Not Entitled to a Bond Until You Appear Before a Judge
Once arrested, unlike most other crimes, you will not be able to post a bond and get out of jail until you appear before a judge. You will remain in jail until you have your "first appearance" hearing which occurs within 24 hours of your arrest, Often times, as a condition of bond, you are not allowed to have contact with the alleged victim or their place of residence, even if the arrested person owns the residence.
The State Attorney's Office Makes the Decision Whether to Prosecute
The State Attorney's Office makes the decision whether to prosecute a case in every instance. However, under most circumstances other than a domestic violence case, if the victim doesn't want the State to prosecute then usually that case is dropped. That is usually NOT the case when it comes to prosecuting domestic violence cases. If the alleged victim does not want the case prosecuted, or is actually refusing to cooperate with the prosecution; if the State Attorney believes there is sufficient evidence to proceed, they will do so.
Cannot Seal or Expunge a Domestic Violence Case Resolved with a Guilty or No Contest Plea
Like just about everything else involving domestic violence cases, entering a plea to any charge labeled as "domestic violence" carries potentially serious consequences down the road. These consequences may not be readily apparent at the time of the plea. Under Florida Law, any disposition of a domestic violence case which involves a guilty or no contest plea, even if adjudication is withheld, CANNOT be sealed or expunged. This type of arrest or charge can seriously impact someone looking for employment or for those looking to advance in their current employment.
Stringent Probation Requirements
If you change your plea to an offense involving domestic violence, Florida Law requires that the offender successfully enter into and complete of family violence counseling which usually takes six months to complete. Your sentence may also include provisions such as no contact with the victim, alcohol evaluation and treatment, psychological evaluation and treatment, and restitution.
Jail or Prison
Some instances, depending on the facts alleged or the prior record of the arrested person, may lead to increased jail time or enhanced penalties. For example, If a person is convicted of Domestic Violence with Bodily Harm you they facing a minimum of 5 days in the county jail. Another example is If a person is convicted of Aggravated Domestic Battery, even without any prior criminal record, they are facing a mandatory state prison sentence under the State Criminal Punishment Code and possibly as much as 15 years in prison.
Prior Misdemeanor Domestic Battery Convictions Can Be Used to Enhance a Charge to a Felony
Florida Law states that if a person has a previous conviction for domestic battery, even if there was a withhold of adjudication, a subsequent conviction for an act of domestic battery can be charged as a felony with a maximum penalty of up to 5 years in prison.
Impact on Divorce and Custody Cases
An arrest or conviction for domestic violence can be used to your detriment in a subsequent or pending divorce matter with the alleged victim especially if there are children in the home and they have witnessed the alleged acts of domestic violence.
Impact on the Ownership, Use, or Possession of Firearms
o Florida Law requires the suspension of your concealed weapons permit if you are arrested for an act of domestic violence.
o FEDERAL LAW prohibits a person convicted of an act of domestic violence from using, owning or possessing a firearm.
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