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Domestic violence is a pattern of controlling conduct or violence that is used to assert power over a family or household member. A conviction for a domestic violence charge can have consequences for family law matters and other important aspects of life. If you are charged with domestic violence in South Florida, you should consult a seasoned attorney. Miami domestic violence lawyer Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich looks closely at the facts surrounding each case to determine a sophisticated defense strategy.
Domestic Violence Under Florida Law
Florida Statutes Section 741.28 criminalizes domestic violence. Domestic violence covers a range of crimes committed by one family or household member against another. These crimes include sexual battery, sexual assault, assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, false imprisonment, kidnapping, stalking, aggravated stalking, tampering with a witness, and violation of a domestic violence injunction.
Under Florida law, family or household members include spouses, exes, relatives by blood or marriage, people living together as a family, people who lived together previously as if they were a family, and people who parent a child together. Except for parents who share a child, family or household members must live together or have lived together before in a certain dwelling for violence between them to be charged as domestic violence. For example, if you stalked your former live-in girlfriend and violated a restraining order to follow her into her house, you could be charged with domestic violence and aggravated stalking.
Sometimes an alleged domestic violence incident leads to multiple charges. A knowledgeable domestic violence attorney in Miami can build a strategy to fight the full range of charges. For example, if you used a gun in attacking your spouse, you may face domestic violence and aggravated battery charges. If there were credible threats made, you might also face aggravated assault charges.
If you are convicted of domestic violence, the court likely will require you to attend a batterers’ intervention program and serve a year of probation. A judge who decides not to require you to attend the program as part of your sentence needs to state on the record why the condition is not appropriate for your situation. If you are convicted of domestic violence, and you inflicted a physical injury on the victim, you will face a minimum of five days in jail. Additionally, the victim may take out an injunction or restraining order against you, and a violation of that order may be prosecuted as a first-degree misdemeanor.
When there is a bodily injury, you will also need to complete a batterers’ intervention program that lasts for 26 weeks, and you will be placed on 12 months of probation. Additionally, you can be required to perform community service and lose some civil rights, such as concealed carry rights. Miami domestic violence attorney Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich can help you try to avoid these consequences.
The specific crime underlying the domestic violence charge can affect the penalties. For example, domestic battery is a first-degree misdemeanor, and if you are convicted, you will face up to one year in jail or 12 months’ probation, plus a $1,000 fine. If you are charged with domestic violence and felony aggravated battery, you may face a longer period of incarceration and steeper fines.
Consequences for Family Law Matters
A domestic violence conviction can have consequences for orders issued in a divorce. In particular, it can affect child custody matters. Florida judges award custody by considering a child’s best interests, so a domestic violence conviction as a parent could affect timesharing or parenting time. The court may decide that your visits need to be monitored. If domestic violence has affected your spouse’s ability to be self-supporting, your domestic violence conviction also could be factored into the spousal support that is awarded to your spouse. Additionally, domestic violence could be factored into property division.
Contact a Domestic Violence Lawyer in Miami
Domestic violence is a serious charge that carries a risk of incarceration and significant effects on family law orders that could affect you for years to come. With years of experience on both sides of criminal cases, as well as family law experience, Ms. Petkovich can provide knowledgeable and aggressive representation tailored to the situation that you face. She was born and raised in Miami and represents people throughout South Florida. Call us at (305) 358-8003 or contact us via our online form.
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