Domestic Violence Battery in Pasco County, FL
Domestic violence charges involve allegations that one member of a family or household perpetrated a crime on another member of the family or household. Although domestic violence is a serious issue, false or exaggerated accusations are all too common.
Law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges have a difficult time distinguishing between actual victims who need immediate assistance leaving an abusive relationship and those who simply want to use the system for their own benefit. When no-tolerance policies replace common sense, families can be destroyed in the process.
For domestic violence battery investigations in West Pasco, the case will be prosecuted at the courthouse in New Port Richey. If the allegations originated in East Pasco, then the case will be prosecuted at the courthouse in Dade City.
Without the proper representation, many people arrested for domestic violence battery are subjected to lengthy probation terms and required to attend the 26-week batterer’s intervention program (BIP) in Pasco County, FL.
The penalties for domestic violence crimes can be increased if bodily harm occurred, a weapon was used, or the crime was committed in the presence of a child. For some types of felony domestic violence crimes, the court is prohibited from withholding the adjudication, unless a statutory exception applies.
Even with a withhold of adjudication, you are not eligible to seal or expunge any felony or misdemeanor domestic violence case.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can represent you at every stage of the case with the goal of getting the charges dropped by the prosecutor or dismissed by the court. On the day the charges are dropped, you can begin the process to expunge the record, if eligible.
Attorneys for Domestic Violence Battery in Pasco County, FL
If you were arrested for any form of domestic violence in Pasco County, FL, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm. Our domestic violence defense attorneys can help you fight the charges aggressively at every stage of the case with the goal of getting an outright dismissal on the merits.
For our clients, entering a plea or diversion program on these types of charges is simply not an option. Another goal in these cases is to make sure that the parties receive counseling so that no other incidents ever occur.
Most of our clients have never been in trouble for anything in their entire life. The alleged victim in the case often doesn’t want to prosecute. When the alleged victim does want the case prosecuted, it is often because of a pending divorce or child custody issues.
Our clients face serious consequences related to their employment or professional license because of this type of allegation. Those consequences often impact the entire family.
In addition to representing our clients against criminal charges for domestic violence, we also represent our clients after a request is made for an injunction or protective order prohibiting domestic violence in Pasco County, FL.
We understand that for many people, the stakes are high after an allegation of violence in an intimate relationship. Our offices are located in New Port Richey, FL, directly across from the West Pasco Judicial Center. We also have offices in Tampa, FL.
Contact us to find out more about the charges pending against you and the best defenses to fight the charges.
Call (813) 250-0500 today.
How Does Florida Define Domestic Violence?
Under Section 741.28, F.S., the term domestic violence is defined to include any criminal offense resulting in any physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member. Domestic violence occurs when a person shows a pattern of behavior to control his or her partner through physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.
Crimes for “domestic violence” in Florida include any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member including:
- aggravated assault
- aggravated battery
- sexual assault
- sexual battery
- aggravated stalking
- false imprisonment
Family or household member means spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married.
Except for individuals who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have resided together in the same single dwelling unit in the past.
Penalties for Domestic Violence Battery in Florida
The statutes for many domestic violence crimes in Florida have minimum mandatory penalties. For instance, for any person convicted of domestic violence, the court must sentence the person to a minimum term of one-year probation with a condition requiring the person to attend a batterer’s intervention program (BIP).
The court must order the defendant to enroll in and complete a 26-week batterer’s intervention BIP program unless it states on the record why BIP participation is inappropriate or determines that the offender does not qualify for a BIP.
Under Section 741.283, Florida law also requires mandatory jail time for offenders who have been adjudicated guilty of domestic violence battery and who intentionally caused bodily harm to another. The penalties are also increased, if, in addition to the previous two factors, the violence was committed in the presence of a related child under 16 years of age.
Under Florida law, a defendant adjudicated guilty, who intentionally committed bodily harm to another person, must serve:
- 10 days in jail for a first offense;
- 15 days in jail for a second offense; or
- 20 days in jail for a third or subsequent offense.
A defendant described above whose violence was committed in the presence of a related child under age 16, must serve:
- 15 days in jail for a first offense;
- 20 days in jail for a second offense; or
- 30 days in jail for a third or subsequent offense.
