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Florida lawmakers have established harsh penalties for defendants who have been convicted of domestic violence crimes. Prosecutors take these cases extremely seriously, and most state’s attorney’s offices have special divisions dedicated to pursuing domestic violence cases even when the evidence of guilt is weak. As a result, defendants in domestic violence cases are often treated unfairly and exposed to punishments that are not in line with the facts of the case. If you have been charged or are being investigated for any domestic violence crime it is extremely important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Do not assume that the state will simply drop a case because the victim does not want to prosecute, as this is rarely how it works. In addition, never speak to law enforcement without a lawyer present, as police have a tendency to twist words around to make innocent statements look like admissions of guilt. Benjamin Herbst is a South Florida domestic violence lawyer who has successfully defended hundreds of clients in criminal charges related to a spouse, partner or other household member. He understands the complex nature of domestic violence cases, and has the skill and experience to fight for the best possible result. Benjamin is available anytime for a free consultation at (954) 543-0305 and has flexible office hours at his West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale office locations. He represents clients facing domestic violence charges in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County, and is also an experienced Treasure Coast criminal defense lawyer for defendants in Martin and St. Lucie County.
Under Florida law domestic violence is defined as assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment or any other criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death to a family or household member. A family or household member could mean a spouse, former spouse, relative by blood or marriage, or anyone else that lives in the same house or apartment. Parents with a child in common are also considered family members regardless of whether they have lived together in the past. Once a charge is marked as a domestic violence crime under Florida statute 741.28 there may be enhanced penalties for any defendant who is convicted. If a defendant is found guilty of a domestic violence crime and the victim suffered bodily injury the judge must impose a jail sentence of at least 10 days for a first offense, 15 days for a second offense and 20 days for a third offense. The mandatory jail time increases if the alleged crime took place in the presence of a minor under the age of 16. The mandatory jail term can (and almost always will) be followed by probation, community control or additional incarceration. Defendants who receive a withhold of adjudication are not subject to mandatory jail sentences.
There are a variety of defenses available in domestic violence cases, and a skilled lawyer will be able to thoroughly go over the case to determine which of these defenses is best to argue. Unfortunately, there are far too many domestic violence cases that are initiated by current or former spouses/partners who want to use the court system as a power play. Benjamin will expose this bias on cross examination, and the jury will see right through any alleged victim who attempts to misuse the justice system. There are also numerous domestic violence cases where witnesses have changed their stories, and other cases where there is a glaring lack of physical evidence. Benjamin will argue for an immediate dismissal of these cases, and is never afraid to take a case to jury trial if that is the best option. He does whatever it takes to make sure his clients are kept out of jail and their records are kept clean. He also provides his cell phone to all clients and is never too busy to speak about the case on nights or weekends. Benjamin Herbst is a South Florida criminal defense lawyer who specializes in domestic violence cases and is standing by to offer a free consultation anytime at (954) 543-0305.