Defending Domestic Violence Cases

Domestic violence cases often occur in families with no prior police involvement and can cause an otherwise stable household to suffer enormous upset and long-term anxiety. 

Family members experiencing emotional stress can sometimes impulsively act forcefully against another relative, household member, or former spouse with whom they share a child.  

The laws regarding domestic violence have developed in response to tragic cases and provide for the strict imposition of minimum penalties, counseling, and other collateral consequences in most cases. 

At Stechschulte Nell, your domestic violence charge will be aggressively defended and thoroughly challenged to ensure no wrongfully obtained evidence or unreliable testimony is used against you. Our mission is to protect your legal interests and prevent avoidable consequences.  Here’s how we may defend your unique domestic violence charges: 

Domestic Violence Crimes in Florida 

Florida statutes define domestic violence crimes as “any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.” (§ 741.28(2), Fla. Stat.) 

To convict a defendant of one of these domestic violence crimes, the prosecution must prove every element of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecutors rely on evidence gathered by police at the time and place of the alleged offense, and on witness statements. 

Penalties imposed upon conviction of domestic violence offenses vary widely depending on the nature of the underlying crime and the severity of any injury suffered by the victim.  

The initial penalty is determined by the nature and severity of the underlying crime, whether it is a misdemeanor battery or an aggravated assault in which a firearm is used to threaten another person. Sentences imposed can as low as mandatory probation for some misdemeanors up to years of imprisonment for more serious offenses and felonies.  

Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges 

Experienced domestic violence defense lawyers immediately begin to investigate the facts and evidence from the scene of the alleged domestic violence crime. Remembering that the prosecution must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, a skilled domestic violence defense lawyer examines the strength and reliability of each piece of evidence: 

Physical or Documentary Evidence  

  • Was there any damage, broken objects, or blood observed by police? 
  • Did either the alleged victim or the accused suffer injuries?  
  • Are there photographs depicting injuries to either party? 
  • Did the alleged victim seek or obtain medical treatment? 
  • Are any medical records or test results consistent or supportive of the allegation? 
  • Do any laboratory tests reveal the presence of drugs or alcohol in the complainant? 
  • Is there a 911 telephone recording from the incident? 
  • Do police reports portray a scenario in which the police gained lawful entry? 
  • Do the facts constitute probable cause? 

Testimonial / Witness Statements 

  • Did the complainant give a written witness statement? 
  • Did the accused make any statements or admissions? 
  • Was the accused in custody when they made the statement? 
  • Did the police read and did the accused understand the Miranda warnings? 
  • Was the police interrogation or the accused’s statement recorded? 
  • Does the accused confirm or contest these police-involved events? 
  • Is the complainant a person with a reputation for dishonesty or exaggerating? 
  • Does the complainant have any prior police involvement or record of conviction, especially for violence? 
  • Are there any third-party witnesses, and did they leave witness statements? 

Our Client’s Version of Events  

  • Did our client act as it is alleged? 
  • Is there any prior history of violence by either party? 
  • Were there any witnesses to any prior violent events involving either party? 
  • Was our client defending themself from the threat of force by another? 
  • If the complaining witness is untruthful, what motive do they have? 
  • Is there evidence supporting the existence of the complainant’s motive? 
  • Was our client under the influence? 
  • Does our client suffer from physical or mental impairments that impact either the allegations or our client’s criminal responsibility? 
  • Is there a history of treatment for any impairment suffered by either party? 

The above list constitutes only a small number of issues and analyses a skilled defense lawyer examines in every domestic violence case. Each case presents unique facts and individuals whose lives have suddenly been thrust into the government’s control. 

Protecting Our Client from Domestic Abuse Charges 

Our main objective in each client’s domestic violence case is to use every legal tool available to protect our client from unjust, unproven allegations, and to ensure that no evidence is permitted to be used against our client unless every lawful challenge we make is overcome. 

In every case, not only do talented domestic violence lawyers fight to prevent conviction, we also strive to minimize any penalty that is imposed in the end. If you are facing a higher-level conviction and the evidence against you is powerful, our efforts may also then focus on reducing the charges to a less serious offense level. You can trust our skilled defense to fight for you at every turn and give you guidance along the way. 

The consequences of a domestic violence conviction can affect people’s lives well into the future. No domestic violence conviction can be expunged in Florida. The records of conviction can hinder employment opportunities, housing availability, block professional licensing, and make obtaining credit extremely difficult. 

Let Stechschulte Nell apply our years of courtroom experience and domestic violence defense expertise to help you in your domestic violence case. Call 813-820-1244 for your Free Case Review. 

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