Types of Domestic Violence Charges in Pasco County, FL
Florida law defines a domestic violence crime as a crime committed by one family or household member by another family or household member. The most common types of domestic violence cases prosecuted in Pasco County, FL, include any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death including:
- Section 784.03(1)(b), F.S., for battery;
- Section 784.03(2), F.S., for felony battery;
- Section 784.041(1), F.S., for felony battery;
- Section 784.041(2), F.S., for felony battery by strangulation;
- Section 784.045, F.S., for aggravated battery;
- Section 784.071, F.S., for assault;
- Section 784.021, F.S., for aggravated assault;
- Section 787.02, F.S., for false imprisonment;
- Section 787.01, F.S., for kidnapping;
- Section 784.048, F.S., for stalking or aggravated stalking;
- Section 794.011, F.S., for sexual assault or sexual battery;
For the purpose of defining domestic violence offenses, Section 741.28, F.S., defines the term “family or household member” is defined to include:
- spouses or former spouses
- persons related by blood or marriage;
- persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family; and
- persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married.
With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have resided together in the same single dwelling unit.
Domestic Violence Diversion Programs in Pasco County, FL
The Pasco State Attorney’s Office Domestic Violence Diversion Program is a deferred prosecution treatment program available to some based upon the approval of the prosecutor. To participate in the program, the defendant must pay processing fees for processing, and attend weekly group treatment sessions.
If the program is completed within the allotted time, then the charges will be dismissed. The problem with the diversion program for domestic violence in Pasco County, FL, is that it requires the participant to complete a 26-week batterer’s intervention program.
BIP in Pasco County is designed to address tactics of power and control by one person over another and require the offender to take responsibility. In many cases, an attorney can help you find private counseling options that are much more effective if you actually need counseling.
Read more about the pros and cons of entering the Domestic Violence Deferred Prosecution Program (DVP) in Pasco County, FL.
First Appearance Hearings for Domestic Violence in Pasco County
After a domestic violence arrest, you will not be permitted to bond out of jail immediately. Instead, you will be required to attend a “first appearance hearing” even if you are only charged with a misdemeanor for domestic violence battery.
The first appearance hearing is held the next morning after the arrest at the courthouse in New Port Richey or Dade City, FL. At the hearing, the judge will determine whether there was probable cause for the arrest. If so, the court will set a bond based on the seriousness of the accusation, any past criminal history, and the defendant’s ties to the community.
The court will issue a standard “no contact” order unless the alleged victim comes to court to ask for contact. If you retain a criminal defense attorney, the attorney can appear on your behalf at the first appearance hearing to argue for the lowest bond amount and most favorable pre-trial release conditions.
Although the person accused of domestic violence might eventually be offered a diversion program in Pasco County, FL, the best result is getting the case dismissed on the merits.
Bond Schedule for Domestic Violence Cases in Pasco County, FL
For any domestic violence-related misdemeanor charge, the uniform bond schedule sets the low bond at ROR, the high bond at $5,000, or the recommended bond at $2,500, but only at or after the first appearance hearing.
For any simple battery that is charged as a 1st Degree Misdemeanor, the uniform bond schedule in Pasco County sets the low bond at $250 the high bond at $1,000, and the recommended bond at $500.
For any battery that is a third-degree felony, the uniform bond schedule in Pasco County sets the low bond at $1,000, the high bond at $5,000, and the recommended bond at $2,500.
What Happens After the Arraignment in a DV Case?
After an arrest for domestic violence, the next court date will be scheduled within a few weeks of the arraignment. If you retain a criminal defense attorney, a waiver of arraignment and a “not guilty” plea will be entered in your case.
Your attorney will also demand a copy of the police reports and other evidence that the prosecutor intends to use against you including 911 calls, surveillance videos, or written statements.
After the arraignment, a status or disposition court date will be scheduled every few weeks. After discovery has been completed, the case might be set for motion hearings and a jury trial.
Pasco Sheriff’s Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative
The Pasco Sheriff’s Office takes a “zero-tolerance approach” to family violence. As a result, deputies with the Pasco Sheriff’s Office are trained that if they find probable cause that a domestic-related offense has occurred, then the deputy must arrest the offender.
The Pasco Sheriff’s Office will consider complaints from any credible source. As a result, if a third party witnessed the act, even if the alleged victim denied that it occurred, the deputy might still make the arrest.
The alleged victim is told that a NO-CONTACT ORDER prohibits the offender from making contact with the victim in any way. Any further incidents of domestic violence involving the alleged victim will be documented and investigated.
The Pasco Sheriff’s Office Intimate Violence Enhanced Service Team reviews all domestic-related offenses daily.
