The line between roommate violence and domestic violence may be unclear for some. To be prosecuted under the domestic violence statutes in Fort Lauderdale, the individuals involved must be family or household members. Florida law defines family or household members to include spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons presently living together as a family, or persons who have lived together in the past as a family.
Being a roommate does not subject an individual to being prosecuted under the domestic violence statutes. It must be alleged and proven that roommates reside together or have in the past resided together as a family. That is determined on a case-by-case basis. For roommates who are not living together as a family, allegations of violence or criminal activity fall outside of the domestic violence statutes.
Any type of criminal allegation is serious and must be treated as such. Whether it is domestic violence or roommate violence, these allegations involve restrictions on your record, reputation, and liberty. That it is wise to contact a Ft. Lauderdale roommate violence lawyer who has experience with domestic violence or roommate violence cases. Contact a knowledgeable attorney who understands the nuance involved in a roommate violence case, and who can fight for a favorable outcome.
Characterizing Roommate Violence
When violence is not characterized as domestic violence, the type of violence depends on the allegations. For example, in a battery situation, instead of domestic violence battery, the charge is simple battery. For aggravated battery as opposed to domestic violence aggravated battery, the charge is aggravated battery.
The charge depends on the allegation and the crime being prosecuted. If the incident falls out of the domestic violence statutes, it is not handled in domestic violence courtrooms or by the domestic violence judges. There are other sentencing concerns but it does not fall under domestic violence sentencing. For example, the provision against not being able to seal an individual’s record in the case of a battery does not apply.
If the violence is prosecuted as a simple battery as opposed to a domestic violence battery; it is possible that the case might be subject to a record seal. When it is a domestic violence battery as opposed to a regular battery or a simple battery, the statutes prohibit a record seal.
When roommate violence is investigated by law enforcement, they have the ability to make an arrest. That puts the person in a situation where they must post bail or bond and are subject to prosecution for any possible offense by the State Attorney’s Office in Fort Lauderdale.
The long term consequences or negative effects on an individual’s record are restrictions on living situations and restrictions on contact with the alleged victim. Any negative disposition on a case involving roommate violence can be used against an individual in any future prosecutions. A negative disposition may have a negative effect on an individual’s ability to maintain their employment, secure future employment, and is generally damaging to an individual’s reputation. A Ft. Lauderdale roommate violence can mitigate potential penalties that their client faces.
Role of an Attorney
A person falsely accused of roommate violence can protect themselves by contacting an experienced Ft. Lauderdale roommate violence lawyer who knows how to investigate and mount a proper defense. Specifically, the attorney can document any evidence that might be favorable to the defense and interview witnesses who might give favorable testimony. The best thing an individual can do is hire an attorney or at least speak to an attorney who has experience in defending these types of cases, as soon as possible.