Florida’s priority is to keep victims of domestic violence safe. The state has made it incredibly easy for alleged victims to obtain domestic violence injunctions, or restraining orders. The state has also given law enforcement the authority to make an arrest if they suspect that there is an incident of domestic violence. At every turn, the alleged victim is notified of their rights and provided assistance. This is in stark contrast to alleged perpetrators who have yet to be proven guilty of a crime.
In this article, we want to shed some light on how Florida handles domestic violence cases. As you’ll read below, the odds are stacked against individuals accused of domestic violence. This article is meant to be an educational resource. If you require legal assistance, don’t hesitate to contact a domestic violence defense lawyer in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm.
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance a law enforcement officer has conducted an investigation and taken a written statement from the alleged victim and witnesses regarding the incident. The law enforcement officer will inform the victim that they may ask the state attorney to file a criminal complaint. It’s important to note, however, that the officer does not require the victim’s consent to make an arrest. Under Florida law, an arrest is the preferred response only to the primary aggressor, meaning that you will likely be arrested if an officer believes that you were the attacker.
Under Florida Statute 741.2901, it is stated that:
“It is the intent of the Legislature that domestic violence be treated as a criminal act rather than a private matter. For that reason, criminal prosecution shall be the favored method of enforcing compliance with injunctions for protection against domestic violence as both length and severity of sentence for those found to have committed the crime of domestic violence can be greater, thus providing greater protection to victims and better accountability of perpetrators.”
It is stated right in the statute that a pro-prosecution policy for acts of domestic violence shall be adopted. Prosecutors are part of special units developed specifically for prosecuting cases of domestic violence. Prior to your first appearance, the State’s Attorney’s Office will perform an investigation into your history and prior arrests, especially those that have to do with domestic violence.
The laws and rules enacted by the state of Florida are important; they’re there to keep victims safe. But it’s equally important to remember that this is a legal process that must be navigated by the just and unjust alike. If you’ve been accused of domestic violence, understand that you will be facing an uphill battle to prove your innocence. For this reason, we strongly recommend consulting a domestic violence defense attorney in Tampa with our law office. Our team can review the specifics of your case to determine the course of action that’s best for you.