Experienced Information For Your Domestic Violence Case
When someone is facing any kind of criminal charges, they likely have a lot of questions. If you are facing domestic violence charges in the Clearwater area, I can answer your questions about your case at the Finkelstein Firm, P.A.. My name is Jenna Finkelstein, and below are some of the most common questions I hear.
Will I go to jail?
Florida law requires that the suspect in a domestic violence crime go directly to jail. In other words, if the police are called to the scene of a domestic violence dispute or complaint and have probable cause to make an arrest, someone is going to jail.
Will I get a bond?
If you are arrested for a domestic violence charge, you will initially go to jail with no bond. You will not be eligible for a bond until a judge has the opportunity to review the arrest affidavit in your case. This will happen within 24 hours of your arrest. It is important to hire an attorney for the first appearance hearing so that your rights are protected and the appropriate motion can be made for a reasonable bond. You should be given a reasonable bond at this hearing.
What if I was defending myself?
Self-defense and the defense of others are affirmative defenses that can be asserted in a domestic violence trial. Additionally, depending on the specific facts of your case, your attorney may have a basis to file a “stand your ground” motion prior to trial.
Can I get a restraining order?
If you are a victim of domestic violence, then you can request the courts to issue a restraining order or injunction for protection. You are not entitled to have a lawyer represent you for an injunction hearing. You may represent yourself, or you may hire an attorney.
Will the state dismiss the case if the victim wants to drop the charge?
Unfortunately, the “alleged” victim in the case does not have the ability to drop a charge. Although the victim’s position is taken into consideration, the state decides how to proceed on a case. The victim does not make the final decision. If a victim does not wish to prosecute, then they should file the appropriate paperwork so that the state is on notice of their desires. If you hire me and the victim wants to communicate to the state that they do not wish to prosecute, then I will help facilitate communication between the state attorney’s office and the victim so that everyone is on notice of the victim’s desires.
How do I get a no-contact order dropped?
Only a judge can enter an order allowing contact between a victim and a defendant once the no-contact order has been filed. A motion for contact must be set in front of the judge who is presiding over the defendant’s case. This motion is usually requested by the victim. At the hearing, the judge will inquire as to whether the alleged victim is in fear and, based on the totality of the circumstances, may grant the motion allowing contact.
Do I have to show up in court if I am the victim of a crime but I do not want to prosecute?
If you have been served with a subpoena, then you must appear. If you do not appear, then the party who issued the subpoena may seek a court order to show cause that will require your appearance.
What is tampering with a witness?
Tampering with a witness is a criminal felony charge in Florida. The prosecutor takes these charges very seriously and the punishment can be severe. Tampering with a witness is any attempt to threaten, induce or intimidate another person into withholding evidence, delaying service of process or withhold testimony. Oftentimes, these charges are filed together with domestic battery cases because a defendant is accused of trying to prevent an alleged victim from calling the police. Once a criminal charge has been filed, defendants should be careful, as certain communications with a witness or victim can be construed as witness tampering. This is yet another reason why it is so important to hire an experienced domestic violence defense attorney early in your case.
The domestic battery was an accident – can I get the charges dropped?
Oftentimes, there are innocent explanations that can result in dismissals. However, if you have been charged with domestic battery, the chances are that your story or explanation is different from what the witnesses and/or the alleged victim has communicated to the officers and the prosecutor. I will evaluate your domestic violence case and explore all possible defenses, such as self-defense, defense of others, mutual combat, standing your ground and any alibi defense that you may have.
What is the domestic violence diversion program?
Many counties have various diversion programs for first-time offenders. For example, in Pinellas County, the Office of the State Attorney runs the Domestic Violence Deferred Prosecution Program. This diversion program is offered to first-time offenders for misdemeanor batteries. The program usually requires 26 weeks of anger management classes/counseling, commonly referred to as a batterers’ intervention program (BIP).
Additionally, the program involves a period of supervision and payment of fines. Upon successful completion of the program and assuming there have been no additional arrests, the state attorney will dismiss the charge.