Domestic Violence Lawyer – Protecting Your Rights and Future
When an act of violence is alleged between certain people who share a household or who have shared a household, it is considered “domestic violence.” Like any criminal accusation, claims of domestic violence can result in severe penalties, like restraining orders, jail time, and significant fines.
Hiring a highly experienced domestic violence lawyer can ensure all of your rights and your future are protected.
Fort Lauderdale Domestic Violence Lawyer
If you have accusations of any sort of violent act, including assault, battery, or stalking, against a family member or loved one in Broward County, it’s important that you act immediately. A permanent restraining order may be issued within a matter of days.
Our Fort Lauderdale domestic violence attorneys understand the local domestic violence laws. We started in Broward County as a former prosecutor and public defender and understand the courts here. We represent people from our Fort Lauderdale office in Pembroke Pines, Miramar, Hollywood, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach, Plantation, Weston, Davie, and Wilton Manors.
At Meltzer & Bell, we represent clients who face accusations of spousal abuse, child abuse, and any other crime that would be classified as domestic violence. Contact a skilled Fort Lauderdale domestic violence lawyer for a free initial consultation.
We respond to calls 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Florida Family Violence Information Center
Are you looking for more information on a domestic violence charge, wrongful domestic violence allegations, past domestic abuse, or family law cases?
We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the complexities of Florida laws and domestic violence charges and understand your legal options.
In Florida, criminal acts that fall under the state’s definition of domestic violence are found under Florida Statutes Annotated § 741.28, which defines the term for family violence cases in 17th Judicial Circuit courts in Fort Lauderdale and Broward County. Domestic violence, under the law, means any one of several offenses that may occur between people who have a certain relationship.
The covered relationships include:
- Husband and wife;
- Former husband and wife;
- People related by blood, including parent and child, grandparent and grandchild or brother and sister;
- People residing together as a family; including stepparent and stepchild;
- People who have resided together as a family in the past; and
- People with whom the defendant has a child.
Although Florida does not yet recognize marriage equality, people in same-sex relationships may also face charges and be convicted of domestic violence.
Dating violence is another type of domestic violence that is covered under Florida law. Dating violence is defined in Florida Statutes Annotated § 784 as an act of criminal violence that occurs between two people who have shared a significant romantic relationship within the previous six months.
In Florida, domestic violence cases can involve a variety of criminal charges. Under Florida Statutes, domestic violence charges may result from the following offenses:
- Assault: The crime of assault occurs when someone intentionally threatens another person with violence, causing the victim to fear that they will be harmed. Simple assault is a misdemeanor, but if a deadly weapon is used, or if the assault results in serious bodily injury, it can be charged as a felony.
- Aggravated Assault: Aggravated assault occurs when a person commits an assault with a deadly weapon or with the intent to commit a felony. It is a felony offense.
- Battery: Battery is the intentional touching or striking of another person against their will or the intentional causing of bodily harm to another person. Like assault, battery can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the severity of the offense.
- Aggravated Battery: Aggravated battery is similar to aggravated assault in that it involves the use of a deadly weapon or the intent to commit a felony. However, in this case, the victim suffers serious bodily injury or permanent disability. It is a felony offense.
- Stalking: Stalking is defined as the willful and repeated following, harassing, or cyberstalking of another person that causes them to feel threatened or fear for their safety. It is a misdemeanor offense, but can be charged as a felony in some circumstances.
- Aggravated Stalking: Aggravated stalking occurs when a person commits stalking and makes a credible threat of death or serious bodily harm to the victim or their family. It is a felony offense.
It’s important to note that while these charges are the most common in domestic violence cases, they are not the only charges that can result in domestic violence charges.
Additionally, the severity of the charges and the penalties that come with them can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case.
Under Florida Statutes Annotated § 827.03, a person may be charged with any of the following crimes pertaining physical injury to children:
- Child Abuse: The intentional infliction of physical or mental injury upon a child or an act that can be reasonably expected to cause physical or mental injury;
- Aggravated Child Abuse: This means to commit any of the following upon a child:
- Aggravated battery
- Willful torture
- Malicious punishment
- Willfully and unlawfully caging
- Abusing a child in a manner that causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement;
- Neglect of a Child: The accused is a caregiver, alleged to have failed or omitted to care for a child and/or provide for the child’s basic needs, including providing medical care, in a way that causes great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement.
Child abuse charges do not need to occur between parent and child or any other relationship covered under domestic violence law. However, when they do, the accused or alleged abuser may face a restraining order that prevented him or her from seeing his or her child.
A person making an accusation of domestic violence may file a petition for a protective order under Florida Statutes Annotated § 741.30. At that point, the judge may decide whether to issue a temporary order. In most cases, he or she will grant it. This is decided in an ex parte hearing, meaning the accused is not able to be represented.
The temporary order, generally, will prohibit the accused from communicating with the alleged victim, or going near the victim. It may prohibit the accused from possessing a firearm or from consuming alcohol. It can order the accused away from his or her home, or to pay for the residence of the victim.
Within 15 days, the judge must set a hearing for a permanent order. At that hearing, the accused can be represented by a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer from Meltzer & Bell.
Family Division, 17th Circuit: Hearings regarding protective orders are heard in the Family Division of the 17th Circuit, which covers Broward County.
Broward Sheriff’s Office Domestic Violence Page: The County’s chief law enforcement officer provides information about domestic violence charges to victims.
If you have been accused of any type of domestic violence against a family member or person you have dated, it is important to act fast. A domestic violence allegation and any criminal offense resulting from domestic violence charges can have severe penalties.
A dedicated Fort Lauderdale domestic violence lawyer from the law offices of Meltzer & Bell can represent you both in protective order hearings and in any criminal proceedings that follow.
Call us now at (954) 765-6585 to schedule a free consultation.