Alleged Victims of Domestic Violence in Pasco County, FL
The alleged victim in a domestic violence case pending in Pasco County, FL, might receive a form letter from the State Attorney’s Office for the Sixth Judicial Circuit.
These form letters to the alleged victim of domestic violence in Pasco County are often signed by Bryan Does, Assistant State Attorney for Bruce Bartlett, State Attorney, Sixth Judicial Circuit of Florida. The form letter might provide:
Dear [name of alleged victim],
The State Attorney’s Office has conducted an investigation into an incident of domestic violence involving the above-referenced individual. You are listed as the victim of that domestic violence incident. This letter is to advise you that criminal charges have been filed by this office.
Pursuant to the pro-prosecution policy established by Florida Statute 741.2901, the prosecutor for the State Attorney’s Office will not drop the charge even at the victim’s request.
We will continue to notify you at every stage of the criminal justice process while the case is pending. You may attend those hearings, or you may contact the State Attorney’s Office to let the prosecutor know your opinion regarding an appropriate sentence in the case. Your input is very important so that a fair and just recommendation is made to the Court.
Please read the domestic violence literature previously provided by law enforcement in hopes of reducing some of the concerns or questions you may have at this time. The Domestic Violence Centers in Pasco County include:
- Dade City – Sunrise Shelter – Phone number: (352) 521-3120
- New Port Richey – Salvation Army Domestic Violence Center – Phone number: (727)856-5797
The State Attorney’s Office and Domestic Violence Centers are here to help you. Remember, THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.
Under Florida law, any domestic violence victim may request in writing that information which reveals his or her home or employment telephone number, home address, or personal assets is exempt from s. 119.07(1), F.S., and s. 24(a), Art. 1 of the Florida Constitution, although the request must include official verification that an applicable crime has occurred.
Section 119.071(2)(j), F.S., provides that the custodians of records designated as “exempt” are not prohibited from disclosing the record. Instead, the exemption means that the custodian cannot be compelled to disclose the record. See Williams v. City of Minneola, 575 So. 2d 683, 687 (Fla. 5th DCA 1991).
Domestic Violence in Pasco County, FL – Visit the website of the Pasco Sheriff to find information on the Auxiliary Aids Plan. Domestic violence cases in Pasco County, FL, are often investigated by the Intimate Violence Enhanced Services Team. InVEST includes both detectives and domestic violence shelter advocates who work together to help victims of domestic and dating violence. The sheriff’s office provides services to survivors of intimate partner violence and monitors offenders.
Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center in Pasco – Sunrise recently opened an office in New Port Richey to provide services in West Pasco for the victims of domestic and sexual assault. Sunrise provides counseling, support groups, and help with filing injunctions for protection.
Florida Courts on Domestic Violence – Find information from the Florida Institute on Interpersonal Violence for the alleged victim, petitioner, accused, respondent, judges, legal professionals, or court staff.
Pasco Sheriff’s Facebook Page with Domestic Violence Mugshots – Read an article from the Tampa Bay Times, published on February 16, 2018, that explains why Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco is posting mug shots of those accused of domestic violence on the department’s Facebook page after an arrest. In many cases, the person is never even formally charged with the crime but the sheriff’s office won’t take the mug shot down. The article explains why using online “town square” humiliation tactics might keep people from reporting crimes.
State Attorney on Domestic Violence Prosecutions – Visit the website of the State Attorney for the Sixth Judicial Circuit to learn more about domestic violence prosecutions in Pasco County, FL, at the New Port Richey and Dade City courthouse. Find definitions for domestic violence, why charges are filed, whether the alleged victim will have to testify, and whether the alleged victim can “drop charges.”
Court Resources for Domestic Violence in Florida – Visit the website of the Florida Courts for the State Court Administrators to find resources and services in domestic violence cases including information on how to file petitions for an injunction for protection from stalking, repeat violence, dating violence, sexual violence, and domestic violence.
Finding a Lawyer for Domestic Violence in Pasco
If you were accused of interpersonal violence for assault or battery, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm.
With offices conveniently located in New Port Richey, across from the West Pasco Judicial Center, we are here to help. Contact us to find what needs to be done prior to your first appearance and at every stage of the case.
We fight allegations of violence within a family relationship seriously and with the goal of getting an outright dismissal.
Call us at (813) 250-0500 to discuss your case today.
This article was last updated on Monday, March 28, 2022.