The State of Florida has a “preferred arrest policy” for reports of crimes of domestic violence. This policy generally requires law enforcement to make an arrest following even a single accusation of any unwanted touching or striking. However, this enthusiasm for prosecution overlooks the fact that false allegations of domestic violence do happen. And when they do, an innocent person’s life and reputation can be forever altered.
Below, we discuss what a person should do if they are falsely accused of domestic violence. If you’ve been falsely accused of domestic violence, try to take comfort in knowing that you are not without recourse. A criminal defense attorney in Clearwater may be able to assist you.
Under Florida law, “Whenever a law enforcement officer determines upon probable cause that an act of domestic violence has been committed within the jurisdiction the officer may arrest the person or persons suspected of its commission and charge such person or persons with the appropriate crime.” It’s important to note that an arrest can and often does occur even where the alleged victim does not want their partner or relative arrested.
If you believe you are going to be arrested for domestic violence, it’s vital that you remain calm and comply with the arresting officers. The time to present your argument will come later. While detained, it’s important that you don’t sign any statements. Never attempt to enter into a deal without first consulting a defense attorney in Clearwater. Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty.
Comply With Restrictions
After you are brought before a judge, you will be released on bail and given pretrial release conditions. It is very likely that the court will issue an order of no contact prohibiting you from having any contact with the alleged victim. It is essential that you comply with these conditions. “A person [arrested for an act of domestic violence] who willfully violates a condition of pretrial release … commits a misdemeanor of the first degree.” Your every instinct may be telling you that this is a simple misunderstanding. However, violating the conditions of your release and contacting the alleged victim in any way will only damage your case and may subject you to prosecution for another criminal offense.
Consult an Attorney
From the moment an alleged perpetrator is arrested to the moment their case is decided, there are numerous pitfalls that can prevent them from having their voice heard. And although a person is innocent until proven guilty, Florida’s aggressive stance means that you have an uphill battle in front of you. At Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan, we stand by those who are falsely accused of domestic violence and domestic battery. If brought on as your defense attorney, we will strive to have your charges dropped or reduced. In some cases, serious penalties can be avoided by entering into a diversion program. Consult a Pinellas County domestic battery attorney to begin the process of clearing your name and reclaiming your life.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.