Accusations of domestic violence have life-changing repercussions. If you’ve been accused of domestic violence, you may be facing significant fines and even imprisonment if convicted. To make matters worse, friends and family may jump to conclusions and assume that you’re guilty, despite the principle tenet of the American criminal justice system: innocent until proven guilty. In essence, for certain accusations such as domestic violence, society has inverted the principle to be guilty until proven innocent.
In addition to stress caused by friends and family members, prosecutors understand the shifted assumption and use a laser-like focus on these accusations. While friends and family may jump to conclusions in your private life, prosecutors will zealously prosecute you in public. Thus, if you have been accused of domestic violence in West Palm Beach, you need an attorney who understands the unique sensitivities that exist in domestic violence cases, as well as the prosecutor’s agenda.
At Herman Law, P.A., Florida criminal defense attorney Ron D. Herman has successfully handled thousands of cases of alleged domestic violence. Attorney Ron D. Herman is uniquely suited to defend you from accusations of domestic violence. Prior to entering private practice as a criminal defense lawyer, Attorney Ron D. Herman started his legal career as an Assistant State Attorney in Fort Lauderdale. Ultimately, Mr. Herman went on to become the division lead for the DUI and Domestic Violence Units. As a result, Mr. Herman knows the strategies that prosecutors will employ which allows him to always be a step ahead in your defense.
Mr. Herman’s success as a domestic violence defense lawyer has been acknowledged by multiple sources, including his role as a contributor to local news networks on high-profile crimes in Florida and receiving an AV Preeminent® rating by Martindale-Hubbell®, as well as being rated as one of Florida’s Super Lawyers®. We firmly stand by the principle that you are innocent until proven guilty, and will diligently pursue an acquittal to protect your future. If you have been accused of domestic violence, please contact our office as soon as possible for a free consultation.
Domestic Violence Under Florida Law
In Florida, domestic violence is a specific type of crime identified by the identity of the alleged victim. Florida law provides the following definition for domestic violence:
“any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.”
Additionally, Florida law defines family or household member to mean:
“spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married. With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit.”
Thus, domestic violence is a specific criminal act, generally relating to assault or violence, against a member of the family or a member of the household. To prove domestic violence, the prosecutor must prove the underlying crime –- whether it is assault or false imprisonment –- and then prove that the alleged victim was a member of the family or a member of the household as defined by Florida law.
Penalties for Domestic Violence in Florida
A conviction for domestic violence in Florida has lasting consequences that will impact more than your bank account. If convicted of domestic violence in Florida, you may face a minimum of five days in the county jail. In addition to the minimum five-day sentence, you can potentially face time in prison, large fines well into the thousands of dollars, community service, probation, and potentially the loss of the ability to own, possess, or operate a firearm. However, the breadth of penalties can extend well beyond the domestic violence charges.
The charge and/or conviction for domestic violence can impact other aspects of your life, such as child custody, divorce proceedings, and employment prospects. Normally, if you’ve been charged with a crime and found not guilty of that crime, you can have the charge expunged from your criminal record. However, charges for domestic violence generally cannot be expunged from your record even if you’re found not guilty.
Thus, despite your innocence, you may permanently have the charge for domestic violence on your record which will show up on employment-related background checks. Worse yet, despite being found not guilty, your charge for domestic violence can be used against you if you are again charged with domestic violence in the future.
If you are convicted of domestic violence, in addition to the above-mentioned penalties, you may also be required to complete the Batterers Intervention Program which is approximately 28 weeks long. Due to the severity of an allegation of domestic violence, it is imperative that you speak with a criminal defense attorney who specializes in domestic violence.
West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Defense Attorney
Through his years as the division lead for the Domestic Violence Unit, Florida criminal defense attorney Ron D. Herman has an unparalleled understanding of navigating the courts and public perception surrounding domestic violence charges. Having worked as a lead prosecutor of domestic violence charges, Attorney Ron D. Herman saw first-hand how the criminal justice system is bent against those who are accused of domestic violence. Mr. Herman is uniquely suited to defend you and your future from malicious prosecution and a biased criminal justice system. If you have been accused of domestic violence, please contact our office as soon as possible for a free consultation.