Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers

Panella Law Firm accepts cases throughout Florida

Recent statistics show that over 108,000 domestic abuse cases are reported to Florida police each year. In Florida, the legal system moves swiftly to investigate and prosecute all allegations of domestic violence.

A conviction can carry significant criminal penalties, including jail time and fines. It can negatively affect parental rights and shared property in a divorce situation.

Courts in Florida will not take domestic violence charges lightly, so having a solid legal team is essential to clearing your name and protecting your reputation. If you are charged with a domestic violence offense in Florida, a domestic violence defense lawyer at the Panella Law Firm can help fight the charges and protect your rights.

Why Choose Us

Nobody deserves to be a victim of domestic abuse, and nobody deserves to be wrongfully convicted. If you require legal assistance in Florida, go no further than Panella Law Firm.

Panella Law Firm is an assertive and aggressive criminal defense firm that believes in justice and a defendant’s right to a fair trial. Our domestic violence criminal defense lawyers are committed to preserving your freedom, asserting your rights, and working toward resolving your case.

If your case proceeds to trial, our lawyers will strategize to contest the prosecutor’s case and work for your acquittal.

Success stories are plentiful for the attorneys at Panella Law Firm, offering sympathetic and perceptive service to our clientele. We do everything we can to put our clients at ease and address their concerns at each and every turn.

Among the many awards we’ve won, some of the most notable are:

  • Michael Panella has been awarded the 2017-2020 Client Choice Award.
  • In 2019–2022, Michael Panella was selected to be included in Super Lawyers.
  • Michael Panella is a top-rated lawyer, as seen by his perfect 10.0 Avvo rating.
  • Michael Panella named the National Trial Lawyers as one of the 40 under 40 in the legal profession.

Our clients benefit from the collaborative efforts of Huda Saleh and the other attorneys at our firm because they can use the many different views and areas of experience represented within the firm to craft unique and effective solutions for each case.

Victims of domestic violence must take legal action to ensure the safety and protection of their rights.

What is Considered Domestic Violence in Florida?

It’s a common misconception that domestic violence only occurs between partners in a marriage; however, the description of domestic violence in Florida is considerably broader.

Under Fla. Stat. 741.28741.31, domestic violence is defined as violence committed by a family or household member against another family or household member, including:

  • Current or former spouses
  • Persons related by blood or marriage
  • Persons currently or formerly residing together
  • Parents who have a child in common.

In addition, Florida considers cases of violence committed between two persons in a current or former dating relationship to be domestic violence. Florida’s domestic violence law is broad in scope, protecting not only spouses but also children, parents, and other relatives, as well as cohabitators.

The perpetrator must commit one offense under this law for it to be enforced. In reality, you may only need to document one incident of abuse to obtain a case against your abuser and safeguard yourself from further attacks.

Those in the Florida region who have experienced domestic violence and would like to take precautions against further abuse should speak with one of our domestic violence attorneys.

There are specific acts that qualify as domestic violence, and our lawyers can defend you against all of them. These include:

  • Assault and aggravated assault
  • Battery and aggravated battery
  • Sexual assault and sexual battery
  • Stalking and aggravated stalking
  • Kidnapping.

When you face serious charges that can affect the rest of your life, you need an experienced Orlando domestic violence defense lawyer in your corner. The professional team at Panella Law Firm can give you the best defense possible.

Examples of Domestic Violence and Abuse

It is a common misconception that physical violence must take place for domestic violence charges to be filed. An injunction can be granted against an abuser for numerous types of non-physical abuse as well. Here are a few examples:

  • Intimidation/threats
  • Repeated calls
  • Repeated verbal abuse that follows the victim
  • Inappropriate social interaction.

Getting in touch with a domestic violence law attorney is a good idea if you or a family member has been a victim of any abuse. We offer free initial consultations with our skilled FL domestic violence lawyers, so don’t hesitate to contact us immediately.

What is the Difference Between Domestic Violence Charges and Domestic Violence Defense?

The first step in finding the right domestic violence attorney for your case is to learn the differences between a domestic violence charge and a domestic violence defense.

Domestic Violence Defense

Accusations of domestic violence have been wrongly made against numerous people in recent years. In other circumstances, when there was an actual physical altercation, both parties should be held accountable for any violence or threats.

When the police arrive at a scene, they may immediately charge whoever appears the angriest or is physically larger or more violent.

Unfortunately, there are cases in which the police believe the purported victim’s false statements and file charges against the wrong culprit. Sometimes one party is more obviously hurt than the other, or the male victim is initially too ashamed to report his injuries to the authorities.

