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Domestic Violence in St. Petersburg

What happens after an arrest for domestic violence in St. Peterburg, FL?

Most allegations of domestic violence in St. Petersburg, FL, involve investigations by the St. Petersburg Police Department. These cases are prosecuted in the courtrooms in the Criminal Justice Center in Clearwater, FL.

The State Attorney’s Office for the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Pinellas County, FL, employs victim advocates, criminal investigators, and specially trained attorneys. The members of the Pinellas State Attorney Domestic Violence Division work hard to prosecute misdemeanor domestic violence cases.

With all of these resources working against you, hire an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are accused of domestic violence. For our clients, entering a plea is simply not an option.

The best result is getting the charges dropped so that you become eligible to expunge the arrest record and mug shot.

Attorneys for Domestic Violence in St. Petersburg, FL

The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm represent both men, women, and juveniles accused of this serious crime.

Our criminal defense attorneys understand the special procedures that officers with the St. Petersburg Police Department must follow when investigating these serious crimes.

We also understand how to defend clients against false or exaggerated charges of domestic violence including assault, battery, stalking, false imprisonment, or violation of a no-contact order or injunction for protection.

Domestic violence accusations in Pinellas County, FL, often involve claims of self-defense if you used force against an aggressor when, to the extent it appears, and it is reasonable to believe, such conduct is necessary to defend yourself or another against such aggressor’s imminent use of unlawful physical force.

Don’t face the judge alone.

Call 813-250-0500.


Preferred Arrest Policy for Domestic Violence in St. Petersburg, FL

In April of 2016, the St. Petersburg Police Department released Domestic Violence Order V.5:18.

The purpose of the domestic violence order is to create standard operating procedures for law enforcement officers tasked with responding to incidents of domestic or dating violence “with the intent of protecting victims and reducing the potential for future conflict.”

Officers at the St. Petersburg Police Department are required to follow the policy of Preferred Arrest whenever probable cause exists for a lawful arrest.

The order references Florida Statute Section 741.29(2) which requires officers to follow the arrest policy provided in Section 901.15(7). Under this statute, even when an arrest is not made, the officer must make a written police report that “is complete and clearly indicates the alleged offense was an incident of domestic violence.”

The police report must be submitted to the officer’s supervisor and filed with the law enforcement agency so that the data on domestic violence incidents can be compiled. 

The statute requires law enforcement officers to obtain a written statement from the victim of the domestic violence incident or any witnesses whenever possible.

Under the so-called Preferred Arrest Policy, contained in 741.29(3), “whenever a law enforcement officer determines upon probable cause that an act of domestic violence has been committed within the jurisdiction the officer may arrest the person or persons suspected of its commission and charge such person or persons with the appropriate crime.” 

The statute specifically requires that the “decision to arrest and charge shall not require the consent of the victim or consideration of the relationship of the parties.”

Section 901.15(7) provides that “[i]t is the public policy of this state to strongly discourage arrest and charges of both parties for domestic or dating violence on each other…” Instead, the officer must attempt to determine which party to the incident was the “primary aggressor.”

In some cases, the alleged victim (sometimes called the “complainant”) will not want the other person arrested or will decide after the arrest that the charges should be dropped.


Definitions for Domestic Violence Investigations in St. Petersburg, FL

The domestic violence order V.5:18 in Section III, explains the definitions of phrases commonly used in these cases including:

  • dating violence is defined as “[v]iolence between individuals who have, or have had, a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the consideration of the following factors:
    • The frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship must have included that the persons have been involved over time and on a continuous basis during the course of the relationship.
    • The nature of the relationship must have been characterized by the expectation of affection or sexual involvement between the parties.
    • A dating relationship must have existed within the past six (6) months.
  • domestic violence is defined to include any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another who is, or was, residing in the same single dwelling unit including sexual assault, kidnapping, false imprisonment, stalking, battery or assault.
  • domestic quarrel is defined as “any dispute between family/household members where the police have been called to the scene, even though no crime has occurred.”

Injunctions for Protection Against Domestic Violence in St. Petersburg, FL

An Ex Parte Temporary Injunction is an injunction (by or for one party which…) shall be effective for a fixed period not to exceed 15 days unless the Court grants a continuance as explained in Section 784.046(6)(c), F.S.S.

After an arrest for domestic violence, the alleged victim might go to the courthouse to file a petition asking for a civil domestic violence injunction for protection to help prevent any future acts of domestic violence.

Read more about injunctions for protection from violence in Pinellas County, FL.


Additional Resources

Domestic Violence Center for Pinellas County – CASA is the official domestic violence center for Pinellas County. For more than 40 years, its mission has been providing services to women, children, and men living with domestic violence through intervention, prevention, and advocacy. CASA’s 24 hour domestic violence hotline is 727-895-4912 or use CASA’s texting hotline located at www.casa-stpete.org/chat.


This article was last updated on Friday, September 17, 2021.

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