Domestic Violence

CLEARWATER CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Robert Hambrick Photo 1If you or someone you love has been arrested for Domestic Violence you need an effective attorney who will help you find the best possible result.

Domestic Violence charges often include criminal charges of assault, aggravated assault or battery, aggravated battery.

You need a Tampa Bay Criminal Defense Attorney by your side who will not only listen to what you have to say, but will take immediate action to uncover all of the facts, to speak with all of the witness, to review all of the medical records or alleged injuries, to exploit weaknesses in Law Enforcement’s investigation and to persuade the prosecutors to dismiss, nolle prosse or drop criminal counts – all with the objective of obtaining the best possible successful outcome for you.

Robert Hambrick tells you how to find the Best Results for Domestic Battery

Robert Hambrick understands there are many factors involved in an assault, battery, or domestic violence charge as charges can range in severity from a first-degree misdemeanor to a first-degree felony. Whether it is a bar fights, road rage, aggravated assault with a weapon finding all of the mitigating circumstances, Robert knows the criminal justice system, the laws, and the many options available for his clients.

THE BEST DEFENSES FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES IN PINELLAS & TAMPA BAY

CourtroomOne of the most important functions of a Defense Lawyer is to access all possible defenses to a criminal charge. In Assault, Battery and Aggravated Battery cases it’s crucial for the Defense to conduct an intense Defense investigation to establish all of the facts of the incident. An investigation can uncover evidence of any of the following defenses:

  1. Consent. An example of consent to an aggravated battery can be found in the death of the great escape artist and magician Houdini many years ago. At a demonstration of his magic he dared a lady in the crowd to hit him in his abdomen with as much force as she could. She did. Within two days he was dead as a result of the injuries sustained. Clearly, he consented to the touching so there was no legal charge of battery. Mutual Combat is a form of consent. In mutual combat there is implicit consent for a battery case. For example, not only in any heavy weight fight, Ali vs. Foreman or a hockey game, but a bar bet gone bet can invoke mutual combat.
  2. Self Defense. In Florida this is known as the justified use of force, is a defense to the crime of battery to defend yourself against another person’s unlawful attack. In Tampa Bay and Pinellas Florida law gives Floridians the right to use deadly force against intruders entering their homes or vehicles, no longer needing to prove fear for their safety, only that the person who is stabbed, shot with a firearm or even killed intruded unlawfully and forcefully. This makes a defense to charges of aggravated assault, simple battery, aggravated battery or even murder in some recent cases. In the past Florida law and common law required that a person attacked in a public place must retreat if possible. However, the law in Florida as it now stands is that someone attacked in public, “has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force.” It’s important to immediately contact a Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney to investigate the facts of your case as the law in Florida also forbids the arrest, detention or prosecution of the people covered by the law, and it prohibits civil suits against them.

An effective lawyer for the defense must take action as soon as possible. While the victim’s version of the facts may be filled with inaccuracies your attorney must be able, competant, willing and capable of exploiting those failures of fact against the prosecution. In domestic assault and domestic battery cases it is very important to initially present an accurate and effective defense by effectively marshalling all of the facts so the prosecutor and the judge, and if necessary a jury, see your side of the story. When you’re faced with the possibility of prison time and heavy fines it is important that you retain an attorney who is savvy, skilled, smart and aggressive. As a former prosecutor in Pinellas county, Robert knows both sides of the criminal defense system giving him an advantage, as he is able to anticipate the strategies of the prosecution. He knows the weak points in specific charges and how to defend against them. If you fail to defend your reputation or fail to defend yourself with vigor when you face the Judge in the courtroom.

HOW DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, ASSAULT & BATTERY CASES PROCEED THRU THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IN PINELLAS & HILLSBOROUGH:

Robert will intervene with the prosecutors before formal charges are filed in an attempt to have the charges reduced, dismissed or nolle prossed. In Tampa Bay & PInellas this is how your domestic assault and domestic battery cases will be handled:

