If you are a man or a woman charged with domestic violence, contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale domestic violence attorney to fight your domestic violence or domestic battery case is important and can possibly mean the difference between jail and freedom.
If you have been charged with any domestic violence criminal charge, you need an experienced domestic violence attorney in Ft Lauderdale FL immediately:
Under Florida law, you are not able to immediately bond out of jail after an arrest for domestic violence because no bond will be set until after you see the judge at first appearance.
If you do not have a Ft Lauderdale domestic violence lawyer representing you at your first court appearance within 24 hours after your arrest, the court will usually impose a “no contact” provision that will prevent you from returning to your home, seeing you children, or communicating with you spouse even about important financial issues until a motion to modify this condition of your bond is granted after a court hearing.
The charge itself is considered a “crime of violence” and the mere allegation is extremely serious. Consider the fact that a conviction for any domestic violence offense will cause a lifetime ban of your right to possess a firearm under state and federal law.
Most importantly, employers may be extremely hesitant to hire or promote anyone who has a domestic violence arrest or conviction on a criminal record.
Even if you enter a plea of “no contest” and receive a “withhold of adjudication,” you will never be able to seal your domestic violence record. This means that any employer will be able to view your mug shot on the law enforcement website and read embarrassing details about your arrest and prosecution on the clerk of court website.
Why Was I Arrested? My Wife Told the Police That Nothing Happened.
When the police respond to a domestic violence call, they often arrive on the scene with an expectation that someone will be arrested. Even in a fight between a husband and wife, or girlfriend and boyfriend, the police are often inclined to make an arrest even if the alleged victim does not want to prosecute. The odds are overwhelming that the person arrested will be male.
The law enforcement officers involved in these cases have to make very difficult decisions in a very short amount of time. Many times, the police are confronted with conflicting versions of what occurred, and must make a judgment call about which party was the “primary aggressor.” The police officers in these cases rarely have access to all of the information about the past difficulties between the parties, including prior acts of domestic violence. In most of these cases there are no other witnesses to the incident other than the parties involved.
Finally, the police sometimes tell the parties that one of them or maybe both of them are going to jail which causes the alleged victim to exaggerate the claims against the other party to avoid being arrested. Given all of these difficulties, the police sometimes make serious mistakes when deciding who to arrest when an allegation of domestic violence is made in Florida.
What to Do if You are Arrested for Domestic Violence
1. Take Pictures of Your Injuries
If you have been injured during the incident in any way, take several pictures of the injuries as soon as possible. Even if the police took pictures at the time of the arrest, take your own pictures because the officer that arrested you was probably not motivated to preserve this exculpatory or favorable evidence.
2. Do Not Violate the “No Contact” Provision
Under Florida law, at your first appearance before the judge the judge will usually impose a “no contact” provision that means that you can not have any contact with the alleged victim in the case. It also means that you can not return to your home, even to collect your clothing and personal effects without a law enforcement officer to accompany you. Do not violate these rules because if you do you could be arrested for violating the court’s order and send back to jail without bond.
Even if the alleged victim wants you to return to the home, do not have any contact with the alleged victim until the court has dropped or modified the “no contact” provision. If you wish to have contact with the alleged victim, contact a Fort Lauderdale domestic violence attorney who can file a Motion to Modify the Bond Conditions to Remove the “No Contact” provision in those cases in which the alleged victim wishes to have contact with you.
Whatever you do, never violate any part of a court order for any reason, even if you are asked or encouraged to do so by the alleged victim.
The Victim Wants to “Drop” the Charges. What Happens Next?
In many of these cases the alleged victim does not want to prosecute at some point after the arrest. In fact, it is common for the alleged victim to actively seek to reconcile with the defendant after the arrest, even though the court has imposed a “no contact” provision. Regardless of the alleged victim’s wishes now, the arrest has already occurred.
The alleged victim has no absolute right to drop the charged, because it is the State Attorney’s Office that will prosecute the case. The State Attorney’s Office usually prefers to file the charges and let the courts decide whether you are guilty or not.
Of course, your attorney can make sure that the judge and the prosecutor are aware of the alleged victim’s wishes. In many of these cases if the person who originally made the complaint no longer considers himself or herself a victim, that can be used to convince the prosecutor to drop the charges. This is especially true if prosecutor can see that you are willing and able to go to trial with a Fort Lauderdale domestic violence defense attorney that is properly prepared to win the case.