Your Domestic Violence Questions Part Two

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

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.

What Are Some Of The Long-Term Affects Someone Will Experience Having A Conviction On Their Record And How Public Is This Situation?

Attorneys at Blake & Dorsten P.A. try very hard to keep the convictions off your record because, among other reasons, in a very tight job market, an employer may search for your record and a prior battery charge will come up. That can be the difference between getting a job or a rejection.

Furthermore the world’s become more accessible with public records on the internet and it’s much easier for people to find prior records. Attorneys at Blake & Dorsten P.A. try to avoid convictions for their clients by aggressively defending the allegations of domestic violence. Furthermore, attorneys are also cognizant that in the future, you may be able to seal or expunge your record if there is no conviction or if your domestic battery case is dismissed.

If Someone Is Actually Convicted Of A Crime Involving Any Type Of Domestic Violence, Can That Be Expunged?

Generally, an expungement is a one-time deal for someone that generally has no prior record whatsoever; it was one isolated incident and there cannot be any prior convictions. Generally, the rule is if there is a prior conviction, it is then ineligible to be sealed or expunged. In any defense case, part of the negotiating process and dealing with the judge is to ensure that the client is not convicted, possibly  making them eligible for sealing or expungement.

How Serious It Is To Be Accused Of A Domestic Violence Charge And Can That Have Any Long-Standing Affects?

Yes. Clients that come in with an accusation of domestic violence often have no prior record. They’ve never been in the system before and so it’s a very intimidating and frightening experience for them. Attorneys at Blake & Dorsten P.A. try to explain their rights and give them an understanding as to what to expect. Additionally, attorneys at Blake & Dorsten P.A. can try to remove evidence of an arrest from the internet and possibly get your case sealed/expunged erasing the unfortunate incident from public records.

Are Domestic Violence Charges Sometimes Misunderstood Or Do People Have Misconceptions About The Seriousness Of These Chares?

Oftentimes, what most people don’t understand is just how active of a prosecution the state and the police takes. Oftentimes, there is alcohol or other factors involved in these incidents.  An argument may occur between two people with the neighbors calling the police.  Once the police are involved, they almost always make an arrest.  The reason they make an arrest, even if there is no injury or the victim doesn’t want to prosecute, is because they would have  liability if no arrest was made and the suspect ended up later hurting the victim.  So, a simple push or a simple argument or a threat where people don’t think that’s big of a deal can often turn into something that’s going to be aggressively prosecuted.

That’s why domestic violence prosecutions are a little bit different than most other criminal offenses- the aggressiveness of the police and the prosecution. They may go forward with the case whether or not the victim wants to cooperate.

What If Someone Wants To Retract A Statement Or Want To Drop The Charges? Is It Correct That It’s Pretty Much Out Of Their Hands At That Point?

That’s right. Technically the victim in the domestic violence is the state of Florida and not the person that’s actually the victim of the battery or the assault.  That is the stance the prosecution and the police take. So even if the alleged victim recants their statement and denies ever being hit by the suspect, the prosecution still takes the stance for the victim as the state of Florida and they may aggressively go forward.

Many suspects assume they are safe because their spouse isn’t cooperating with the prosecution but that doesn’t necessarily mean the case will be dropped and it’s actually the contrary. The prosecutor’s still going to try and go forward with that case with whatever information he or she may have at the time.


For more information on Domestic Violence in Tampa Bay, Florida, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling the law office of Blake & Dorsten P.A. at (727) 286-6141 today.

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.

In these cases, the lawyers at Blake & Dorsten, P.A.  may get their client evaluated for drugs or alcohol treatment if necessary . If alcohol or a controlled substance is a major factor for the incident, showing the prosecution that the client has been evaluated and treated for any issues can be helpful in resolving your case.

When Alcohol Or Drugs Are Involved, Will That Make The Case Easier Or Harder To Defend?

It’s not necessarily easier or harder; it’s just using different tools to handle each unique situation. So, if alcohol and/or drugs were the root, the root of the problem needs to be identified. Once the situation is corrected, that can be used as a tool in negotiating with the prosecution to let them know the reason for the criminal allegation and take steps to solve it.  A lot of times, that is very effective in getting the best possible outcome because the prosecutor is concerned not only with this incident but any future incidences that may occur.

So, if a suspect can be put in either alcohol or drug treatment or counseling right from the beginning of the case, that shows the prosecution that, “Hey, we’ve identified the problem and addressing it.” Using this technique, lawyers at Blake & Dorsten P.A. can often get excellent results for their clients.

If There Were Drugs Or Alcohol Involved, Can The Person Get Assessed Into Treatment? What Happens If They Get Voluntary Counseling Or Anger Management When Facing A Domestic Violence Charge?

That’s a huge advantage of hiring an attorney. The offices of Blake & Dorsten P.A. has a network of both alcohol and drug counselors as well as anger management counselors. If there is an issue with controlling the anger of a client, then that can be evaluated and addressed. It’s about identifying the root of the issue, getting it addressed, getting counseling, and a lot of times, that goes a long way.

