Domestic violence laws have become increasingly stricter throughout the United States over the years, especially in the state of Florida. These stricter laws are due in part to the increased frequency of domestic violence cases, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice revealed that domestic violence-related incidents rose an astounding 8.1% just weeks after jurisdictions imposed lockdown orders in early 2020. Historically, domestic violence cases have declined over the last two decades with tougher laws, however, the pandemic may have drastically set that number back.
Can a Domestic Violence Charge Be Dropped in Florida?
A commonly asked question when it comes to domestic violence-related charges in Florida is: "Can my domestic violence charge be dropped?"
Depending on the case, the answer is yes, especially with the help of a West Palm Beach domestic violence defense attorney. Once a domestic violence incident is reported in Florida, the situation is no longer being handled by the victim, but is now in the hands of law enforcement. It becomes the government versus the offender rather than just the defendant versus the offender. However, just because you are arrested for domestic violence, it does not necessarily mean the state will bring charges against you.
What is an Arraignment in Florida?
After a domestic violence arrest, the court will set an arraignment date. An arraignment for domestic violence is a formal court hearing where the charges, if any, will be filed against the defendant by the prosecutor. There are many benefits in having a domestic violence defense attorney on your side before an arraignment as a lawyer can provide guidance on how best to proceed and develop a comprehensive defense strategy before an arraignment hearing takes place.
There is a window of opportunity before an arraignment to have a domestic violence case 'no file' in Palm Beach, 'no action' in Miami-Dade, or 'no info' in Broward. All three mean that the State Attorney's office has opted to not file formal charges against you.
An experienced domestic violence defense attorney will investigate the facts, look at the probable cause affidavit, and find out if the victim wants to move forward with charges. If there are questionable facts or an uncooperative victim, there is a likely chance the State will decide not to file domestic violence charges.
What if Domestic Violence Charges are Filed?
Even if domestic violence charges are filed at an arraignment hearing, the charges can still be dropped at a later date. If the alleged victim decides to recant their statement(s), or not cooperate, the State can still drop the charges post file. The only difference, however, is once charges for domestic violence are filed but later dropped, the case will be "nolle prosequi." This term is used by the prosecutor to declare voluntarily ending a criminal case after charges have been formally filed.
Can a Victim of Domestic Violence Have the Charges Dropped in FL?
Florida prosecutors and judges will do everything in their power to guarantee the victim is safe from the alleged abuser during an active investigation. Because of this, a victim alone cannot have the charges dropped. However, the victim’s input can go a long way in a prosecutor deciding to file a case, drop a case, or negotiate a settlement. If you or a loved one was arrested for domestic violence in South Florida, use our live chat feature to speak with our legal receptionist. You can also go here to request a call back from our Florida domestic violence defense attorney.
What if You are Found Not Guilty of Domestic Violence?
Just like any other criminal offense in Florida, if an individual is found not guilty of domestic violence, they will be acquitted by the State court and can live a normal life without any stigma.
Unfortunately, despite being found not guilty, your mugshot and record can still come back to haunt you. In Florida, domestic violence charges cannot be sealed or expunged if you plead to the charge. If you were arrested for domestic violence in Palm Beach with no charges, the case can most likely be expunged by a domestic violence defense attorney. Some benefits of having a case sealed and expunged can be:
- Reduced ability for judgment
- Increase the chances of finding safe housing
- Ability to secure employment easier
- Prevents employment promotion issues
Domestic Violence Defense Attorney in West Palm Beach, FL
Being accused of domestic violence is an emotionally stressful situation for all parties involved. If you or a loved one were arrested in Palm Beach County for domestic violence, our experienced defense attorney relies on over 18 years of experience fighting for the rights of individuals accused of domestic violence-related crimes. Contact us or call us at (561) 671-5995 to speak with a domestic violence defense attorney today.
The Law Offices of Matthew Konecky handles domestic violence defense cases in all of Palm Beach County, Palm Beach Gardens, West Palm Beach, Wellington, Boca Raton, Jupiter, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Loxahatchee, Royal Plam Beach, Riviera Beach, Lake Worth, Greenacres and all of Broward County.