Charged with Domestic Violence? Call us.

Domestic Violence
Defense Lawyers

Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers

Why is knowing the penalties for
Battery - Domestic Violence important?

Because there are lasting effects of a Battery-Domestic Violence conviction and some adverse collateral consequences. Knowing all the consequences gives you good reason to fight your Battery-Domestic Violence. If you don’t fight your Battery-Domestic Violence, at a minimum you will:

  • No return to your home
  • No contact with the alleged victim
  • Serve 12 months of probation
  • Attend a 26 week domestic batterer’s program
  • Have a permanent criminal record
  • Have no possibility of expungement or sealing of that criminal record

Why is knowing the penalties for
Battery - Domestic Violence important?

Domestic Battery charges can carry serious consequences, including mandatory jail time. The police often tell the parties involved that at least one person has to be arrested since they have been called out. Law enforcement personnel often make a decision to arrest based upon very little evidence. Police will arrest the person that failed to call the police during the dispute. Because of this, people are arrested that don’t deserve to be arrested. Often the “man of the house” rides to jail simply because of an argument. John C. Murphy aggressively defends these charges to help avoid the BIP, heavy fines, long probation periods and possible jail time. I can help you fight your Battery-Domestic Violence charge.

John C. Murphy has a comprehensive understanding of Florida’s Battery-Domestic Violence laws. From the initial arrest, every element of your case will be carefully investigated and examined. I will help you understand the possible consequences you face and maximize your chances for a successful defense. In some cases, I am able to reduce a Battery-Domestic Violence charge to a Simple Battery or Disorderly Conduct, lesser charges with less severe penalties. I have also been able to get some Battery-Domestic Violence charges dropped.

John C. Murphy also handles Injunction for Protection cases and in the past handled hundreds of Divorce cases. I can file a Motion to Modify Release Conditions to restore contact with the victim and get you back into your home. I can give you the counsel to guide you through to this turbulent time.

Battery-Domestic Violence is a criminal offense. If you want the best Battery-Domestic Violence defense possible, John C. Murphy will protect your rights and give you the aggressive defense your deserve.​

First Battery - Domestic Violence Penalties

Battery – Domestic Violence is a Misdemeanor of the first degree.


Fine
Probation
Jail
BIP*
Phych Eval*
Substance Abuse Eval*
Community Service
No Contact Victim
No Return Home
Restitution

Minimum
N
None
None*
Required
Likely
Likely
None
None
None
If Injured

Maximum
$1,000
1 Year
1
Required
Likely
Likely
and Up
1 Year
1 Year
If Injured

Second Battery - Domestic Violence Penalties

Battery may also be charged as a third degree felony (even in the absence of great bodily harm) if the defendant was previously convicted of a battery offense.


Fine
Probation
Jail
BIP*
Phych Eval*
Substance Abuse Eval*
Community Service
No Contact Victim
No Return Home
Restitution

Minimum
None
None
None*
Required
Likely
Likely
None
None
None
If Injured

Maximum
$2,000
1 Year
270 Days
Level 1
and Up
1 Year
and Up
and Up

* NOTE: 5 days required jail, if the defendant is adjudicated guilty and there is any bodily injury.
* NOTE: The Batterer’s Intervention Program (BIP) is a 6 month intensive counseling program. The BIP addresses the root causes of domestic violence and prevent participants from committing acts of domestic violence in the future. BIP consists of an initial assessment, orientation, and at least twenty-six (26) weeks of group counseling sessions.
* NOTE: Evaluations include completion of any recommended counseling/treatment.

Charged for Battery?

Now is the time to learn about your rights, and have the defense you need.
Schedule an appointment to learn more about your options.

Domestic Violence FAQs

If you have been arrested in Brevard County and are facing charges for domestic violence, you likely have many questions. For your convenience, I have put together answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about domestic violence in Florida. Please keep in mind that this information is just an overview and may not apply directly to your case. For the most accurate information relating to your particular circumstances, call my office and set up a free consultation today!

When the police respond to a domestic violence call, they often arrive on the scene with an expectation that someone will be arrested. The police are often inclined to make an arrest even if the alleged victim does not want to prosecute. The police officers in these cases rarely have access to all of the information about the past difficulties between the parties. In a very short amount of time the police are confronted with conflicting versions of what occurred, and must make a judgment call about which party was the “primary aggressor.” The odds are overwhelming that the person arrested will be male.

