Fort Walton Beach Domestic Violence Attorney
Having a verbal argument with your spouse or your boyfriend/girlfriend is not illegal. However, if anyone calls the police and reports that you hit, struck, grabbed, or pushed someone, the police will show up intending to take the primary aggressor to jail.
Often times, it’s a neighbor or independent witness who hears the arguing and decides to call the police. Either way, once the allegation is made, there is nothing that can be done to prevent an arrest for Domestic Violence.
Get the help you need after an arrest for Domestic Violence
Getting arrested for Domestic Violence is bad enough, but being convicted is something that will affect you for the rest of your life. At Flaherty Defense Firm, we have successfully defended hundreds of clients charged with Domestic Violence in Fort Walton Beach and throughout Okaloosa County.
My name is Tim Flaherty. I’ve been a criminal defense attorney in Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa County since 2001. My partner’s name is Brandy Merrifield. Whether you are a local resident of Fort Walton Beach, a military member, or a vacationer who was charged with Domestic Violence, we can help you. Call Flaherty Defense Firm at (850) 243-6097 and we’ll take care of this for you.
Florida Law Regarding Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence is a form of Battery, which under Florida Statute 784.03, is defined as follows:
“the offense of battery occurs when a person actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against their will.”
In order for the offense to qualify as Domestic Violence, the crime must have taken place between family members or household members which is defined under Florida Statute 741.28 as:
“spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, person who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married. With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit.”
I am being accused of choking the victim. Is that a felony?
Domestic Violence by Stangulation
A domestic violence charge is serious enough, but if you are accused of choking someone, or obstructing their breathing, the State can file an enhanced charge called Domestic Battery by Strangulation. While Domestic Violence is normally charged as a misdemeanor, the Strangulation element enhances the charge to a 3rd degree felony offense with a potential sentence of 5 years in prison and a felony conviction that will stay on your record for the rest of your life.
Pursuant to Florida Statute 784.041(2)(a), the State must prove that you impeded the alleged victim’s normal circulation or breathing, against their will, which caused a risk of great bodily harm.
In a Strangulation case, the police are trained to examine the scene for evidence that would support the most serious crime possible. With that in mind, Fort Walton Beach officers will look for the following when responding to an alleged domestic disturbance:
- Flushing, redness, or bruising of the alleged victim’s neck;
- Verbal confirmation from the alleged victim that a suspect touched their neck.
Penalty for Domestic Violence in Fort Walton Beach
In most cases, Domestic Violence is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail or 12 months probation, a $1000.00 fine plus court costs, and the required completion of a 26 week anger management course.
If you are charged with Domestic Violence by Strangulation, the potential penalty is 5 years in prison or 5 years probation, a $5000.00 fine, a 26 week anger management course, and a felony conviction on your record.
One important point to mention is that a Domestic Violence charge cannot ever be expunged from your record unless the charge is dismissed. If the prosecutor offers a plea offer of probation, it may be tempting to accept the deal. Be careful! Unless the charge is dismissed, it will stay on your record forever.
What will happen to my military career if I am convicted of Domestic Violence or Domestic Violence by Strangulation?
There are special considerations to think about if you are in the military and charged with Domestic Violence. For that reason, we have written a page that deals specifically with military members charged with Domestic Violence. Click to be taken to that page.
What will an attorney do to get my Domestic Violence charged dismissed?
We will contact the alleged victim with the goal of getting your no contact order lifted. We will also find out from them whether they want to cooperate with us in getting your case dismissed.
The State can still prosecute you for Domestic Violence even if the alleged victim doesn’t want to press charges, but it definitely helps if they are on your side.
We will interview all witnesses in the case, examine any physical, photographic, or video evidence, and develop a strategy that either forces a dismissal, gets you into Pretrial Diversion, or prepares us for trial. Either way, we will be ready.
Work with Domestic Violence Attorneys Who Get Results
If you have looked at our case results on this website, or read our Google reviews, you can see that we back up what we’re talking about. I’ve been practicing criminal defense exclusively since 2001 and I have a long track record of defending hundreds of clients accused of Domestic Violence in Fort Walton Beach.
At Flaherty Defense Firm, we believe that everyone, no matter what they’re accused of, deserves to have someone fighting for them.
We will defend you the way we would want our loved one to be defended if they were in trouble.
When you’re ready to put professional Domestic Violence attorneys to work for you, call Flaherty Defense Firm at (850) 243-6097 for a free, confidential consultation.