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What to Do When Charged with Domestic Violence

Posted by attorney Jay Rooth

When the police are called on a domestic related offense, someone is going to get arrested. Gone are the days of spending the night at a friend’s house or sleeping it off at a hotel. Many times victims do not want an arrest to be made or even to press charges. Police and prosecutors will tell you that it is up to the state, and this is exactly why you need an attorney to get involved.

If you have been accused of domestic violence (, there are some basic guidelines as to how you should interact with your accuser and the police. It is almost always best to remain silent and contact an attorney as soon as possible.

Domestic violence is defined 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 of one family or household member by another by another family or household member.

When the Police Arrive

When the police receive a domestic violence call in Orlando, Orange County, or really anywhere in Florida they will always arrest one of the parties, after examining the evidence. Keep the following in mind when dealing with the police:

  • Telling the police anything about what happened can and will be used against you in court. You are not legally required to tell the police anything other than to confirm your identity. Don’t let the police con or bully you into saying something you’ll regret.
  • Be polite to the police. Angering or insulting the police will not help your case. You don’t want any reason for the court to look on you unfavorably.

When in Custody

  • Do not make or sign any written statement. Do not attempt to make a deal with the police as they have no authority to do so.
  • Do not say anything on a jail phone that could incriminate you. If you use a phone while in jail, know that what you say is not private. Don’t call your accuser from jail; it could be construed as stalking.
  • Cooperate with the guards and other inmates. If you cause problems, the judge will likely hear about it.

You will not be released from jail until you have seen a judge. The judge will set the bond and set certain conditions of release. These conditions of release include, but are not limited to, not contacting the victim, not returning to your home, and not possessing any weapons. Do not violate the conditions. Violating an injunction, restraining order (, ordered condition or contacting the victim could cause your bond to be revoked and you will be sent back to jail. Once released an attorney may be able to modify any and all of the conditions of release set by the initial judge.

After Release

  • Contact an attorney immediately. An experienced Florida criminal defense attorney may be able to get the terms of your release modified and will be an advocate for you when speaking with the prosecutor who is making the decision on whether or not to file charges.

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