Wellington has stringent laws meant to protect the victims of domestic violence, whether the parties live together or are married. A charge of domestic violence can incorporate any crime against family or household, including sex crimes and stalking. The State generally prosecutes domestic violence crimes under Florida’s assault and battery statutes. Those involved in a domestic violence situation may find competent legal help with a Wellington domestic violence lawyer who is proficient in this area of criminal law.
What Is Assault and Battery?
Assault is the wrongful and intentional use of threats or threatening gestures that causes a person to be fearful that violence will occur imminently. Threatening words alone do not constitute an assault. Battery is the physical contact that results from the assault.
Understanding Aggravated Factors
The law also delineates aggravated offenses, which are reckless acts intending to cause serious injury or involving a dangerous or deadly weapon. An aggravated assault charge is a Felony that often brings comparatively lengthier sentences including the possibility of going to jail or prison.
If a person assails and strikes a law enforcement officer during an act of domestic violence with intent to harm the person, they are committing an aggravated assault and battery on a law enforcement officer, both felony offenses. A simple assault, under Wellington and Florida State law, is an attempt to cause injury, which the State prosecutes as a misdemeanor crime.
Common Defenses in Acts of Domestic Violence
Anything a person says to police at the time of arrest is in the police report and becomes evidence for the prosecution to use. It is usually in a person’s best interests not to answer questions or say anything until a lawyer is present.
There are several defenses that may be applicable to a domestic violence charge, depending on the circumstances of the event. These include:
- Lack of evidence
- Facts in dispute
- An injury did not occur
- The alleged victim was vindictive
- Mutual combat or confrontation
- Defending others or property
Other Offenses Associated with Family Violence
In situations where the alleged attacker prevents an adult, or a child younger than 13, from leaving using force, threat, or abduction, the state can file a felony false imprisonment charge. If someone holds a person against their will, the state can charge felony kidnapping. The state can also file sexual assault and battery and aggravated stalking charges if those behaviors are part of any alleged act of domestic violence.
A target of domestic violence can obtain a restraining order to keep their assaulter from making any contact. If they violate the restraining order, the prosecution can enter a charge of first-degree misdemeanor punishable by a year in jail. For more information on criminal defenses, the accused should speak with a Wellington domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible.
Help from a Legal Advocate
Prosecutors who wish to achieve a quick end to the case may offer to reduce the charges to lesser offenses if the person agrees to plead guilty. These agreements save the cost of a trial, but a plea bargain offer may also be an indication that the state does not have a compelling case.
Before entering a plea bargain, a defense attorney may be able to negotiate an arrangement that is more beneficial than the original offer. A Wellington domestic violence lawyer may be able to protect your rights.