Miami Domestic Violence Attorneys
Accused of Domestic Violence in Miami? Call Us Today
Despite the heightened public awareness of domestic violence, many relationships are still afflicted by turbulence. At the same time, some individuals may be falsely accused out of revenge or arrested based on the subjective determinations of law enforcement. A conviction carries severe penalties including imprisonment, probation, an extended restraining or “stay away” order, and often has collateral consequences on the civil side, particularly in dependency, injunction or restraining order, and child “custody” cases.
The criminal defense attorneys at Valiente Law defend individuals against domestic violence crimes in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and throughout the state of Florida. We apply our in-depth knowledge of the applicable domestic violence laws to protect the rights of our clients. At the same time, if you are a victim of domestic violence, we can assist you in securing an injunction or restraining order. Whether you need to protect your freedom or your safety, we will offer you dignity, respect and a superior level of personal service.
What is domestic violence in Florida?
In Florida, “domestic violence” is a designation for an otherwise non-domestic crime that creates special penalties for convictions. For example, a battery on a stranger is a simple battery. A battery on a spouse is still a simple battery, however, due to the nature of the relationship between the accused and the alleged victim, it is considered “domestic violence battery” and additional penalties are possible.
While domestic violence is typically associated with married couples, the offense involves acts or threats of violence against any person with whom the accused has or had a close relationship. This includes current or former spouses, parents, children, or romantic partners. Specific unlawful acts that constitute domestic violence include:
- Aggravated Assault
- Aggravated Battery
- Disorderly conduct
- Child Endangerment/Neglect/Abuse
- Sexual Battery
- Aggravated Stalking
- Domestic Violence Injunction Violations
- False imprisonment
Additionally, domestic violence can be committed against a third party as a way to intimidate or harass anyone with whom the accused has or had an intimate relationship, such as close friends or in-laws, and can also involve acts of vandalism.
Some common forms of domestic violence include:
- Physical abuse — Any type of violent behavior inflicted on the victim — hitting, biting, slapping, battering, punching, and shoving.
- Sexual abuse — Coercing or attempting to coerce the victim into having sexual contact or sexual behavior without his or her consent.
- Emotional abuse — Constant criticism or name calling that harms the victim’s relationship with his or her children or otherwise interferes with the victims abilities.
- Psychological abuse — Intimidation or threats to physically harm the victim or children, isolating the victim from loved ones, or prohibiting the victim from going to school or work.
Penalties for Domestic Violence
Domestic violence crimes are aggressively prosecuted in the state, even if the victim wants to withdraw the complaint or does not want to press charges. Florida considers domestic violence a crime (not a personal matter), and charges can only be dropped by prosecutors.
Domestic violence can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, and a conviction can result in imprisonment, fines, court fees, probation, immigration consequences, an extended restraining order, and mandatory enrollment in lengthy domestic violence treatment programs. You may also forfeit your right to own or carry a gun or be denied access to your children in extreme circumstances.
What is a stay away order?
In domestic violence cases, the court typically issues a mandatory stay away order (or restraining order) that bars the accused individual from making any contact with, or threatening or harming, the alleged victim. The court may also order the accused to vacate the family home, surrender his or her firearms, and refrain from consuming alcohol or illegal drugs. Violating a restraining order is a criminal offense that can lead to additional penalties.
Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges
Although each case is unique, a number of defenses can be asserted against a domestic violence charge. In cases where false allegations are made out of spite, particularly in contentious divorces and child custody disputes, our attorneys work to expose inconsistencies between the accuser’s claims, police records and witness accounts. Similarly, it may be possible to show that the accused was acting in self-defense or to protect his or her children from harm. However, it is necessary to prove that the defendant did not initiate the incident and that the response was proportional.
Miami-Dade County Domestic Violence Lawyer
Valiente Law has a well-earned reputation for successfully defending individuals charged with domestic violence. Knowing that a conviction can have long-lasting consequences, including the loss of your freedom, access to your children and damage to your reputation, we will work tirelessly to protect your rights. While there is no place for violence in any relationship, we believe that anyone accused of a domestic violence crime has the right to an aggressive defense. At the same time, our family law attorneys routinely seek orders of protection for domestic violence victims and assist with initiating divorce proceedings when necessary. Call our office today or complete the contact form on our website to set up a free consultation.