Domestic violence, pursuant to Florida law, is any assault, battery, stalking, or any criminal offense that results in physical injury or death of a family or household member by another person who is or was residing in the same home. The penalties you face when up against a domestic violence charge are steep and that is completely separate from the judgment and stigma you will face from just being charged with this kind of a crime.
Florida takes these kinds of cases seriously and aggressively pursues alleged perpetrators of domestic violence. However, the system is not perfect. Sometimes mistakes are made. Misunderstandings happen. In certain situations, a domestic violence case can get dismissed.
Reasons for Why a Domestic Violence Case Would Be Dismissed
First, let’s clarify a point about how domestic violence charges actually work. The alleged victim of domestic violence has no authority to drop a domestic violence charge. Once the State prosecutor’s office has issued the charge, the victim has no authority to drop the charges. Domestic violence is a criminal offense. The State issues criminal charges, not the victim. Since the State issued the charges, the State alone has the authority to drop the charges. The State must decide whether to proceed in formally charging and pursuing a case against an alleged perpetrator of domestic violence. The victim still plays a critical role in the case as the judge will likely invite the victim to speak to a decision on whether an abuser should or should not be released from custody.
The State may choose, in some cases, to drop domestic violence charges. If there is sufficient evidence of something like self-defense, the charges may be dropped. In cases of self-defense, there would be evidence that the person standing accused of domestic violence only initiated physical contact in order to protect themselves from harm. Proof of defense of others may be another reason to have charges dropped. If you were justified in the violence committed against a family member because you were protecting someone else, you may have the charges against you dropped. It may also be the case that an estranged family member was trying to break into your house. In this case, the act of alleged domestic violence may be justified pursuant to Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law. This law allows the use of deadly force on a “violent intruder” who is breaking into your home or car.
There is also the possibility that the State may choose to drop the charges because there is a strong possibility that you were falsely accused. Evidence that may support this kind of assertion often comes in the form of conflicting witness testimony. There may be also conflicting evidence that does not support the victim’s account of what actually happened. If a prosecutor is not comfortable completely dropping a domestic violence charge, there is still a chance that you can negotiate a lesser charge.
Florida Domestic Violence Attorneys
Suffering a domestic violence incident is very serious. Being charged with committing domestic violence is also very serious. The attorneys at the Orlando Family Team are committed to getting justice for our clients. We are here to talk. Contact us today.