Domestic Violence Defense

Domestic Violence Defense in Tampa, Florida

Types of Domestic Violence in Tampa, Florida:

 

Domestic Violence Charge In Tampa

What is A Domestic Violence Charge In Tampa?

With the exception of Domestic Battery by Strangulation, Domestic Violence is not a Florida criminal offense that exists all by itself.  Rather, prosecutors classify certain existing Florida criminal offenses such as battery or assault as domestic violence in order to add additional consequences to a conviction.

When does the domestic violence classification apply?

Domestic violence in Tampa occurs between family members or household members.  Husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, persons living together as a family, and persons who are parents of the same child could be involved in a domestic violence case.

What are the consequences of a domestic violence conviction?

In addition to the penalties applicable to the particular criminal offense, a person that is convicted of an offense with the domestic violence classification will face the following consequences:

  1. If the Defendant is adjudicated guilty, the law instructs the judge to sentence the Defendant to a minimum 5 days in jail where “bodily harm” has been shown;
  2. The Defendant must complete a domestic violence program;
  3. The Defendant may not seal or expunge his or her domestic violence record;
  4. Under federal law the Defendant will lose his or her right to possess a firearm;
  5. The state will revoke the Defendant’s concealed weapon’s permit.

What are some Defenses to an offense classified as Domestic Violence?

  1. The Florida Stand Your Ground Law

Under the Florida Stand Your Ground Law a person is justified in using force or a threat of force against another if the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend him or herself against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force.

  1. Self Defense

Even when a judge rules that the Florida Stand Your Ground Law does not apply in a case, a person accused of Domestic Battery by Strangulation can still claim he or she acted in Self-Defense.

If a jury, or in the case of a bench trial, the judge, were to find that there was a reasonable doubt as to whether or not a person was justified in using force or a threat of force to protect himself or herself, then the jury or judge should find the person not guilty.

  1. The Witnesses are Lying

Alleged victims and witnesses in Domestic Violence cases sometimes make false accusations because they have a motive to lie.  For example, child custody issues, cheating in a relationship, and other conflicts can motivate a person to claim Domestic Violence occurred when it did not.  A Defense Attorney can expose these motivations and attack false allegations.

A Common Question Regarding a Domestic Violence Charge In Tampa

  1. Does the State Have to Dismiss the Domestic Violence Charge In Tampa if the Victim Decides Not To Prosecute?

No.  Although the victim can request that the State Attorney’s Office not prosecute, the decision whether or not to prosecute is up to the prosecutor.  If the prosecutor can prove the case using other witnesses, videos, photos, or a 911 call, they will normally proceed with the case with or without the victim.

 

DOMESTIC BATTERY BY STRANGULATION IN TAMPA

What the prosecutor must prove in an accusation of Domestic Battery by Strangulation in Tampa

According to Florida Statute § 784.041, the offense of Domestic Battery by Strangulation occurs when a Defendant:

  1. Knowingly and intentionally impedes the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of the victim against his or her will by applying pressure on the throat or neck or by blocking the nose or mouth of victim;
  2. In so doing, the Defendant created a risk of great bodily harm to the victim or caused great bodily harm to the victim;
  3. The Defendant was a family or household member of or in a dating relationship with the victim.

What are the maximum penalties in a Domestic Battery by Strangulation case in Tampa?

In Florida, a Domestic Battery by Strangulation is a third-degree felony punishable by a maximum of:

  1. 5 years imprisonment
  2. A $5,000.00 fine
  3. 5 years of probation

What are some of the other consequences of a conviction for Domestic Battery by Strangulation in Tampa?

  1. If the Defendant is adjudicated guilty, the law instructs the judge to sentence the Defendant to a minimum 5 days in jail where “bodily harm” has been shown;
  2. The Defendant must complete a domestic violence program;
  3. The Defendant may not seal or expunge his or her Domestic Battery by Strangulation charge;
  4. Under federal law the Defendant will lose his or her right to possess a firearm;
  5. The state will revoke the Defendant’s concealed weapon’s permit.

Possible Defenses to a Domestic Battery by Strangulation Charge in Tampa:

  1. The Florida Stand Your Ground Law

Under the Florida Stand Your Ground Law a person is justified in using force against another if the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend him or herself against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force.

