When is Florida Domestic Violence Charged as a Federal Crime?

Florida domestic violence cases are typically handled at the state level by local police and state attorneys’ offices. However, as our Fort Lauderdale defense lawyers can explain, there are some circumstances under which one can be charged federally.domestic violence criminal defense Fort Lauderdale

Some circumstances under which Florida domestic violence may be pursued by federal authorities include:

  • Crossing a state line to physically injure an intimate partner. An intimate partner can be someone like a spouse, former spouse, someone with whom you share a child, or a person who lives or used to live with you.
  • Crossing a state line to stalk or harass an intimate partner.
  • Crossing a state line to violate a qualifying protection order.

As noted by the U.S. Department of Justice, these are all federal crimes that fall under the regulations of the Violence Against Women Act. One may also be found guilty of a federal crime under the Gun Control Act if they possess a firearm or ammunition while subject to a qualifying protection order OR they possess a firearm/ammunition after conviction of a qualifying misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

All federal domestic violence crimes are felonies. Some may be more serious than others if there are aggravating circumstances (i.e., a deadly weapon or minor involved). But if your domestic violence case is being handled by federal authorities, you should take note that you’re facing very serious charges and consequences. It is imperative that you hire an experienced Fort Lauderdale defense lawyer who has a track record of successfully defending other clients accused of the same offenses in the same jurisdiction.

Recently, a Florida woman was sentenced to 16 years in federal prison for a conviction of interstate domestic violence involving both a weapon and a minor.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, the defendant is a 27-year-old woman from Orlando who in 2017 became romantically involved with a 17-year-old girl she met online. The two eventually met in person, and the teen ended up leaving her home and moving in with the older woman as her romantic partner. It was around this time the girl’s parents reported her as a missing person. At the time, she was reportedly staying with the defendant in a hotel. A few weeks later, the teen left and traveled to her mother’s home in Maryland, the plan being that she would finish high school there before returning to Florida to once again live with defendant.

However, once the teen returned to her mother’s house, the older woman began making “excessive” phone calls to the girl’s mother’s house. The teen cut off contact with her former girlfriend, and the girl’s mother and grandmother both told the older woman to stop calling. Defendant allegedly then drove to the girl’s Maryland home, tied up her grandmother, held the girl and a friend at gunpoint and knifepoint, and then compelled the girl to leave the site with her. She reportedly assaulted the teen with the gun, forced her out of the car and ran on foot until they reached a hotel. The clerk at the hotel noticed the teen’s physical wounds (which included an orbital bone fracture and multiple stab wounds to the head, hands, and eyelid) and called police. Police responded, entered the hotel room, and identified the teen as a reported missing person.

The defendant insisted that the teen had asked her to pick her up and that she wanted to return to Florida with her. However, cell phone text messages reportedly contradicted this claim. It also didn’t help that the defendant reportedly posted correspondence with law enforcement to her social media profiles.

Now, the defendant has been convicted of federal domestic violence charges, and in addition to a 16-year sentence will have to serve three years probation.

If you are facing Florida domestic violence charges, our dedicated criminal defense lawyers in Fort Lauderdale can help.

Call Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

Additional Resources:

Orlando, Florida Woman Sentenced to 16 Years in Federal Prison for Interstate Domestic Violence Involving a Minor, March 15, 2022, U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Maryland

More Blog Entries:

Understanding Florida Criminal Sentence Enhancements for Prior Felony Offenders, May 5, 2022, Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyers

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