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Domestic Violence in Pasco County, FL

Many people are shocked by the way domestic violence accusations are treated in Pasco County, FL. No tolerance policies and harsh penalties often replace common sense. Families can be destroyed in process.

For domestic violence investigations in West Pasco, the case will be prosecuted at the courthouse in New Port Richey. If the allegations come from East Pasco, then the case will be prosecuted at the courthouse in Dade City.

Domestic violence crimes involve an allegation that one member of a family or household perpetrated a crime on another member of the family or household. These crimes are subject to mandatory probation terms and requirements, including the requirement to attend a batterer’s intervention program (BIP).

The 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.

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.

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.

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.

For our clients, entering a plea or diversion program on these types of charges is simply not an option.

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.

Another goal in these cases is making 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. 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.


First Appearance for Domestic Violence in Pasco County, FL

After an 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.

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.


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 physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.

The most common crimes of domestic violence in Florida involve charges of assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, or 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

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 when the offense is committed on 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 such as:

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.


Criminal Penalties for Domestic Violence Offenses

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 BIP, unless it states on the record why BIP participation is inappropriate or determines that the offender does not qualify for a BIP.


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 batterers intervention program.

In many cases, an attorney can help you find private counseling options that are much more effective if you actually need counseling.


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 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 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.


Statistics on Domestic Violence in Pasco County, FL

Florida’s county and jurisdictional reported domestic violence offenses in 2017.

Total in Pasco County 505,709 1 0 76 25 369 2 3,678 11 27 4,189
 Agency  Pop.  Murder  Man-slaughter  Rape Fondl-ing  Agg

Assault

Agg

Stalking

Assault  Threat  Stalk-ing  Total
Sheriff’s Office 464,442 1 0 72 24 310 0 3,341 11 21 3,780
Dade City PD 7,233 0 0 2 1 9 0 41 0 1 54
NPR PD 15,764 0 0 1 0 30 2 146 0 0 179
Zephyrhills PD 15,571 0 0 0 0 14 0 118 0 5 137
Port Richey PD 2,699 0 0 1 0 2 0 28 0 0 31
Pasco DOC IG 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
FWC – Pasco 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
FHP – Pasco Co 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 4 0 0 8

Additional Resources

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 the crime.

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.”


Finding a Lawyer for Domestic Violence in Pasco

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.

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 these cases aggressively 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 Thursday, November 7, 2019.

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