Incidents of domestic violence are far too common in Florida. Arguments escalate into fights and someone is injured—or worse.
Florida has fortified its laws to combat domestic violence, a signal that the people will not tolerate that kind of abuse in any context. Victims of domestic violence have a number of tools available to them to end their abuse.
Conversely, although many people accused of domestic violence are at fault for their actions, others were simply defending themselves. Sometimes a person accused of domestic violence is the victim of false accusations made against them by a divorcing spouse who is trying to prevail in a divorce or child custody battle.
A victim or potential victim of domestic violence may be too afraid or too intimidated to report the abuse to the police, but no one should tolerate an abusive relationship. Florida law provides for "protective orders," also known as "restraining orders," or "injunctions for protection," to shield victims of domestic violence from further harm.
A person accused of domestic violence faces many challenges once a complaint is filed with the court, whether or not that person was arrested when the incident occurred. Not only can such an accusation lead to extensive legal penalties, including prison, but it may also harm the reputation of the alleged abuser or cause him or her to lose time with his or her children.
Whether you are the victim or the person accused of domestic violence, you should seek legal advice right away from an experienced family law attorney. At Yaffa & Associates, we know how serious the consequences of domestic violence charges can be, and we are here to help you face them.
Our attorneys have represented both men and women, including victims and those accused in domestic violence cases, in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, and throughout Palm Beach County, Florida for two decades.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, or if you are accused of domestic violence, you should contact Yaffa & Associates now at (561) 276-3880 for a confidential consultation. We will completely evaluate your situation and advise you on the next steps to take to protect yourself and children.
Domestic violence not only affects the person who is abused, but the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) states that it also has a "substantial effect on family members, friends, co-workers, other witnesses, and the community at large. Children who grow up witnessing domestic violence are among those seriously affected by this crime."
Living in a violent relationship can feel like being strapped to a ticking bomb that could explode at any moment. No one wants to live that way, but victims of domestic violence often try to rationalize their situation or downplay the severity of abuse out of denial, fear of additional abuse, or concern that children could also be harmed.
In Florida, when one spouse is abused by the other, the victim may seek an "injunction for protection" from a court. By law, protective orders, also known as restraining orders, can be implemented in cases of domestic violence, repeat violence, sexual violence, dating violence, and stalking.
Any "family or household member" who is "either the victim of domestic violence or has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming the victim of any act of domestic violence" may seek an injunction for protection from a court under Florida Statute 741.30(1).
“Family or household member” includes persons who are or were married, people related by blood or marriage, people who were residing together in a single dwelling unit as if they were a family, or people who have a child in common. In seeking an injunction, the petitioner must describe the nature of the relationship between the parties.
A person who is considering a domestic violence injunction against a family or household member probably has many questions about what to do, including:
When it issues a restraining order in a domestic violence, the court prohibits the abuser from taking specific actions against the person who was abused. The court has the power to enforce a protective order if it is violated. Violations can result in additional criminal charges and incarceration and can affect the determination of child custody.
There are many steps between seeking an injunction of protection and the actual issuance of an injunction. Time can be an enemy in these situations, so it is wise to contact a family law attorney experienced in domestic violence issues right away.
Types of injunctions include orders for:
In Florida, domestic violence charges may range from a misdemeanor to a felony, depending on the circumstances. Penalties for domestic violence include time in jail or prison, probation, and/or community service.
When you have been accused of the serious crime of domestic violence, your freedom, reputation, and quality of life are all at stake. For this reason, you need a qualified domestic violence attorney to help you understand and defend yourself against the charge made against you. An attorney with experience in defending accusations of domestic violence can:
An accusation of domestic violence is a serious matter that could affect you, your relationships with family and friends, your finances, your job, and your freedom. It is wise to seek qualified legal counsel immediately if you are facing or could be facing a domestic violence allegation.
Domestic Violence Statutes at the Official Site of the Florida Legislature — Log on to the Florida Legislature’s web site for the statutes enumerating the state’s domestic violence laws. You can also search for other laws related to marriage and a variety of other family law topics under Title XLIII, Chapter 741 of the Florida Statutes.
Assault, Battery, and Culpable Negligence Statutes at the Official Site of the Florida Legislature — Log on to the Florida Legislature’s web site for the statutes enumerating the state’s primary laws related to repeat violence, sexual violence, dating violence and stalking. (Title XLVI, Chapter 784 of the Florida Statutes.)
Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV) — The mission of the FCADV is to create a violence free world by empowering women and children through the elimination of personal and institutional violence and oppression against all people. FCADV provides leadership, advocacy, education, training, technical assistance, public policy and development, and support to domestic violence center programs, as well as numerous resources on its web site.
Florida Courts Website, Family Law Self-Help Information — At the Florida Courts web site, you will find printable forms and other information about domestic violence, repeat violence, sexual violence, dating violence and stalking, as well as resources and publications covering a wide variety of family court-related topics.
Palm Beach County Unified Family Court — The Unified Family Court of Palm Beach County handles all case types related to family issues, including domestic violence, divorce, child custody/time sharing, child support, paternity, and others. The UFC web site contains a wealth of information about family law in Palm Beach County and provides links to other legal information.
If you are a victim of domestic violence or any other form of violence committed by a family or household member, or if you feel that you could be a victim, or if you have been accused of domestic violence, do not hesitate to contact one of the experienced family law attorneys at Yaffa & Associates to schedule a consultation.
Find out what you need to do right now to protect yourself and your children. Yaffa & Associates represents clients throughout Palm Beach County, including Boca Raton, Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Wellington, and Jupiter, Florida.
During the consultation, one of our Boca Raton family law lawyers can explain the issues related to domestic violence and help you determine your options. Our managing partner, Doreen M. Yaffa, has been a board certified specialist in marital and family law since 2001. Board certification is the highest level of recognition awarded by the Florida Bar and only about 6 percent of all Florida attorneys are board certified.
Call Yaffa & Associates at (561) 276-3880 today to discuss the facts of your domestic violence case during a private consultation.