Your criminal defense lawyers know that often defendants just had a bad day or was part of a bad situation.  If we can get to the root of the issue, whether it be anger, whether it be alcohol, whether it be drugs, we can get that evaluated and we can get that problem solved. That goes a long way to say to the prosecutors, “Hey, jail isn’t necessarily a requirement in this case and probation might be more appropriate or treatment might be appropriate”.

Is Counseling Recommended For Someone Who Intends To Claim Innocence In Such Cases Or Would You Have Them Steer Away From That? How Does That Play Out In Front Of A Judge If You Have Someone Who Isn’t Going To Plead Guilty Or Plea?

Each case is very different and each case presents a unique set of facts. However, most judges like the fact that the person has taken the initiative to get treatment or to get counsel. But does it show admission of guilt? Not necessarily.

It is no secret to the judge or to the prosecutor if drugs or alcohol were involved.  It often says right on the arrest report. Moreover, it isn’t viewed as an admission if they go ahead and enter alcohol or substance abuse treatment.  In fact it actually is looked upon favorably by the courts- it looks like the defendant is taking a proactive stance to the issue and they’re taking responsibility for the situation.

However, they are not admitting criminal liability, they’re taking an active role and responsibility for what had occurred. And that doesn’t necessarily mean that a crime occurred but a bad situation occurred where maybe the police were called.

These classes are identifying the root of the problem and can be an effective tool. That’s why it’s also important to get in touch with your attorney right away.  Our defense attorney can help you register with the classes and get started. By the time it first goes with the prosecution, that evaluation and potential treatment, if required, can be completed, and so you’re just way ahead of the 8-ball as the case progresses.


For more information on Domestic Violence in Florida and the use of alcohol and drugs, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling the law office of Blake & Dorsten P.A. at (727) 286-6141 today.


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?

If someone didn’t do anything wrong, then that might be someone that wants to litigate the case. 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.

Other solutions?  There might be a case where the charge can be reduced, maybe no conviction or maybe some kind of counseling with the prosecutor willing to drop the case after the counseling is completed.

What Happens When Someone Pleads Guilty But It Doesn’t End Up In A Conviction? How Often Does That Happen And How Often Can The Client Be Saved Or Have Charges Reduced?

Blake & Dorsten P.A. will often try to get their clients’ charges reduced and/or dropped, that’s the goal of almost every single case. So, it can happen a lot.

Depending on the facts of the case, a client may be a candidate for the Diversion Program. The diversion program is available for first-time offenders and available through the state attorney’s office.  It is up to the state attorney as to whether you would be admitted.  This is where your lawyer negotiates admission to the program with the prosecutor. In the diversion program the defendant will have a series of things he/she must do such as community service hours, treatment for drugs/alcohol if needed and restitution to the victim.  If successfully completed, the prosecutor will drop or dismiss the case. So, it’s important to look at those options and determine which one is best for the client.

The prosecutor generally only allows a diversion program early on in the case.  Once litigation drags on, the diversion option is taken off the table. That’s why it’s important to get in early with your lawyer, assess your options and to figure out what’s the best strategy and what’s the best defense for each individual case.

How Do Self Defense Scenarios Really Play Out?

Self-defense is generally the most common defense in a battery situation. For a person to claim self-defense, they first usually had a duty to retreat, meaning if the situation was escalating, they had a duty to de-escalate it and to leave. There are certain exceptions to that such as the castle doctrine.  That is where if one is in their own house, they don’t have to retreat from their own home.

Additionally Florida changed added a law that has become known as the Stand Your Ground law, that means you can actually stand your ground and stand there and defend yourself against someone that is potentially attacking you and you have a reasonable belief that you’re in great bodily harm or fear of death in that situation.

Again, that’s a case by case analysis. Self-defense is often claimed in battery prosecutions, and it really comes down to a lot of them he-said-she-said. So, it’s often a great defense and it can be used among other defenses in the overall case strategy.

Why Is It Important To Have An Experienced Domestic Violence Attorney Versus A General Criminal Defense Attorney Or Family Law Attorney?

If you get a firm that specializes in  criminal defense and domestic violence, they will really know the ins and outs of the law as well as keeping up on constant statute updates.  They will know who your prosecutor is as they’re in court with them almost each and every day. Moreover, there are specialized domestic violence courtrooms, and those courtrooms have their own procedures and their own rules that are unique to the domestic violence cases.

The lawyers of Blake & Dorsten, P.A. know the judges involved in each of those cases. If you hire a criminal defense firm that also specializes in domestic violence, you’re going to get an attorney that knows the law, knows the prosecutors, and is familiar with the domestic violence judges.

What Sets Blake & Dorsten P.A. Apart In Handling These Cases?

What sets Blake & Dorsten P.A. apart from a lot of criminal defense firms, is that both Nicholas Dorsten and Rex Blake are former prosecutors including a stint as domestic violence prosecutors. As a result, they know the strengths and weaknesses of each case and will know what’s successful and not successful.   They have handled 1000s of cases as both prosecutors and as defense attorneys.  With Nicholas Dorsten and Rex Blake you are getting a firm that specializes in these types of cases.

For more information on Defending Domestic Violence cases in Saint Petersburg, Florida, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling the law office of Blake & Dorsten P.A. at (727) 286-6141 today.




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