What to do in a domestic violence situation
In Florida, domestic violence is a crime and can be punishable with imprisonment, fines, and restraining orders.
If you are convicted of a domestic violence charge, it will immediately impact your life and future. If your sentence is guilty, you can even lose your right to bear arms, custody, and future employment opportunities.
When you enter the Justice System, the best option is to remain calm, act quickly and contact a lawyer. According to Parikh Law, P.A., your reputation can be severely impacted just by getting arrested because of domestic violence claims.
Prosecutors tend to overbook and overcharge accusers, so it is not advisable to try out your luck in trial on your own; instead it is wiser to ask for professional assistance. Here are some essential steps you can follow in a domestic violence situation.
Hire a lawyer
Unlike other felonies, a domestic violence charge will be permanent on your criminal record. A stained record can cause you to lose your job and will severely affect your new career prospects. This is why it is so important that take any charge seriously and get professional help.
It may be that you are innocent of the charges and someone has made false accusations against you. If this is the case, they may be highly motivated to hurt you, and will possibly lie and throw anything they can at you in court.
In this kind of situation, emotions and tensions will at an all-time high, and risky decisions and statements can worsen your case. A good lawyer will not only defend you in front of prosecutors but will help you save your future and your reputation if you are being falsely accused. They can also advise you on what to do, how to behave, and how to deal with the allegations.
Comply with the judge’s orders
If police determine you are the abuser, you must go through arraignment and pre-trial proceedings. There, the judge will inform you about your constitutional rights, and you will receive a formal document listing your charges.
You will then be asked to enter a guilty or not guilty plea, and the judge will decide whether to allow you bail. Remember that your domestic violence attorney can always negotiate terms for your benefit and protect your rights.
If the charges are severe, the accuser may address a protective order attorney to request legal protection, and the judge will usually issue an injunction known as a no contact, no return order. This means you are not allowed to communicate with the plaintiff (the accuser) and the family under any circumstances.
Phone calls, emails, texts, and notes sent through friends are forbidden, and you are not allowed to return home. If you violate these orders, it will only lead to worse accusations. Your defense attorney can file a motion to modify your no-contact order and even communicate with the spouse or the family for reconciliation.
If you are ordered to seek treatment, it is wise to comply, not just to ensure you are not violating any legal agreements, but to help you become aware of any problematic behaviors and how they affect other people. Embrace the treatment with an open heart and treat it as an opportunity to improve yourself and your relationships going forward.
Begin negotiations early
Time is essential in a domestic violence case. The sooner you collaborate with a lawyer, the better they can prepare you for your trial. Generally speaking, there are two main strategies that you and your attorney will focus on.
The first is determining whether or not the alleged victim wants to press charges. If they do not wish to pursue charges your attorney can help them draft an affidavit, a written declaration that the victim is in no danger and no longer wants the state to interfere in their private life.
However, if they want to prosecute, there are other strategies that your lawyers can use for you to get a lesser sentence. Self-defence, lack of evidence, and even the fact that the victim was not a family member can all impact the outcome.
Photo by Arifur Rahman