Articles Tagged with domestic violence defense attorney

When someone is facing a South Florida misdemeanor domestic violence charge, it’s worth exploring whether they qualify for a diversion program that would allow them to avoid a conviction. Florida domestic violence lawyer

As our Broward domestic violence defense lawyers can explain, not every defendant is going to qualify and it may not be the best strategic move for every case. But it’s important to discuss the possibility with your attorney.

What is a Domestic Violence Diversion Program?

A diversion program is a type of pre-trial intervention that essentially diverts the criminal case away from the usual track (which can end in conviction, jail, and fines) and instead allows qualifying defendants to complete educational courses and/or service requirements. When the program requirements are successfully met, the charges in the criminal case get dropped and the case is dismissed.

Some of the offenses that disqualify a defendant from a DV diversion program include:

  • Battery in which the defendant is accused of using substantial force to slap, punch, kick, or push an alleged victim to the ground.
  • Any battery that involves “degrading acts,” such as urinating or spitting on the alleged victim.
  • Any battery that involves alleged strangulation or choking of the victim.
  • Violations of domestic violence injunctions.

In general, domestic violence diversion program offenses are those involving minor intentional touching but don’t result in serious physical injury. If a defendant has a prior conviction or arrest for a felony as an adult, more than one misdemeanor adult conviction, or any prior domestic violence arrests, convictions, or pending charges, he or she will be ineligible for the domestic violence diversion program. No one is allowed to enter the diversion program more than once in their life.

It’s important to note that domestic violence charges – even those that are dropped due to a diversion program – generally cannot be sealed or expunged. Evidence of the arrest still shows up on your record. That’s why if there is a decent chance that your Broward domestic violence defense lawyer can successfully fight the charges against you, that may be in your best interests. But diversion programs can be an excellent alternative when there is a fair amount of evidence against you in a first-time, misdemeanor Florida domestic violence charge.

What to Expect in a Florida Domestic Violence Diversion Program

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When Florida law enforcement officers interact with the public in the course of their duties, there are three levels of interaction that will dictate how any search or seizure in the course of that interaction will be judged from a legal perspective.

These three levels of interaction are:

  • Consensual encounters.
  • Detention or investigative stops.
  • Arrests.Broward criminal defense lawyer

Within each of these interactions, the person involved has constitutionally-protected rights. But those constitutional protections are different at each level. If those rights are violated, then it is more likely that your Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer will have some success in convincing the court to suppress evidence gleaned in that interaction. Here, we review the rights and protections at each level.

Consensual Encounters

Consensual encounters with police in Florida don’t require officers to establish any sort of evidence of wrongdoing. There’s no bright line rule for when an encounter is consensual vs. investigative, but we can say that a key aspect of consensual police encounters is that the person at the center of the interaction is free to leave.

The lines can get a little fuzzy because courts have held that law enforcement is allowed during a consensual encounter to ask you questions, ask to see your ID, might even ask to search your vehicle. If they say or imply that complying with their requests is mandatory, then it’s no longer a consensual encounter. However, police encounters can often be intimidating and people sometimes feel they don’t have much of a choice – even when they do. If you consent to answer questions or to be searched during a consensual encounter, it can be difficult to challenge any evidence gleaned from that – because you freely agreed to it. You’re often better off keeping your answers brief, politely declining any requests to search, and asking point blank whether you’re free to go.

In determining whether a police interaction began with a consensual encounter (as opposed to an investigative stop), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the 1980 case of U.S. v. Mendenhall that courts should examine the totality of circumstances – and specifically, whether a reasonable person believed themselves free to go. Continue reading

Domestic violence allegations are taken very seriously by authorities in South Florida. If you’re arrested for domestic violence battery, you must take the charges seriously and quickly “lawyer up” if you hope to avoid the most significant penalties and long-term consequences. Hiring a lawyer is not an indicator of guilt, but rather can help mitigate the impact of the charges on your life – particularly your job and future opportunities, as well as your right to bear arms. Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer

Those accused may not be inclined to concern themselves much about unfounded accusations, presuming it’ll all be sorted out fairly in court. But as our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers can explain, cultural forces have imposed increasing pressure on law enforcement agencies and prosecutors increasingly to make arrests and secure convictions in domestic violence cases. The truth may not be enough to set you free. What will is immediate legal advice from a knowledgeable, experienced South Florida domestic violence attorney.

What is Domestic Violence Battery in Florida? 

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, there were approximately 105,000 reported Florida domestic violence arrests in a single recent year. Per F.S. 741.49, officers responding to an alleged report of domestic violence who decide not to arrest anyone are required to provide reasons why they chose not to arrest anyone.

State law defines domestic violence as any means of assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any other criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family member, household member, former romantic partner, or co-parent against another. Domestic violence battery involves the intentional and actual touching or striking of another individual without their consent or the intentional infliction of bodily harm. It is typically charged as a first-degree misdemeanor, which is the highest level of misdemeanor with a penalty of up to 12 months in jail and/or 12 months of probation, as well as a maximum fine of $1,000. The law further stipulates that if injury resulted, there is a five day minimum mandatory jail term, plus a mandatory 29-week batterer’s intervention program. It’s considered a deportable offense by immigration services. It will result in the revocation of any concealed weapons permits, and the forfeiture of any guns while on probation – even for misdemeanor battery charges. No contact orders or injunctions may be imposed. There could be adverse impacts on the child custody/parenting time order. Community service may also be ordered. You may be barred from certain types of employment and housing in the future, as your record will always be visible; domestic violence charges can never be expunged or sealed, even if adjudication is withheld. You may be barred from obtaining certain types of loans and security clearance if you’re convicted. Continue reading

A senior at Florida International University who played on the football team’s tight end was reportedly the victim of a domestic violence attack that has ended his career. waterboil

The Miami Herald reports the Panthers’ 2017 NFL Draft prospect suffered severe burns on his head, neck, back, arm and shoulder after his girlfriend reportedly dumped boiling water on top of him. The woman, Mary Gaspar, 20, is reportedly five months pregnant with Jonnu Smith’s child, and has been charge with a single count of aggravated battery. Gaspar is also a student at the school, a junior who lives on campus.

The couple were reportedly arguing in Smith’s dorm when defendant is alleged to have boiled the water and walked over and poured it on top of Smith. She reported she was livid over Smith’s failure to attend to their relationship and was feeling extremely stressed out and emotional. When Smith reportedly did not act strongly enough to the boiled water on his skin, Gaspar allegedly started to strike him with her fists. Continue reading

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