This means the authorities are often left with incomplete information, leading to false accusations or even convictions when the defendant acted in self-defense. Consult an attorney immediately if you have been wrongfully accused of a crime while defending yourself or another person.

Domestic Violence Charge

Anyone who uses force or threats to control another person in the home can be charged with domestic violence or assault. This includes those in abusive relationships. The police will typically press domestic violence charges even if the claimed victim does not want the case to move forward.

Police will always make an arrest and file charges of domestic violence if they believe there is probable cause to do so, regardless of the preferences of the alleged victim.

Domestic Assault Vs. Domestic Battery

Abusive behavior between household members, regardless of sex, is considered domestic assault.

Domestic assault includes violence between spouses, common-law partners, dating partners, parents/legal guardians, and their minor children. Abuse can take many forms, including physical, mental, and financial harm.

On the other hand, domestic battery refers to using force or inappropriate physical contact within a domestic setting. In most people’s minds, domestic battery only occurs when someone sustains visible injuries like a bruise or a broken bone. A charge for a domestic battery can be triggered by even a harsh or angry touch.

There is a fine line between domestic battery and domestic assault. A charge for domestic battery requires that an assault or other violent conduct be committed.

Assault in the home can be charged if the victim feels intimidated and knows they will be gravely hurt if the violent conduct is carried out. Assault and battery are frequently charged together because one usually follows the other.

If you or a family member has been accused of assault, you must retain the services of a skilled criminal defense attorney without delay.

How Our Lawyers Help with a Domestic Violence Charge

A multi-pronged strategy is typically employed while developing a successful defense. On the other side, domestic violence accusations in Florida are frequently brought with little proof.

Ultimately, it boils down to two parties’ words against one other. Never take a plea deal until you have spoken with a domestic violence attorney in your area who can advise you of your rights and options.

Defenses a Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer May Use

The defenses our domestic violence defense lawyers use depend on the circumstances of your individual situation, the acts you are accused of, the available evidence, the injuries that resulted, and the specific charges against you. For example, a threat of doing physical harm might be an assault charge, but if there was actual physical contact or injury, the charge might become a battery charge.

With certain aggravating factors, the charge may become aggravated assault or aggravated battery, which are felonies with more severe punishment. Any of these charges are serious, and our domestic violence defense attorneys at Panella Law Firm know how to mount a strong defense against each one.

Common defenses for typical domestic battery charges include:

  • Disputing the facts about the way the victim claims the incident happened
  • Showing a lack of injuries and lack of corroborating evidence
  • Claiming self-defense, defense of others, or defense of property
  • Showing that the victim was being vindictive
  • There was a consensual or mutual confrontation or combat
  • “Stand Your Ground” defenses — showing you believed force was necessary to protect yourself.

In cases where there were injuries, and a trial becomes necessary, we are fully prepared to defend you in court. In many cases, especially if there were no injuries, using these defenses can result in having your case dropped or reduced without going to trial. Our domestic violence attorneys know how to negotiate with prosecutors, look for weaknesses in their cases, and proceed accordingly.

What Happens When You Get a Domestic Violence Charge?

Once the police are called for domestic violence in Florida, the law requires that domestic violence disputes be treated as a criminal act, so someone goes to jail. The prosecutor decides whether there is enough evidence for a conviction and whether to proceed with the case. Any allegations of violence between household members must be charged as domestic violence, which creates a bias toward prosecution, even if the victim does not want to press charges.

If the decision is made to arrest you on a domestic violence charge, you will be unable to be released on bond until you appear before a judge, which could take up to 48 hours. You will typically be prohibited from contact with the victim or their place of residence, even if you own that residence.

How Our Domestic Violence Lawyers Step in To Help After You’re Charged

Once you call the Panella Law Firm, we can start fighting these charges from the beginning to get them dropped, amended, or diverted. Our domestic violence attorneys in Orlando can help by:

