Articles Posted in Domestic Violence

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Common Questions When Defending Domestic Violent Cases in Florida

What Strategies Are Used To Defend If Someone Is Going To Agree To Some Level Of Guilt? Also, What If Somebody Simply Didn’t Do Anything Wrong?

The lawyers of Blake & Dorsten P.A. have over a hundred combined jury trials and can be very aggressive in litigating cases. If someone’s innocent and they maintain their innocence, that they didn’t do anything wrong, it’s vital to preserve your constitutional rights.  If need be, set the case for trial, get the police reports and let the jury decide the outcome. So, that’s one possible scenario.

How Often Do Domestic Violence Cases In Florida Involve Alcohol and Drugs?

How Often Are Domestic Violence Cases Related To Alcohol And Drugs?

Oftentimes when a situation turns physical, it’s because the emotions are running hot and alcohol and potential drugs act as fuel to the fire of those emotions.  Drug or alcohol-related domestic violence cases are common because drugs and alcohol tends to exaggerate a situation that may already be a little bit emotional.

Difference Between Assault, Battery, And Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can be assault or battery; domestic violence is just an act that is done against a spouse, a former spouse, an adult related by blood or marriage or even somebody who has a child in common.

An assault is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to another coupled with the ability to do so, creating fear that violence is imminent. For example, if somebody shows their fist and says, “I’m going to hit you” and take a swing at them, even if they miss, that is assault.

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What Is Domestic Violence
And Battery?

Florida Statute 741.28 covers Domestic Violence which can mean any type of battery, assault, sexual offense, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death. The difference between regular battery and domestic violence is that battery is between a stranger or an acquaintance. Whereas if it’s a family or household member, it is defined as domestic violence. Domestic violence can occur between a boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, mother/son or it can be two people living together in a romantic or family relation.

Role Of Domestic Violence Or Battery In Divorce Cases

In every divorce case, there tends to be heightened emotions. In divorce case, lawyers do tend to see not just domestic battery and violence but they also notice uptakes in things such as stalking and violation of injunctions.

Domestic Violence Can Be A Simple Or Serious Charge

The severity of a charge of domestic violence depends on the charge. Domestic violence can be as simple as a second- degree misdemeanor assault, domestic assault to a misdemeanor battery, going all the way up to a very serious felony charge that can lead to lifetime imprisonment. The offender can also be held in jail without bond, as the domestic division in Pinellas County tends to be very strict. In cases where the Defendant is not allowed to have contact with the victim but violates the court order, the judge can hold them in contempt, or even order the Defendant in jail without bond.  The State Attorney can charge the defendant with a new crime, typically violation of pretrial release or even a more serious tampering with a victim charge! This can happen even if the victim initiated contact with the defendant.

You Cannot Contact Your Spouse, Partner, Or Children After Your Arrest

Almost immediately after the arrest, even on the first appearance, the judge can prevent the suspect from contacting their spouse, partner or children. Even if this offender is released by the judge after an appearance in front of him/her, the judge will usually order “No contact with the alleged victim”, meaning in most cases, the spouse, family member or partner. In cases where the victim is their own child, the offender will not be able to have contact with them. Many times, the judge will allow one supervised visit, usually with the sheriff’s office or police, so the suspect can pick up a few personal belongings, but they will have to leave the house.

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What Happens When A Person Is Charged With Domestic Violence In Florida?

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What Should Someone Expect Once They Have Been Charged With A Domestic Violence Charge?

If you’ve been charged with domestic violence, it’s important to call an experienced criminal defense firm that can handle your case. The reason for that is because the police and the prosecutor in Florida believe in an active prosecution. An active prosecution means that even if you think it’s a minor incident or even when the alleged victim doesn’t want to prosecute, the prosecutor and the police often go forward with the charges.  In the past, prosecutors often dropped domestic cases once the victim wished not to prosecute.  This is no longer the case.  Previously the state thought the reason victims declined to prosecute was because they were getting pressure from the defendant. As a result, the state of Florida takes a very aggressive and a very active stance towards domestic violence prosecution. Therefore, it is important to hire a defense attorney right from the very beginning because there are certain tactics that we can use to get the very best possible result.

As Saint Petersburg, Florida domestic violence attorneys, we often get asked many of these questions below.  We have taken some of our most frequently asked questions and over the next few weeks will be answering these.

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What Is Domestic Violence And Battery? Blake & Dorsten P.A. Explain. 5

St. Pete domestic violence attorney.jpg By now this has been the lead story on almost every news cast. We have included a video from CNN that does not show the battery. A copy of that video can be found here. While it is not bloody, it can be disturbing for certain viewers…

As has been previously mentioned, star running back Ray Rice has been suspended indefinitely from the NFL and has been cut from the Baltimore Ravens last Monday. This turn of events occurred only after a new video surfaced showing the football star brutally knocking out his fiancee, now wife in a hotel elevator.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had originally suspended Rice two games for his actions involving the domestic violence. This drew harsh criticism from many people who noted that the NFL was giving out four game suspensions for first-time illegal drug users. Goodell claimed the light sentence was given when he only had access to an earlier video which did not show the actual assault. Rather it showed Rice dragging his unconscious girlfriend out of the elevator.

