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Brian S. Leifert, Esq.
Douglas I. Leifert, Esq.

Ft. Lauderdale Domestic Violence Arrests 

Ft. Lauderdale domestic violence arrests can be a stressful experience, especially if one is arrested in public. A domestic violence arrest can heavily damage someone’s reputation, and carry a lot of social stigmas as well. Those who are arrested are held until they can pay their bond/if they can pay their bond, pending their case. At that juncture, it is vital to retain a criminal defense attorney. If you have been arrested for domestic violence, get in touch with a qualified defense lawyer who can make sure that your rights are protected.

Police Officers and Law Enforcement

By Florida statute, pursuant to Florida law and Fort Lauderdale practice, a police officer or a law enforcement officer is required to make an arrest for domestic violence when they believe there is probable cause that a person has committed an act of domestic violence, which is defined in Florida Statute section 741.28.

Anyone with arrest powers in Fort Lauderdale would have jurisdiction to make an arrest based on probable cause in Fort Lauderdale (except if they were in fresh pursuit). The interesting thing about Ft. Lauderdale domestic violence arrests is that they do not require consent of the parties, meaning that if a police officer or law enforcement officer feels that there is probable cause, the alleged victim is not required to consent for the arrest, but a law enforcement officer can make the arrest based on their sole determination as to whether or not there is probable cause.

The statute, which talks about the ability to make the arrest based on probable cause, states that it is the public policy of the State of Florida to discourage arrest and charges for both parties. It encourages law enforcement officers to determine who the aggressor is and encourages them to make an arrest when they feel there is probable cause in an attempt to diffuse any future issues of domestic violence moving forward.

Probable Cause

Probable cause refers to facts that are available and discovered through an investigation by a police officer that would lead a reasonably intelligent person to believe that the potential accused or the accuser committed the crime or the offense.

Probable cause is an objective standard. Probable cause has to be developed on articulable facts and sufficient investigation so that a judge or somebody examining the arrest after the fact can look at specific facts that were available to the police officer and determine whether or not those facts that were culminated by law enforcement would lead a reasonable person to believe that there was a commission of the particular crime. In this case, it would be any crime involving domestic violence.

Reasonable Fear of Imminent Serious Physical Injury or Death

A lot of different guidelines have been proposed to help law enforcement in making the determination as to whether or not a person has reasonable cause to believe that they are in imminent danger of becoming subjected to domestic violence. The court considers all relevant factors and this is in the realm of a petition for an injunction for protection against domestic violence. They look at things such as the history between the two parties. They look at whether not there had been any previous threats, harassment, allegations of stalking, and physical abuse as well as whether or not the person alleged to be the accuser had made any attempts in the past to harm the alleged victim’s family members or individuals closely related to them.

Courts also look at whether or not any threats have been made against the alleged victim’s children. For example, attempts to hide, kidnap, and harm the children and whether or not there are any allegations or proof that the accused has intentionally injured or killed a family pet. They look at whether or not there are any allegations or threats of abuse against the alleged victim and the use of any weapons, such as guns or knives. They also look at whether or not the accused had physically restrained the alleged victim from leaving the home, for example, in an attempt to not have them call either law enforcement or get help from a friend or any other person.

Previous Criminal History

Law enforcement typically looks into whether or not the accused has any prior criminal history involving violence or threats of violence, any existence of an order of protection that had been previously issued by any other jurisdictions, and has engaged in destruction of any personal property, such as telephones, communication equipment, clothing, or any other items that would have belonged to the alleged victim.

In general, they look to see if there is any evidence that the accused engaged in any other behavior or conduct that would lead an alleged victim to have reasonable cause to believe that they are in fear or in imminent danger of being subjected to domestic violence.  Those are just some of factors that would be looked at as to whether or not there is reasonable cause to believe that an individual is in imminent danger of becoming someone subjected to domestic violence, and whether Ft. Lauderdale domestic violence arrests are necessary or not, in that specific scenario.

Importance of an Attorney

There is a great deal of stigma associated with domestic violence cases. When a domestic violence case remains on somebody’s record, the charge cannot be removed from their record via a record seal. If an individual takes any disposition on a domestic violence-related case – even if adjudication is withheld – the record cannot be sealed. It is possible however that if the charges are reduced to something other than domestic violence or even dropped, the person may be able eligible for a record seal or a record expungement.

Domestic violence related charges if not handled properly may never go away and can have wide-ranging implications moving forward. There is minimum mandatory sentencing on domestic violence cases. In a domestic violence case for battery, the court is required to place an individual on probation for a period 12 months and order that individual into counseling, specifically a batterer’s intervention program for 26 weeks. More importantly, if a person is convicted and it can be proven that there was a personal injury in a domestic violence battery case; the court must impose a period of five days in the Broward County jail for a misdemeanor battery case pursuant to statute.

Following Ft. Lauderdale domestic violence arrests, an individual’s first step should always be to contact a lawyer. A capable domestic violence lawyer can look for the necessary evidence needed to build your case, interview, and contact potential witnesses, and can do what is necessary to defend your case.

Leifert & Leifert Criminal Defense

Leifert & Leifert Criminal Defense

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Plantation
1200 S Pine Island Rd #220 Plantation, FL 33324
(954) 424-7433 954-424-2200
Delray Beach
2160 W Atlantic Ave 2nd Floor Delray Beach, FL 33445
(561) 988-8000 561-988-8100