your questions and help you understand your options. Contact Goldman Wetzel today to discuss your case with our team: 727-828-3900.