Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers

Orlando Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers Fight for You

If you are charged with a domestic violence offense in Florida, an Orlando domestic violence defense lawyer at the Panella Law Firm can help fight the charges and protect your rights. Florida takes domestic violence seriously. A conviction can carry significant criminal penalties, including jail time and fines. It can wind up negatively affecting your parental rights and your shared property in a divorce situation.

The Panella Law Firm is a tough 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 a successful resolution of your case. If your case proceeds to trial, our lawyers will strategize to contest the prosecutor’s case and work for your acquittal.

We provide a free consultation to discuss the facts of what happened and determine the best way to help. Call us today at 407-233-1822.

What is Considered Domestic Violence in Florida?

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.

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 experienced team at Panella Law Firm can give you the best defense possible.

How Our Lawyers Help with a Domestic Violence Charge

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 consensual or mutual confrontation or combat
  • “Stand Your Ground” defenses — showing you reasonably believed force was necessary to protect yourself.

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 and look for weaknesses in their case and proceed accordingly. In cases where there were injuries and a trial becomes necessary, we are fully prepared to defend you in court.

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 is going to jail. Any allegations of violence between household members must be charged as domestic violence, and this creates a bias toward prosecution, even if the victim does not want to press charges. The prosecutor decides whether there is enough evidence for a conviction and whether to proceed with the case.

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 get to work 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 the prosecution 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 be able to convince the victim not to pursue the charge against you and to request that 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 would seek to modify any no-contact orders by filing a motion to modify 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 voluntarily help. If you and the victim voluntarily enroll in counseling programs, it can help show the prosecutor you are responsible and increase chances of resolution without proceeding to trial.
  • Making pretrial motions. Pretrial motions such as Stand Your Ground or Motion for Court Ruling can show weakness in the prosecutor’s case and may assist negotiations and prevent further litigation.
  • Taking your case to trial. Sometimes just showing that we are willing to take the case to trial encourages resolution. If necessary, our domestic violence defense lawyers are fully prepared to fight for your rights in court.

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

How 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 may 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 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 major damaging consequences. Charges cannot be expunged from your record; and even if you were not convicted, it will remain on your criminal record forever. Charges may be used against you in a divorce proceeding and if there are children involved. Charges can be used against you in any future domestic violence cases; even if you were found not guilty, the charges can 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 a minimum of five days served in county jail, imprisonment in Florida state prison, or a minimum of one year probation or community service. You will be required to 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. Battery may be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor or as a 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 jail 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.
  • 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 begin prosecuting your case within that time, you can typically have it dismissed.

The time limit to begin prosecution for 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 for a First-Time Charge or a Repeat Offense

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

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.

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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