  • Keeping you from making mistakes such as incriminating yourself or accepting boilerplate offers.
  • Making early contact with the prosecution to get information. This shows that you have an attorney to advocate for your cause and allows us to determine what factual defenses, legal issues, and mitigating circumstances may be used to keep the State from proceeding with charges.
  • Contacting the victim. We may convince the victim not to pursue the charge against you and request that the charges be dropped. To decline prosecution, victims must generally complete a drop-charge affidavit, complete a course, or meet with a domestic violence advocate. The prosecutor would still be the one to determine whether or not to prosecute.
  • Addressing the ‘No-Contact’ Order. If the victim does not wish to pursue charges, we will seek to modify any no-contact orders by filing a motion to alter the conditions of release. This allows you to resume contact with the victim and shows the prosecution the victim wants the case dropped.
  • Getting you to help voluntarily. If you and the victim voluntarily enroll in counseling programs, it can help show the prosecutor you are responsible and increase the chances of resolution without proceeding to trial.
  • Making pretrial motions. Pretrial motions such as Stand Your Ground or Motion for a Court Ruling can show weakness in the prosecutor’s case and may assist negotiations and prevent further litigation.
  • Taking your case to trial. If necessary, our domestic violence defense lawyers are fully prepared to fight for your rights in court. Sometimes showing that we are willing to take the case to trial encourages resolution.

Call Panella Law Firm for an aggressive, skilled defense today at 407-233-1822, and we’ll get started working for you.

How To Stand Your Ground Defense Works for a Domestic Violence Charge

The “Stand Your Ground” law was enacted in Florida in 2005 and has become highly publicized and controversial, but it may be used as a defense in some cases of domestic violence. If you stood up for yourself after being unlawfully threatened by the victim, you might be able to claim self-defense under this law.

According to Sections 776.012 and 776.013 of the Florida Statutes, the law expands the scope of a traditional self-defense claim in a criminal case by:

  • Eliminating the general “duty of retreat” which was previously imposed by common law,
  • Presuming there is a legal justification for using force in a person’s dwelling, residence, or vehicle, and
  • Offering immunity from prosecution if you use force under circumstances where you reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to yourself or another.

How Does a Domestic Violence Charge Affect You?

Punishments and Consequences

Just being charged with domestic violence in Florida can have significant damaging consequences. Charges cannot be expunged from your record, and even if you were acquitted, they would remain on your criminal record forever.

Charges may be used against you in a divorce proceeding and if children are involved, and even against you in future domestic violence cases; even if you were found not guilty, the charges could be used to prosecute you as a felon.

Penalties for a Domestic Violence Charge in Florida

If you are convicted of domestic violence, possible penalties include five days served in county jail, imprisonment in Florida state prison, or a minimum of one-year probation or community service. You must complete a Batterers Intervention Program of between 26 and 29 weeks.

In addition, you may be charged with other criminal offenses, such as assault and battery.

If domestic violence is charged as an assault, it is considered a second-degree misdemeanor. If charged as aggravated assault, it is a third-degree felony. A domestic battery may be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor or third-degree felony.

Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Offenses

These sentences range from a maximum of sixty days to one year.

  • First-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
  • Second-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to 60 days in prison and a $500 fine.

Felony Domestic Violence Charges

Punishments for felony domestic violence offenses are as follows:

  • A third-degree felony conviction may result in imprisonment for up to five years.
  • A second-degree felony can bring imprisonment for up to fifteen years.
  • A conviction for first-degree felonies that are not capital or life offenses brings up to 30 years in prison.
  • Fines for felony convictions can be as high as $15,000.

There is a Florida statute of limitations for prosecuting misdemeanors of one year for second-degree charges and two years for first-degree. The clock begins ticking on the date of the alleged crime, and if the State doesn’t start prosecuting your case within that time, you can typically have it dismissed.

The time limit to begin prosecuting felonies is three years for second and third-degree felonies and four years for first-degree felonies. For capital and life felonies, there is no statute of limitations.

Call Our Orlando Domestic Violence Attorneys

A conviction for a domestic violence offense in Florida can carry significant criminal penalties and fines, so don’t go it alone. We handle various domestic violence and criminal defense cases at the Panella Law Firm. We can provide guidance and fight for your rights and freedom whether you are a first-time or a repeat offender.

If you are facing a first-time charge or a repeat offense, our Orlando domestic violence lawyers offer a free, confidential consultation to discuss the facts of your case and determine the best way to move forward. Call us today at 407-233-1822 to get started.

Attorney Mike Panella

For Mike Panella, the concept of zealous advocacy developed at an early age – fueled by what he perceived to be an unjust resolution in a personal family legal matter. Mr. Panella would later attribute his passion to defend the rights of those who stand accused to those inequities in the legal system he observed, and considered unjust. Before opening Panella Law Firm, Mr. Panella served as an Assistant Public Defender for Florida’s 18th Judicial Circuit Public Defender’s Office and worked hundreds of cases in both Brevard and Seminole Counties. Mr. Panella was undefeated at trial. [ Attorney Bio ]

Contact Attorney Michael Panella

Need a criminal defense service? Turn to Panella Law Firm and contact us today with your question.

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