An arrest or even accusations of domestic abuse can destroy your reputation, affect custody, and threaten your freedom. Our Tampa domestic violence defense lawyers are here to fight for your rights.
Let Thomas & Paulk Help Protect Your Future
There are nearly a million domestic violence cases reported each year in the United States. A majority of these charges are made against a husband or boyfriend. Those charged with domestic violence are often aggressively prosecuted and quickly assumed guilty, and the legal penalties involved in this type of case can have life-long consequences.
If you have been accused of domestic violence, ensure that your rights are protected by contacting a Tampa criminal defense attorney from Thomas & Paulk right away. We are available 24/7 to assist with your case. Our firm has handled more than 7,000 different criminal cases, personally interacting with each and every client. No matter how complex your domestic violence case is, we are prepared to provide aggressive legal representation.
What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is defined under the Florida Statutes §741.28 as the assault or battery of any family/household member. The following may result in domestic violence charges:
The law does not define who is included in the scope of household or family member. For this reason, it is important to understand who could bring charges against you in a domestic violence case. A case could involve a current or former spouse, relatives by blood and law, a current or former roommate, a parent of a child or children.
Types of Domestic Violence
When boiled down to its simplest terms, domestic violence is defined as abuse within an intimate relationship or within a family setting, including spousal abuse and child abuse.
Although many associate physical abuse with the crime, it can be:
- Verbal abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Mental abuse
- Financial abuse
Regardless of the specifics, if you have been accused, you need to act quickly to protect your legal rights. Our Tampa domestic violence defense lawyers are standing by to help.
Defending Domestic Violence Charges in Tampa, FL
Once an alleged victim makes a report of domestic violence, Florida law enforcement will usually get involved immediately. People charged with domestic violence face harsh prosecution, making it extremely crucial to have legal protection. Our firm is here to ensure that our clients' rights and best interests are thoroughly protected. With more than a decade of legal experience, Thomas & Paulk is dedicated to defending the rights of those accused of domestic violence. Let our firm protect your reputation! If you are convicted of domestic violence, it will most likely affect the rest of your life.
When you hire us, we fight for more than just your freedom – we fight for your future.
Contact us at (813) 321-7323 to set up a free consultation!
Everything you've worked so hard for in your life could be at risk in the face of domestic violence charges. You need to protect your future, and that starts with involving a Tampa domestic violence defense lawyer from Thomas & Paulk. As former prosecutors and with more than 40 years of collective legal experience, we're qualified and ready to help you.
How Florida Protective Orders Are Involved
After an arrest for domestic violence, the alleged victim will often request an injunction, otherwise known as a protective order. A person may also request a protective order at any time following an alleged act of stalking, abuse, or other form of domestic violence—even if there is no arrest.
The purpose of a protective order in Florida is to protect a victim from further violence or harm. Depending on the conditions imposed by the court, a protective order may prohibit any contact with the victim, prohibit further acts or threats of violence, and prohibit the alleged abuser from coming within a certain distance of the victim’s home, workplace, or school.
Will the Judge Issue a Protective Order Against You?
If an alleged victim is asking the court to issue a protective order against you, first the judge must find “reasonable cause” to believe that the petitioner is in imminent danger of being harmed by you.
Before the judge can order an injunction, he or she must weigh all relevant factors that the victim alleged in their petition, such as:
- The history between you and the petitioner, including physical violence, threats, harassment, and stalking
- Whether you have ever tried to harm the petitioner, their family, or their friends
- Whether you have threatened to kidnap or harm the petitioner’s children
- If you have ever abused or killed one of the family pets
- If you have used or threatened to use a weapon, such as a knife or gun, to injure the petitioner or another family member
- Whether you have ever physically barred the petitioner from leaving the house or from calling the police
- Whether you have a criminal history of violence
- If there are other restraining orders against you, including other jurisdictions
- Whether you have destroyed the respondent’s personal property, including communication devices
- If you have done something in the past that places the petitioner in reasonable fear of becoming a victim of domestic violence
Hearsay alone should not be enough to support a protective order. You need to remember that you have the right to challenge an injunction and to present your side of the story. Even if the alleged victim claims to have evidence against you or things seem helpless, talk to an attorney about your options. You might be surprised to find out that a positive outcome is possible.