Yes. At your first appearance, the judge will impose a “no contact” provision that means that you can not have any direct or indirect contact with the alleged victim. Sometimes the no contact will extend to any witness and your children. Do not violate the “no contact” order, even if you are asked or encouraged to do so by the alleged victim. The judge will also impose a “no return” to the alleged victim’s residence. If you live at the same place, you can not return to your home, even if you are the sole home owner. If you are lucky, the judge will allow you a one time return to collect your clothing and personal effects but you must be accompanied by a law enforcement officer. Do not violate these Court Orders (rules) because if you do you will be arrested for violating the court’s order and brought back to jail likely without bond. Having contact with the alleged victim can result in another criminal charge for “tampering with a witness.”

Unfortunately, no. Once the State Attorney takes on a case, it is in their power to decide whether to move forward with the charges, not the accusers. The alleged victim does not have to cooperate in order for charges to be filed. This means even if your accuser tries to take back their accusations or statements against you, the State Attorney gets to decide whether you will stand in front of a court of law and be tried for domestic violence. When police respond to a scene where they believe domestic violence has taken place, they will put that information in the police report. If the State Attorney wants to press charges based on the evidence witnessed by the police and others, they are free to do that.

In fact, it is common for the alleged victim to actively seek to reconcile with the defendant after the arrest, even though the court has imposed a “no contact” provision. Even if the allege victim contacts you and wants to reconcile, only the judge can remove the “No Contact” provision. The Motion to Modify the Bond Conditions to remove the “No Contact” provision can normally be filed on an emergency basis and heard within a few business days after retaining me. Do not discuss your desire to have the “No Contact” provision lifted with the alleged victim because any contact – whether by phone, text, letter, or through a third party violates the “No Contact” provision. Even if the alleged victim wants you to return to the home, do not have any contact with the alleged victim until the court has dropped or modified the “no contact” provision.

Domestic violence victims frequently become reluctant or even hostile witnesses for the State Attorney. Although there are often legitimate reasons for an alleged victim to refuse to cooperate or to refuse to testify, the State Attorney will often assume the main reason is fear of retaliation by the suspected abuser. As such, additional efforts may be made by the State Attorney to force the witness to appear and testify, or to obtain additional evidence for admission at trial in place of the alleged victim’s testimony.

YES. When a witness fails to show up for court when subpoenaed, the witness may not only face contempt of court charges, but may also be the subject of body attachment to assure his or her presence in court. Therefore, an alleged victim who chooses not to cooperate in the prosecution of an alleged abuser may become the target of punishment by the legal system. It is generally the over-all goal of the State Attorney to protect alleged victims, not jail them.

Battery – Domestic Violence is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail. Although for a first offense without any injury, the courts are most often inclined to impose a twelve (12) month probationary sentence with a special condition that the defendant complete a “Batterer’s Intervention Program.” After a trial, it is likely, the judge will adjudicate you guilty and order jail time. If alcohol or drugs were involved, the judge may order you not to possess or consume alcohol or illegal drugs. There is drug testing to ensure the order is followed.

The Batterers’ Intervention Program (BIP) is a twenty-six (26) week intensive program that addresses the causes of domestic violence and the ways to prevent it in the future. In order to successfully complete the Batterers’ Intervention Program you must complete an Intervention Assessment and then an orientation. Next, you have to attend 26 weeks of classes, and pay for weekly small group counseling sessions and complete homework assignments. If you miss any requirements of the BIP you can be dismissed from the program which will cause you to violate your probation and be subject to an arrest warrant.

The 1996 Lautenberg Amendment to the Gun Control Act of 1968 made it unlawful for any person convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence to possess a firearm. A “Withhold of Adjudication” would probably not count as a conviction and therefore would not bar possession of weapons. The Lautenberg Amendment also makes it a federal crime for a person subject to a domestic violence injunction to possess a firearm.

