Arguments between spouses often get tense and things happen in the heat of the moment both parties later regret. Unfortunately, even a misunderstanding or brief error in judgment could result in a spousal abuse charge.
Prosecutors treat spousal abuse charges as serious crimes. If you face domestic violence charges, having a knowledgeable attorney is critical. An Orlando spousal abuse lawyer could protect your rights, try to resolve the matter without criminal consequences, and pursue the best result the circumstances allow.
There is no specific law defining the crime of spousal abuse in Florida. Instead, any crime of physical intimidation or violence directed against a spouse could be called spousal abuse.
The crimes most associated with spousal abuse include assault, battery, false imprisonment, sexual assault, and the aggravated forms of these crimes. Some of these crimes are misdemeanors, such as simple assault and simple battery, while others are felonies. The prosecutor considers the severity of the alleged victim’s injuries, as well as whether the accused used a weapon, the spouse had a protective order in place, or the alleged victim was elderly when deciding to bring a misdemeanor or felony charge.
Any crime committed against a spouse or former spouse is a domestic violence crime. The state courts treat these crimes differently than other crimes, so engaging an experienced Orlando spousal abuse attorney to defend the charges is crucial.
Law enforcement officers responding to a domestic violence call must ensure that everyone present in the home is safe. If the officers’ observations and conversations with the parties give them probable cause to believe domestic violence occurred, Florida Statute § 741.29(4)(b) allows them to arrest the primary aggressor without a warrant.
Once the alleged aggressor has been booked, they typically remain in jail until arraignment, which usually happens within 48 hours unless the arrest occurred on a weekend. At the arraignment, the judge will set bail and terms of release. If the suspect has a history of domestic violence crimes, the alleged victim suffered severe injury, or the suspect is a flight risk, the judge could order the suspect to remain in detention until the trial.
If the suspect is released on bail, the judge typically imposes a no contact order. The order typically directs the accused not to contact the alleged victim and to stay away from their home. In the case of spousal abuse, such an order means the accused must not return to the home or contact their spouse until the trial. An Orlando attorney could advocate for an order that does not impose unreasonable restrictions on the accused.
The decision whether to prosecute spousal abuse rests with the prosecutor, not the alleged victim. In many cases, both spouses regret the incident and prefer to put it behind them, but a prosecutor insists on moving forward with the case.
The potential penalties for spousal abuse crimes depend on whether the prosecutor files a misdemeanor or felony charge. When the court finds an accused intentionally caused serious bodily harm to their spouse, the law requires a minimum sentence of five days in the county jail. However, maximum jail sentences could extend up to a year in jail for a misdemeanor and up to five years in state prison for a felony, plus hefty fines.
If the alleged victim did not suffer significant injuries, an Orlando attorney often could resolve a spousal abuse charge without jail time. However, the offender might be required to participate in a batterer’s intervention class, give up their guns, perform community service, comply with a restraining order, and observe other conditions a court might impose.
Sometimes arguments get out of hand and the police make an arrest. As soon as the parties calm down, they regret the event and want to move forward. However, the law requires further proceedings to ensure everyone’s safety.
Do not assume you can beat a domestic violence charge because the alleged victim will not cooperate with the prosecution. Many spousal abuse prosecutions result in jail time and significant penalties even if your partner objects to the proceedings.
An Orlando spousal abuse lawyer could provide an effective defense in any circumstances, so call us as soon as you are arrested.
The Umansky Law Firm Criminal Defense & Injury Attorneys