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The Added Difficulties of Domestic Violence Charges in Florida

Recent allegations 0f spousal abuse against Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice sparked heated discussion, debates and arguments about America’s treatment of domestic violence victims and perpetrators. Rice’s punishment by the National Football League (NFL) was largely criticized as too lenient, according to a report by ABC News. Rice is required to sit out two games, including a season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals. Opponents of the punishment point to the NFL’s recent handling of other player behaviors. As stated in the article, the detection of steroid use results in a four-game suspension and a rookie player was recently suspended for five games in response to free gifts that he accepted while in college. Opponents assert that these instances exemplify the NFL’s failure to adequately discipline incidents of domestic violence.

Rice’s problems began when a video surfaced, allegedly showing him hovering above his beaten wife, then reportedly dragging her across the ground. Though no determination of guilt has been entered in a court of law, the court of public opinion is loud and harsh towards Rice, as well as lesser known domestic violence defendants.

Florida Domestic Violence Procedures

The state of Florida defines domestic violence as “any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.”

An important aspect of this law is the definition of family member or household member. The legal definition provides an explanation that expands the traditional meanings. Under Florida law the following relationships are considered family or household members:

  • Spouses;
  • Former spouses;
  • Blood relatives who live or lived in the same household;
  • People who have a child in common, regardless of marriage;
  • Roommates; and
  • Present cohabitants in a single dwelling resident.

When charged with assault against a family member, there are numerous limitations and restrictions that are often placed on the accused, even before a conviction is obtained. Alleged victims of domestic violence can apply for an injunction of protection. This is an order that restricts communication between the alleged victim and aggressor. Injunctions of protection can be extremely difficult for a domestic violence defendant. The order may require you to leave your own home, possibly placing you in a difficult financial position. It can also limit your relationship with your children and your ability to visit specific places.

While some injunctions of protection are absolutely proper and necessary, they are often abused and brought against innocent parties. It is important for assault defendants to understand the seriousness of these injunctions. They become a permanent part of your legal background and violations can lead to very serious legal charges. A hearing is required to complete an injunction for protection and it is imperative to secure legal representation.

If you or a family member has been accused of committing a domestic violence offense, contact Miami criminal law firm of Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC today at (305) 330-3905 for a confidential and free consultation.

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