‍Domestic violence charges are very serious and can lead to a multitude of penalties such as steep fines, no contact orders, jail time and more. In order to take control of your situation, it is important to hire an attorney who understands your case and how to best help you. From self-defense to malicious or false accusations, John C. Murphy can work with the smallest of details to build your defense strategy. Attorney John C. Murphy has an insider’s understanding of the domestic violence legal system and can help you build a strong defense and make informed decisions regarding your case.

Any arrest for any act of domestic violence is a serious criminal offense with serious criminal consequences that may last a lifetime. It may not be in your best interest to represent yourself and simply agree to plead “guilty” or “no contest” just to get it over with. If you enter a plea, the Battery – Domestic Violence will be on your criminal record. You may forever have this “crime of violence” on your criminal record unless you take the appropriate steps to defend yourself against this serious allegation. Even if the court withholds adjudication, you may be sentenced to probation, counseling, and continued “no contact” and “no return” provisions. You will not be eligible to have your record sealed even if you avoid a conviction and agree to probation after a “no contest” plea.

In Florida, a domestic violence Injunction for Protection, if granted, is first issued on a temporary basis without the subject of the order being present. A hearing is scheduled, and after the subject of the order receives notice, that person can defend against the the Injunction for Protection on a permanent basis. If someone has filed an Injunction for Protection against you, it is essential to hire an experienced Brevard domestic violence lawyer to represent you at the hearings because once the orders are permanent the order can prevent you from seeing your children or returning to your home.

Most people arrested for domestic battery will be placed on misdemeanor probation with 26 weekly of domestic violence counselling court ordered and scheduled. These classes cost money, have homework assignments and require the probationer to have a good positive attitude. The instructors have the ability, at their discretion, to throw people out of their program. If one fails to complete the program, this triggers a violation of probation report which the probation officer sends to the respective court judge. The judge then signs a arrest Warrant, many with no bond, and the violated probationer sooner or later returns to jail. With no bond the person sits in jail for weeks to months before appearing before his original judge on the probation violation.

The costs of Classes, probation monitoring fees and the statutory fines and costs currently total $2000 to $2200 which need to be paid, at the longest, in the first eleven out of twelve months on probation. A large number of people arrested for domestic battery are totally unfamiliar with the system. Typically, they are offered the above-mentioned probationary sentence at bond hearing or first appearance court. Rather than pleading not guilty and just trying to bond out, Well over half of the recently arrested defendants will enter a plea, sign up for probation and achieve their immediate goal of being released from jail later that day. Bonds run high in violence cases. Working class people will often plea While asking this exact question “Does this mean I get out today?” Yes, they get out but rarely, at the time, do they realize the lifelong implications. Across the board, they have entered a plea to get out of jail after one of the worst nights in their lives. Many plead to cases that, later on, have pitfalls and problems for the state attorney’s office to successfully prosecute, and thus, the cases are dropped. The state attorney’s office uses a specialized division to prosecute domestic batteries. These cases are Victim-driven to a large extent with the victims attending classes and signing “drop charge” paperwork if they do not want the defendant prosecuted further. Regardless of victim input, the decision to charge and prosecute belongs to the state attorney not the Victim.

Other Non-Criminal Penalties

Domestic Battery charges are viewed in a post 9/11 World. Anyone convicted of a Domestic Battery is often considered “dangerous” to agencies that issue access passes and badges to Seaports and airports. Anyone with a Domestic Battery conviction is usually excluded from coaching youth sports or even being a chaperone on a youth field trip. The convicted person’s current and future rights to gun ownership are affected.

Today, even apartment complexes and certain trailer parks will deny leasing or occupancy to those convicted of domestic battery. The Landlords are not going to rent to someone who has a history of violence. The potential liability to the owners outweighs any financial benefit of renting to a future tenant who now has a documented, easily found history of violence. The first pages of any plaintiffs lawsuit would mention that it was foreseeable for this violent actor to act once again. The same logic applies to current and future employers who may face liability for workplace Violence, also easily foreseen.

Finally, a domestic violence charge, even though a misdemeanor, cannot be sealed or expunged under Florida law. This is true even if the court “withheld adjudication”.

John C. Murphy can thoroughly investigate the issues in the case, including stand your ground, self-defense, the relationship of the parties, the steps the police took in their investigation, talk to witnesses, and collect evidence the police didn’t bother to gather.