Understanding 2 Types of Domestic Violence Cases
Few Florida laws are as baffling and complex as those covering domestic violence, and much of the confusion stems from a fundamental legal concept: There are TWO cases implicated when someone accuses you of domestic violence. They are separate and distinct processes, one being criminal and the other civil in nature; you may face encounters with law enforcement in both matters, and there are serious consequences if you do not prevail.
However, beyond these basics, domestic violence allegations trigger a slew of statutes and court procedural rules. When your civil rights, personal freedoms, and relationships are at stake, it is critical to retain a Broward County domestic violence defense lawyer for legal help. A summary of the two cases may help you grasp how they work.
- Criminal Domestic Violence and Penalties: Regardless of the context and whether or not you know the victim, violent offenses are illegal. Simple battery is a First Degree Misdemeanor, so a conviction could mean up to a year in jail, a maximum fine of $1,000, and other penalties. When battery causes serious injuries, the offense is a Third Degree Felony punishable by a maximum of five years’ imprisonment and fine up to $5,000.
When the accuser is someone who is a “family or household member” as defined by law, the penalties are more severe. Florida imposes a mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail for a first-time offense, and the required incarceration term increases for subsequent offenses. The definition of domestic battery includes violence against:
- A spouse or former spouse
- Someone with whom you share a child
- Blood relatives
- People you are living with as a family
- Civil Domestic Violence and Orders of Protection: Florida law recognizes that victims could be at risk of additional violence while a criminal case proceeds through court. Therefore, they may be able to seek an injunction – the civil side of a domestic violence case. The accuser can file a petition on an emergency basis, so a judge may issue an order of protection without notice to you. Through this remedy, you are typically prohibited from contacting the petitioner, being present at places the accuser frequents; you may even be ordered to relocate or barred from exercising child visitation rights. However, note that:
- You will have an opportunity to present your position at a subsequent court proceeding, since an emergency order of protection cannot last more than 15 days. The hearing will be scheduled before the temporary injunction expires.
- The order of protection is not a criminal penalty – unless you violate the terms and conditions imposed by the court.
Consult with a Florida Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer About Fighting the Charges
This information should clarify how the two separate cases work in a domestic violence situation, but there are many additional details that affect your interests. Whether you are a defendant in a criminal case, a respondent to an injunction matter, or both, retaining experienced legal counsel is crucial. To learn how our team can assist with domestic violence allegations, please contact Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney Kevin J. Kulik. We can set up a confidential consultation to review your situation and develop a defense strategy.