  1. The Tampa Bay Domestic Violence assault or battery case is investigated by local law enforcement after an allegation of harm from the victim or after an officer has made an arrest. BY FLORIDA LAW in Tampa Bay or Pinellas an officer must make an arrest if he sees any sign or evidence that either spouse has been the victim of a battery and an arrest will be made even if a Largo Criminal Defense Lawyer objects. In practice this means that an officer must weigh the obligation to make a decision to arrest no matter how little nor how much evidence exists and that couples who were simply having a rough night find themselves branded as criminals in Florida.
  2. In Pinellas and Hillsborought the victim may be taken to a Domestic Violence shelter, if so the Defendant must have no contact with the Victim until the case is resolved or only with permission from the presiding Judge or the Defendant will be re-arrested.
  3. Law Enforcement Officers bring the case to the attention of the Pinellas or Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office for review The State Attorney’s Office makes a filing decision based on facts presented at what is known as an ‘invest’ which is usually conducted at the police headquarters of the investigating police department.
  4. An effective Defense Attorney will already know the prosecutor assigned to the case, know his strengths and weaknesses, and using his knowledge about the way the system works seek to have the charges reduced or not filed in the initial decision. It’s important to assert and array fact immediately so that a filing decision in an assault & battery is not made until the Defense has pushed its own version of the facts.
  5. Once a filing decision has been made the case proceeds to a Pinellas or Hillsborough Courtroom. The case may be presented to the Domestic Violence Court If it is a felony a Circuit Court Judge will handle the case, if it is a misdeamenor then a County Court Judge will handle the proceedings.
  6. The First hearing is an Arraignment in which the Judge will make certain that the Defendant has an attorney and understands the nature of the Assault and Battery charges against him. The defendant may be reminded if he is not in custody to have no contact with the victim as this will rescind his bond or ROR. It’s important not to make any statements about the offense at the arraignment as anything you say can be used against you and is being recorded for future use.
  7. The Judge will then set a date certain for the case to hear any pending evidentiary motions such as a Motion to Dismiss which argues that the law that applies to the case must lead to dismissal of the assault & battery charges or a reduction to simple counts if they’ve been mistakenly filed as aggravated assault & battery. Finally, when the evidentiary motions are disposed of, the Pinellas or Hillsborough Court will calendar what is known as a Pretrial at which time the Defendant must choose to either plea or set the case for Trial.

NEW DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COURT WILL OPEN IN PINELLAS

courthouse-gavel-on-woodIn order of address concerns raised by area advocates for domestic violence victims a new Domestic Violence Court is slated to open in January, 2013, with most of 2012 to be spent considering new family court practices and identifying existing gaps in the system with respect to domestic violence issues. Pinellas County has a significant amount of domestic violence. In 2010, 3,439 petitions for restraining orders against spouses or domestic partners were filed, a rate of nearly ten each day, with the vast majority of cases involving domestic violence in Pinellas County involve abuse by a man against a woman.

THE FLORIDA LAW OF BATTERY IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IN CLEARWATER PINELLAS & TAMPA BAY:

There are two types of Battery under Florida law, simple battery and aggravated battery. Also, Domestic Violence can be charged as an assault or an aggravated assault, Assault and Battery Charges.

SPOUSES, CHILDREN AND OTHERS LIVING UNDER ONE ROOF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:

courtroommarblelightIn these cases of allegations of Domestic Violence a Tampa Bay or Pinellas County Deputy must make an arrest of one of the inhabitants of a home if there is any sign of violence, for example bruising which is either unexplained or the result of a domestic battery. The law as described above still applies as do all of the defenses described above. The mere allegation of domestic violence can be a very difficult time for each member of a family whether or not the charge has merit.

Often in Pinellas and Tampa Bay these cases can be referred to a special Domestic Violence Court with the possibility of having the case eventually dismissed; however, an admission of guilt, individual anger management and group counseling may be a requirement so it’s vitally important to contact a Pinellas assault and battery defense lawyer who knows the best solutions for your particular Domestic Violence situation.

Courtroom photoOTHER SPECIAL VICTIMS – Abuse of Pregnant, Disabled or Elderly in Pinellas & Tampa Bay, Florida. As you can see from the Florida Statute below abuse is defined as any intentional infliction of physical or psychological injury upon an elderly or disabled adult and coupled with this statute is the neglect of an elderly person or disabled adult in which a caregiver is accused of failing to render proper care, supervision and services to maintain the victim’s mental and physical heath. Many of these cases are brought about during a Florida DCF investigation.

Upon learning that you may be a target of a criminal investigation for assault or battery conducted by Tampa Bay Police, FBI, FDLE or a DCF investigation, you should contact the best Clearwater criminal defense lawyer you can find and remember the following:

  1. Never discuss the facts about the assault or battery until after you have sought out legal advice from a criminal law defense attorney, because whatever you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Don’t make any statements. Don’t sign any admission statements. And if you are questioned about an alleged assault or battery remember that the Miranda Rights don’t always have to be given, unlike what you see in the movies. In fact Miranda Rights are only required for incustodial interrogations, meaning only when you are in custody by the police. If a law enforcement officer investigating an assault or battery later says you were free to leave at the time he questioned you he sheds his obligations to read you your rights nor to honor the rights which are enshrined in our American Constitution.
  2. Remember you are innocent of assault and battery until proven guilty. Don’t let yourself be pushed into saying or doing anything which may come back against you later nor is it a good idea to offer an apology or regrets about whatever happened.
  3. As these assault and battery cases may involve false or exaggerated allegations that are often motivated by some financial incentive or other improper motive, it’s important to act fast for your defense — find a seasoned criminal defense lawyer to help you as soon as possible.