  1. Self Defense to a Domestic Battery by Strangulation charge

Even when a judge rules that the Florida Stand Your Ground Law does not apply in a case, a person accused of Domestic Battery by Strangulation can still claim he or she acted in Self-Defense.

If a jury, or in the case of a bench trial, the judge, were to find that there was a reasonable doubt as to whether or not a person was justified in using a Domestic Battery by Strangulation to protect himself or herself, then the jury or judge should find the person not guilty.

  1. The Witnesses are Lying

Alleged victims and witnesses in a Domestic Battery by Strangulation cases sometimes make false accusations because they have a motive to lie.  For example, child custody issues, cheating in a relationship, and other conflicts can motivate a person to claim a Domestic Battery by Strangulation occurred when it did not.  A Defense Attorney can expose these motivations and attack false allegations.

A Common Question Regarding a Domestic Battery by Strangulation Charge in Tampa

  1. Does the State Have to Dismiss the Domestic Battery by Strangulation Case if the Victim Decides Not To Prosecute?

No.  Although the victim can request that the State Attorney’s Office not prosecute, the decision whether or not to prosecute is up to the prosecutor.  If the prosecutor can prove the case using other witnesses, videos, photos, or a 911 call, they will normally proceed with the case with or without the victim.

 

FLORIDA VIOLATION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INJUNCTION

To prove the crime of Violation of a Domestic Violence Injunction in Florida, the State must prove the following:

  1. A court issued an injunction for protection against domestic violence against the accused.
  2. The accused willfully violated the injunction by doing one of the following:
  3. Refusing to vacate the dwelling that the parties share.
  4. Going to, or being within 500 feet of, the petitioner’s residence, school, place of employment, or a specified place frequented regularly by the petitioner and any named family or household member.
  5. Committing an act of domestic violence against the petitioner.
  6. Committing any other violation of the injunction through an intentional unlawful threat, word, or act to do violence to the petitioner.
  7. Telephoning, contacting, or otherwise communicating with the petitioner directly or indirectly, unless the injunction specifically allows indirect contact through a third party.
  8. Knowingly and intentionally coming within 100 feet of the petitioner’s motor vehicle, whether or not that vehicle is occupied.
  9. Defacing or destroying the petitioner’s personal property, including the petitioner’s motor vehicle.
  10. Refusing to surrender firearms or ammunition if ordered to do so by the court.

What are the maximum penalties for a Violation of Domestic Violence Injunction in Florida?

In Florida, a Violation of Domestic Violence Injunction is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of:

One year of imprisonment
A $1,000.00 fine
12 months of probation

Possible Defenses to a Florida Violation of Domestic Violence Injunction Charge in Tampa

  1. The Witnesses are Lying
    Alleged victims and witnesses in a Violation of Domestic Violence Injunction case sometimes make false accusations because they have a motive to lie.  For example, child custody issues, cheating in a relationship, and other conflicts can motivate a person to claim a Violation of Domestic Violence Injunction occurred when it did not.  A Defense Attorney can expose these motivations and attack false allegations.
  2. Lack of Notice of the Injunction
    The prosecutor must prove that the accused was served with the injunction or had some other notice of the injunction.  If the prosecutor can’t prove the accused knew about the injunction, the accused is not guilty.
  3. The Contact was Unintentional
    In order for a person to be convicted of violating a Domestic Violence Injunction, the contact must have been intentional.  Therefore, if the accused happened to meet the subject of the injunction in a public place on accident, no crime has been committed.
  4. What if the Other Person Wants Contact?
    Only a judge can remove an injunction. Even though the person who requested the injunction might change their mind and decide that they want to have contact, the injunction stays in place and the police can still arrest the subject of the injunction if the terms of the injunction are violated.

Are you looking for the best Domestic Violence lawyer in Tampa Florida? Contact Attorney David C. Hardy.

Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney David C. Hardy is a former prosecutor that now represents persons accused of Domestic Violence.  He is Board Certified by the Florida Bar and the National Board of Trial Advocacy as an Expert in Criminal Trial Law. As a prosecutor and defense attorney, he has extensive experience handling all types of Domestic Violence cases.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for Domestic Violence in Hillsborough County Florida, Pinellas County Florida, or Pasco County Florida, contact Attorney David C. Hardy. He has the knowledge, skills, and experience to guide you through this process and obtain the best possible results.