An accusation of domestic violence can be devastating because it often involves the entire family. Even if you are merely under arrest and awaiting trial, the court can severely restrict access to your children, home, personal belongings, and places you frequent. Oftentimes a domestic battery arrest results in the alleged victim also filing a restraining order, which will further reduce your access to your children, home, etc.
If you think you can easily try and handle such a case yourself because you were once in a relationship with this person, you could be very wrong. In fact, after a restraining order has gone into effect, any effort on your part to reach out to or contact the alleged victim could lead to additional charges against you.
Domestic violence encompasses a range of offenses that occur in a domestic setting, domestic violence could mean any of the following actions inflicted by one family or household member against another:
Note that a family or household member includes:
Florida law treats domestic violence accusations very seriously. Most calls to law enforcement in the context of a “domestic disturbance” result in the arrest of one of the parties, even if the alleged victim requests that an arrest not be made or there are no visible injuries. In other words, someone will go to jail simply due to the nature of the accusation. Following this exchange with law enforcement, if you have been detained and a restraining order has been filed against you, any violation of this order will lead to drastic consequences in addition to your initial accusation.
Domestic violence cases should be taken very seriously and handled with careful attention to detail. Especially in a case of domestic violence with a restraining order against you, your one phone call should not be to the alleged victim, but an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Attorney Nellie L. King has handled countless domestic violence cases in Florida throughout her career. She understands how these cases change lives forever, especially if the accusation is made on false pretenses, out of spite, or for one party to gain an advantage in a divorce action. Attorney King will work one-on-one with each of her clients to develop a personalized defense strategy that is both aggressive and compassionate.
In most domestic violence cases, the court will order that you have “no contact” with the alleged victim, directly or indirectly, under any circumstances. This order is commonly put in place as a standard condition of release prior to your release from custody and prior to you going to trial and being convicted. Be aware that a no contact order may restrict your access to your own home, preclude you from seeing your children, and even restrict your access to your workplace if the alleged victim also works there.
If a no contact order is negatively impacting you, seek qualified criminal defense counsel to modify these restrictive living conditions. A motion to modify the conditions of your release may result in you being able to resume a somewhat normal life until the accusations against you are heard in court.
Following an arrest of domestic violence, the alleged victim will have the option to file a restraining order against the accused. Sometimes the alleged victim might receive aid in this process from victim service coordinators or representatives of the State Attorney’s Office.
A domestic violence restraining order (TRO) can be filed against:
Note that in order for a restraining order (TRO) to be granted, one of the following acts must have taken place:
If you are served with a temporary restraining order following a no contact order as discussed earlier, you may experience similar restrictions to accessing your home, children, and workplace. These conditions, among others, can act as a pseudo-divorce because of the power the judge has to restrict you from people and places, as well as the financial conditions the restraining order court can impose for familial support.
Once served with the temporary restraining order, the court will set a hearing to determine whether to impose a permanent injunction for protection. It is in your best interest to hire an experienced attorney for this hearing because of the long-term ramifications if the injunctive relief is granted.
Be aware that the harsh reality of restraining orders is that you don’t need to be convicted of domestic violence for the court to impose a temporary or permanent injunction. The alleged victim/petitioner can bring up aspects of your relationship from years in the past to substantiate the request for the TRO. Quite frankly, many domestic violence accusations are filed out of anger, spite, or resentment, or in order to gain an advantage in a pending divorce action. As a result, restraining orders could be based on false allegations.
Attorney Nellie L. King is an experienced West Palm Beach domestic violence lawyer who can help you make sense of your situation and strategize a defense when your home life has been compromised due to an arrest or restraining order petition. She strives to get her clients back to a sense of normalcy during the chaos that can result from such allegations, and she will fight to ensure that your rights are protected and your name is cleared.