FLORIDA LAW INJUNCTIONS FOR PROTECTION IN DOMESTIC BATTERY CASES:

courtroomhistoricAN INJUNCTION FOR PROTECTION is often referred to as a “restraining order” and herein referred to as “Injunction” that places restrictions on an individual (referred to as the Respondent) who has allegedly committed acts or (in some cases) made threats of violence against another individual (referred to as the Petitioner). An Injunction is requested by the Petitioner who files a “Petition” with the Court asking for protection from the Respondent.

If you’ve been charged with Domestic Violence and have been served with an injunction, the Court System will deal harshly with you should you violate any provision of the Injunction. If you object to the injunction or any of its provisions you must make the objections known to the Court before the injunction is granted.

The purpose of an injunction is to restrain the Respondent from further acts of violence; order the Respondent to leave a shared dwelling; prevent the Respondent from coming to your home, school or place of employment; and/or award temporary custody of minor children.

But the injunction should never be used as a tool to manipulate the Respondent or the Judicial System, gain access to property, or to settle issues of child custody or spousal support, but rather to protect you against a genuine and well-founded fear of continued violence or abuse.

Florida Statutes define Violence for an injunction in Florida Statute 784.046(1)(a) 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, by a person against another person.” By this definition not all offensive behavior directed at the victim meets the Florida statutory requirements for violence; what is contemplated under the statute is the following:

Trespassing, criminal mischief, threats, tampering with a witness and harassing phone calls are all criminal offenses which should be reported to law enforcement, but may not necessarily, alone, qualify for the issuance of an Injunction.

The Four Types of Injunctions are as follows:

  1. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (FS 741.28(2) and (3)): Violence or stalking that has occurred, or that the Petitioner has reasonable cause to believe they are in imminent danger of becoming the victim of, between individuals who are spouses, former spouses, or persons related by blood or marriage who are residing or have resided together as a family, or individuals who are residing together or have resided together as if family, or individuals who have a child in common. Download and print the “Petition” form from the Clerk’s Office website HERE. If you and the Respondent have minor children in common you must fill out a Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act Affidavit (UCCJEA).
  2. REPEAT VIOLENCE (FS 784.046(1)(b) and (2)(a)): Two acts of Violence or stalking on two separate occasions, one of which must have been within the past 6 months committed by a person against another person. These types of Injunctions are usually appropriate for neighbor-against-neighbor, coworker-against-coworker, or other types of relationships that are of a non-domestic or non-dating nature.
  3. SEXUAL VIOLENCE (FS 784.046 (1)(c) and (2)(c)): Any one of the following criteria must be met: (1) You must have reported the incident to law enforcement and be cooperating in any criminal proceedings or (2) The Respondent must have been sentenced to prison and the term expired or is due to expire within 90 days, and any incident of the following: (1) sexual battery (2) a lewd or lascivious act, committed upon or in the presence of a person younger than 16 (3) luring or enticing a child (4) sexual performance by a child or (5) any other forcible felony wherein a sexual act is committed or attempted. If at least one of the two above factors do not exist in your situation, you cannot file for an Injunction against Sexual Violence; however, you may qualify for one of the other types of Injunctions (Domestic, Repeat or Dating).
  4. DATING VIOLENCE (FS 784.046 (1)(d) and (2)(b)): Violence or stalking that has occurred, or that the Petitioner has reasonable cause to believe they are in imminent danger of becoming a victim of, between individuals who (1) have been in a dating relationship within the past 6 months (2) have had an expectation of affection or sexual involvement and (3) have been involved over time and on a continuous basis, excluding individuals who have engaged in ordinary fraternization in a business or social context.

If you are under investigation or have been arrested for domestic violence or  domestic assault or battery, Clearwater Defense Attorney Robert Hambrick will help you win at trial or find the best possible solution to dismiss the charges, to reduce the charges or to hammer out a fair and reasonable sentence by showing the prosecution the weaknesses of the arrest, facts and circumstances of the alleged misconduct. Robert Hambrick will stand by you in the Courtroom preparing a strong assault or battery defense so that you can move forward with your life.