It does not take much for a person in Florida to be brought up on domestic violence charges. The definition of what constitutes the crime is quite broad. Allegations of assault or battery sit at the high end of the crime charge spectrum. At the low end, the law says the mere threat of physical harm can elicit an accusation.
What makes domestic violence cases different from other assaults is that the victim and alleged perpetrator typically have a close relationship. That might involve family members, but situations involving unrelated individuals living in the same household can trigger charges, too. Penalties for a conviction range from a minimum term of five days in jail to as much as 15 years of incarceration. If you are a non-U.S. citizen, deportation is possible.
With all that’s at stake, a robust defense is called for when you are charged. Because every state’s laws differ, working with a skilled attorney is always a good idea. That said, experienced lawyers know that there are certain potential defense strategies worth exploring up front.
- Self defense. It takes two to have an altercation and sometimes the resulting violence stems from one person’s attempts to protect themselves.
- False accusation. Accusations of abuse are not uncommon among divorcing spouses. Sometimes a defendant can debunk suspicions by providing police a solid alibi, indicating that someone else was responsible for the alleged violence.
- Consent. Sometimes harmful activities occur with the consent of both parties. Such consent may serve as a defense.
- Lack of evidence. As with any crime, the state bears the burden of proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction. Preventing the use of possible evidence or proving evidence is wrong often makes for the strongest defense.
Each case is unique and deserves analysis from a perspective that puts the defendant’s rights at the forefront. However, it’s important to remember that is not something police and prosecutors are obliged to deliver.