Once an alleged victim files a petition for protection from domestic violence, the court may decide to grant an ex parte order granting a temporary injunction (protective order). If the protective order is granted, a court will schedule a return hearing.
If a temporary injunction is granted, it will be effective for no more than 15 days under Sec. 741.30(5)(c) of the Florida Statutes. The court will then schedule a full hearing for a date before the temporary injunction expires.
A temporary injunction may include various terms. It may:
- Order the respondent to stop committing domestic violence
- Order the respondent to stay away from the petitioner
- Order the respondent to stay away from the family home
- Specify how far the respondent must stay away from the alleged victim
- Order the respondent to stay away from the victim’s work or school
- Award temporary child custody to the victim
- Order the respondent to surrender their firearms and ammunition.
If the court believes that the petitioner is in fact a victim of domestic violence, the court may grant a final injunction for protection against domestic violence, which can require the alleged abuser to attend counseling and substance abuse treatment, complete a batterer intervention program, and pay spousal and child support among other things.
How Can False Domestic Violence Accusations Affect Me?
Courts issue 1.5 million false or trivial temporary restraining orders every year—that’s nearly 70% of all restraining orders issued. Half of those cases don’t involve physical violence. Florida domestic violence laws specifically include a minimum punishment of five days in county jail. The court will then sentence the person accused to a period of imprisonment; however, the court can decide on a sentence of probation or community service. The state prosecutor can also charge you with assault and battery, which is a second-degree misdemeanor, or aggravated assault, which is a third degree felony.
False domestic violence charges can change your life. Cases involving abusive conduct between spouses and family members are taken very seriously—and rightfully so. But if they’re filed for the wrong reasons, they can adversely affect an innocent person’s reputation, job, and personal relationships. They can result in a loss of custody and even jail time.
Why Do People Make False Accusations?
Unfortunately, it is easy for unscrupulous individuals to make false allegations of domestic violence—putting the accused’s future at risk. It can affect a person’s job, relationships, and freedom. If you face false allegations of domestic violence, it is vital to have an experienced attorney on your side. Prosecutors don’t take domestic violence charges lightly, and the accuser can't drop charges, even if they change their mind.
Jealousy, anger, and revenge are all reasons a person may make false or exaggerated accusations. A person may even falsely accuse a spouse or ex-spouse of domestic violence in an attempt to gain custody of shared children in a divorce or family law dispute. No matter the reason, the result can be unfounded charges and an uncertain future for the accused.
What Should I Do in the Face of False Domestic Violence Charges?
Many people accused of domestic violence think that the truth will prevail; however, that’s not always the case. False domestic violence accusations do a lot of damage. Since the person who falsely accused you of a crime may be emotionally unstable, there are certain things you should do to protect your rights.
If you’re facing false domestic violence charges:
- Consult with an attorney. One of the first things you should do is contact an experienced Tampa domestic violence defense attorney who will guide you through this overwhelming process. Our team of skilled and experienced attorneys is ready to protect your rights and your future.
- Change login information for your safety. We recommend you change the passwords of your bank accounts, laptop, cellphone, and other devices that contain important information. Unfortunately, there are many cases when accusers use this information against the defendant. It is best to secure your data.
- Present evidence to your attorney. It is essential to give your attorney all information that will help prove your innocence. An experienced attorney can investigate your case to develop a strong defense.
Tampa Domestic Violence Attorneys: Call (813) 321-7323!
If you face false domestic violence charges, you must get strong representation to prove your innocence. Our Tampa domestic violence lawyers at Thomas & Paulk, P.A. have extensive training and are incredibly familiar with the legal system. Our legal team will work hard to protect your rights, and you can rest assured that we will do everything we can to develop a strong defense strategy on your behalf. Let our team of experienced attorneys help you every step of the way. We're available 24/7, so contact us now!
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