Domestic Violence Under Florida Law
Consequences Of Having A Domestic Violence Charge On Your Record
Having a domestic violence charge in your record can have dire consequences both in your professional and personal life, including:
- No Sealing Or Expungement
As mentioned in the FAQ section, one significant consequence of having been sentenced on a Domestic Violence Charge is that one can never have that charge sealed or expunged, even if adjudication was withheld. The only way for a Domestic Violence Charge to be sealed or expunged under Florida law is if the charge was dismissed completely by the Court or the prosecutor (No Information filed or Nolle Prosequi). Only then is the person eligible for sealing or expunging of their record. For that reason, it is essential that someone accused of Domestic Violence retain an experienced criminal defense attorney like Mr. Kaleita to do everything possible to get the charges declined for prosecution BEFORE they are filed by the State since things get much more difficult once charges are filed.
- No More Firearm Possession
Another consequence of being sentenced on a Domestic Violence Charge is that, upon conviction, the person can no longer lawfully possess a firearm under state and federal law. This prohibition lasts indefinitely and cannot be removed. Even if charged, there are ways that Domestic Violence cases can be resolved without the person being sentenced and/or convicted, and this result can sometimes be avoided. An experienced criminal defense attorney can often argue for these alternatives effectively.
- Lose Your CCP
Having a Domestic Violence Charge against you will also cause someone’s concealed weapons permit in Florida to be immediately suspended indefinitely. How the charge is resolved will determine whether the permit can ever be restored. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can make the difference in how your case gets decided. Once it is over, it is normally too late to come back and fix it. Jack Kaleita can fight for a resolution that will preserve your carry permit.
- Unfair Position In Divorce Cases
It is all too common for allegations of Domestic Violence to be made before, during, and after divorce proceedings have been initiated where the parties are legally married. Predictably, the party seeking to have charges filed against the other person may embellish the facts of an argument, or even provoke or affirmatively fabricate a physical confrontation to better their position in the divorce or possibly a custody action were children are involved. If the allegations are made, it can adversely affect the accused party’s position in these types of cases in family court. An experienced attorney like Jack Kaleita can fight to inform and educate the prosecution as to what’s really going on in cases where the facts are actually different than what is being told to the police and potentially sway their position. An experienced attorney can make a difference in whether the truth about false allegations is revealed.
- Disadvantages In Employment Opportunities
Many employers will refrain from hiring someone who has a Domestic Violence charge on their record out of fear or concern that if something was to happen in the workplace, they could be held liable for negligent hiring. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can make the difference in how your case gets decided. Dropped charges can often be sealed or expunged and thereby never discovered by potential employers.
- Disadvantages In Residential Lease Applications
Many apartment complexes and other rental properties are now running background checks on lease applicants. A Domestic Violence charge on one’s record can result in a fearful potential landlord opting to rent to someone else. Sadly, the potential tenant may never even know why they didn’t get the lease. Again, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can make the difference in how your case gets decided. Dropped charges can often be sealed or expunged and thereby never discovered by potential landlords.
- Disadvantages With Your Children
In today’s world, background checks are now being run on parents to determine if they will be able to accompany their children on field trips from school or participate in other activities involving children. A parent with a Domestic Violence charge on their record may be in a category that some schools or organizations could deem too risky to accompany children, especially children other than their own. While this type of decision could perhaps be challenged, that will only bring more attention to the cause of the issue. It could be awkward and uncomfortable for someone to have to explain to their child why they can’t go with them on a school field trip, coach their soccer team, or chaperone events.
- Bond Conditions Even Before Charges Are Filed Or Disposed Of
Even before a domestic violence case is disposed of by the court or the prosecutor, there are immediate and significant consequences of being arrested for, or accused of, domestic violence. Most, if not all, jurisdictions require persons accused of a domestic violence offense to be seen by a judge before they can even bond out of jail. This process can take 24 hours or more and, most often, the courts will order the person not to have any contact with the named victim and not to return to what is often their own residence. Sometimes the accused is ordered to wear a GPS or leg bracelet to monitor the person’s whereabouts. The newly enacted “Marsy’s Law” also creates additional issues that can prolong the time someone spends in jail and delay important issues or conditions being addressed or resolved. These conditions can create an immediate and significant impact on one’s finances, employment, contact with their children, and many other areas of the person’s life and will affect their daily routine immediately and can last after resolution of the case under certain circumstances. An experienced domestic violence criminal defense attorney like Jack Kaleita can quickly act to get unnecessary or illogical conditions removed or eliminated.
- Legally Mandate Jail Time, Programs, And Conditions
There certain legally required mandatory conditions and penalties that are required in Florida in domestic violence case dispositions and sentences. Florida Statute 741.281 requires that anyone sentenced on a domestic violence crime, even if adjudication is withheld, be ordered to complete a minimum of one year probation. Also, in most cases, they must also successfully complete a “Batterers’ Intervention Program,” as a condition of that probation, which commonly lasts at least six months. Florida Statute 741.283 further requires that anyone adjudicated guilty on a domestic violence crime, where they intentionally caused bodily harm to another, serve a minimum of 5 days in jail, in addition to any other penalties or conditions imposed as part of probation. An experienced domestic violence criminal defense attorney like Jack Kaleita, who is familiar with the law and these types of provisions, can anticipate these issues and work toward avoiding their applicability to the client.
- Charges Subject To Enhancement
In addition to the enhanced penalties that are commonly imposed in domestic violence cases, the charges themselves are often subject to enhancement. For instance, under Florida Statute 784.03(2), the offense of “Domestic Violence Battery,” the most common charge for which people are arrested in these scenarios, is subject to being enhanced to a felony just the second time it is charged, even if adjudication was withheld the first time. Additionally, if a person charged with “Domestic Violence Battery” is alleged to have knowingly and intentionally impedes the normal breathing of the person who is named as the victim, the charge now becomes “Domestic Violence Battery by Strangulation,” a third degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a $5000 fine, even the first time it is charged.
So What Should I Do And When Should I Do It?In light of all of the potential ramifications and consequences of having a Domestic Violence charge on your record, doesn’t it make sense to hire an experienced domestic violence defense attorney to do everything possible to defend the allegations from the beginning? Any experienced attorney will tell you that it is, almost always, more difficult to get a charge against you dismissed after it is filed by the State, than it is to get it declined for prosecution before it is filed. People who don’t want to leave these things to chance or luck, should choose to hire an experienced domestic violence criminal defense attorney like Jack Kaleita as quickly as possible, before charges are actually filed, to give themselves the best chance of being dealt with fairly and equitably by “the system.”
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