Disclosure of a Domestic Violence Center’s Location
Section 39.9057, Fla. Stat., prohibits the disclosure of the location of a certified domestic violence center in Florida. The elements of the crime which must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt include:
- the defendant either disclosed or published, disseminated, or disclosed any descriptive information or image that may identify the location of a domestic violence center;
- the defendant did so maliciously; and
- at the time, the domestic violence center was certified by the Department of Children and Families pursuant to Section 39.905, Florida Statutes.
Attorney for Crimes of Disclosing the Location of a DV Center
If you were accused of unlawfully disclosing the location of a Certified Domestic Violence Center in Florida, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm.
The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm represent clients on a variety of felony and misdemeanor offenses charged under Florida law including crimes of domestic violence. Our main office is located in downtown Tampa, FL. We have a second office in New Port Richey in Pasco County, FL.
During the free consultation, we can help you understand the elements of the offense, the potential penalties, and the best defenses to show that the disclosure was not legally or actually malicious.
Was the Disclosure Malicious?
According to the standard jury instructions found in Chapter 29.27, as of November of 2021, “neither the legislature nor the appellate courts had determined whether the statute requires the state to prove legal malice or actual malice.”
As a result of the lack of legislative or judicial clarification, the trial court must choose between a jury instruction on legal malice or actual malice. For legal malice, the term “maliciously” means intentionally, wrongfully, and without any lawful justification or excuse.
On the other hand, for actual malice, the term “maliciously” is defined as “ill will, hatred, spite, or an evil intent.”
Penalties for Unlawful Disclosure
A first offense of unlawfully disclosing the location of a Certified Domestic Violence Center in Florida prohibited by Section 39.9057 is charged a first degree misdemeanor which is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
A second or subsequent conviction is classified as a third degree felony which is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
According to the standard jury instructions found in Chapter 29.27, as of November of 2021, it was unclear whether the prior conviction required an adjudication of guilt or whether a withhold of adjudication for the prior offense was sufficient.
This article was last updated on Friday, January 21, 2022.