Back in July, Rice had admitted wrongdoing and he and his wife were in counseling. After this latest suspension, the 27-year-old man may be out of options. Any NFL team that signs him will need the commissioner’s approval to proceed. In addition, the Canadian Football League is not allowed to sign him as long as he is suspended by the NFL.

Rice had previously been given probation by a New Jersey judge after a deal was worked out with the prosecutor. This too has come under intense criticism by many for both the supposed leniency as well as the same judge/prosecutor are now involved in a controversial firearm case.
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In that New Jersey case, a Pennslyvania woman was pulled over in New Jersey. She let the officer know that she had a firearm in her car and that she had a valid firearm permit from her state. Unfortunately for her, New Jersey does not recognize these permits and she was arrested. Despite previous cases of people being offered a diversion program for the same offense, New Jersey prosecutor Jim McClain is refusing to budge. His last offer to the woman, Shaneen Allen, a professional with two children, was 3.5 years prison!

The fact that this prosecutor and Judge Michael Donio consider a brutal domestic battery less of a concern then legal firearm ownership by a military vet and mother has outraged many people.

Is there a double standard? Ray Rice was famous and given a slap on the wrist for his brutal battery. Meanwhile the exact same judge and prosecutor who excused domestic violence appear almost giddy in their attempts to imprison a woman with no criminal record for a mistake.

One thing for certain, there are no winners in either case. The NFL looks soft on crime and the Baltimore Ravens took heat for both their support of Ray Rice and their tweet from Rice’s wife in which it appeared she blamed herself for the incident.

As far as the firearm case, the New Jersey justice system looks weak but especially the judge and the state attorney’s office. Many articles have been written nationally including in USA Today, and local papers.

The one possible bright spot in all this mess is that domestic violence victims are getting increased attention. The old question of “why didn’t (the victim) just walk away?” has been getting answered and the country as a whole has heard about both tragedies now. With increased awareness will hopefully come increased domestic violence education and perhaps a push for more fairness in prosecution for both innocent victims and even the accused.
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Pinellas domestic violence defense lawyers.bmpIn the breaking news department from Tampa Bay Times online, a former city council candidate for the city of Seminole was arrested on a domestic violence related charge.

62-year-old Thomas Christy was arrested by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in his Pinellas home Wednesday and charged with one count of violating an injunction against domestic violence, a misdemeanor.

As of this writing, police were still investigating and the state attorney’s office has not filed charges. The actual allegation appears to come from a text that the defendant allegedly sent to the victim. The text itself did not seem violent, it simply said “Your keys are hanging on the mailbox. You’re nuts. Stay away.”

953593-domestic-violence-callout.jpgFrom the Tampa Bay Times online, in 2012 domestic homicide has seen the largest increase in Pinellas in almost two decades.

The report, commissioned by the Pinellas County Domestic Violence Task Force, recorded 13 homicides last year. This is the highest number they have counted since they started keeping track! Since it started in 1996, there have been 114 fatal domestic violence cases in Pinellas county.

Even worse, five of the homicides were murder-suicides (where the killer takes his/her own life after murdering the partner), bringing the 2012 death total to 18.

Nobody has an answer as to why the sudden increase in domestic violence related deaths. It may take years to find out why because the task force can only study the cases after the criminal justice system is through. The State Attorney’s office and police are hesistant to share information on an open case.

Besides the police, the task force uses a variety of sources for its research including the clerk of court, domestic violence shelters and probation offices, among others.

Per a victim advocate from the Largo Police Department, before last year the highest number of domestic homicide cases were 10 back in 2001. The advocate continued “Behavior is hard to predict and, with domestic homicide, we’re always trying to look at the past to prepare for the future. But sometimes it takes years upon years of data to see a significant trend.”

Among the more notable 2012 Pinellas murders were the following:

– In September a woman fatally stabbed her husband in their Saint Petersburg apartment after he answered a phone call from another woman.

– The day of their divorce court date a man shot his estranged wife and then himself in Clearwater where the woman was staying with her children and a relative.

– A man murders his wife and then shoots himself in a Walgreens parking lot, orphaning their child.

– In August a man kills his girlfriend by running her over as she fled their home in Pinellas Park. The killing was seen by her children.

While the 2012 cases are still going through the court system, there are a few patterns worth noting. For instance all five of the murder-suicides were committed by men with half of the couples in the process of a divorce.

In addition and not surprisingly, alcohol and/or drugs played a role in almost 75% of the tracked cases since 1996. Sadly in almost half the cases the suspect had previously been arrested for domestic violence but a judge never ordered a domestic violence course in nearly three out of every four cases!

Want Help?

To view the Pinellas report, please click on the ndvfri.org website here. The website also has plenty of tips such as:

Friends and relatives: Listen nonjudgmentally; offer to help with money, a ride, storing documents or watching children.

Bosses and co-workers: Hang informational posters in workplace bathrooms; give staff time off for court dates.

Neighbors: Call police if you hear a disturbance; develop a code word the victim can use to alert you to call police.

Clergy members or community leaders: Be available to speak about intimate partner violence or advocate on the issue; partner with shelters to keep women safe.
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