Domestic violence incidents could bring both criminal and civil actions. Even if the accuser wants to drop the charges, the Prosecutor could still pursue a criminal case against the Defendant. If you are facing allegations of domestic violence, reach out to a dedicated domestic violence defense attorney. Our team at Leifert & Leifert is knowledgeable about civil and criminal domestic violence actions in West Palm Beach and we could advocate on your behalf.
Difference Between a Civil and Criminal Domestic Violence Actions
Generally, a civil domestic violence action is considered a petition for an injunction against domestic violence. A criminal domestic violence action is an arrest for a domestic violence incident. The difference between the two is that in a civil action, the most that a Judge could do is order the parties to stay away from each other or order the person petitioned against the respondent to stay away from the petitioner. If the individual violates the court order, they could be sent to Jail.
Criminal domestic violence action could lead to a criminal record with severe penalties. The punishments could include imprisonment, probation, fines, and community service. To learn more about the difference between civil and criminal domestic violence actions in West Palm Beach, call an attorney at Leifert & Leifert.
Standard of Proof
If the accuser is seeking a restraining order, the standard of proof is a preponderance of the evidence that they are in imminent fear of future harm of domestic violence. If it is a criminal action, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the act, not that the person put anyone else in imminent fear. In a civil case, the government is asking the Court for an order of protection or a restraining order. In a criminal case, the government is asking the court to punish the person for violating the law. While there are different standards for both, you could learn about any legal defenses that you may have available by speaking to a knowledgeable attorney.
Dropping Charges in a Criminal Actions
Once the government picks up the charge in the State of Florida vs. the Defendant, it is the government bringing in the charge. The accuser does not have the power or authority to drop charges in a criminal case. While it is only the government that has this right, the accuser could request the Prosecutor to drop the charges.
While the accuser could say that they will not cooperate or participate and that they want no part of the case, the Prosecutor could make that person go through with it. The government could subpoena them to come to court and make them testify, which does not happen too often. Once the accuser calls the Police and an arrest is made, the case is turned over to the Courts and the decision is out of the accuser’s hands. The State needs the accuser to cooperate to have a successful prosecution. If the accuser does not cooperate in the action, it may be difficult for the government to proceed without the help. While the accuser may not drop the charges in criminal cases, the accuser could decline to voluntarily cooperate, which could cause issues for the state to proceed.
Consult a West Palm Beach Lawyer About Civil and Criminal Domestic Violence Actions
Those who wish to learn more about civil and criminal domestic violence actions in West Palm Beach may benefit from calling a resourceful lawyer. Each type of action may play out differently in court and may lead to distinct penalties for the accused. Our attorneys at Leifert & Leifert could advocate on your behalf and help you through this process.