Domestic Violence: It’s not always what you think, especially during coronavirus quarantine
When someone hears about a Domestic Violence case or charges, they’re typically quick to assume something serious, aggressive and likely violent took place.
While we do not take Domestic Violence situations lightly here at Rossen Law Firm, you may be surprised to learn that domestic violence isn’t always what you think. And the consequences are likely far steeper than you would imagine.
Sometimes, a simple family squabble can turn into a domestic violence-related arrest. This type of scenario might be even more common during the coronavirus quarantine. First, we want to share a quick story from a South Florida Domestic Violence Survivor who experienced domestic violence during the pandemic; and then we'll share a story from one of our own clients that illustrates how a family squabble could become a domestic violence charge.
South Florida Domestic Violence Survivor Says Help Available during Coronavirus Pandemic
During the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, South Florida Police say Domestic Violence calls have been increasing, according to NBC 6. Police want people and victims to know that there is always help available.
A South Florida woman who was a victim of domestic violence during the coronavirus pandemic shared her story with NBC 6. Marie said she dealt with fights, restraining orders, and stalking behaviors. At one point, her abuser even attempted to kill her and stabbed her 8 times at her home in Hialeah, Florida.
Because more people are at home, more people have lost jobs and those with children are doing remote learning, tensions have risen, explained Hialeah Police Department's Special Victims Unit Sergeant July Fernandez. "I want to assure every victim that we are here for you," she added.
No matter who you are, male or female, South Florida police and victim resources are available to you - even during the pandemic.
Marie said that getting out of domestic violence in South Florida can be hard, but she wants people to know there is a way out - it is possible.
She says you have to really want to get out - unfortunately for her, she said, she didn't understand how much she had to "want" to get out until something really serious happened and she knew she needed to get help.
If you don't know what to do, or who to call, you can always call 911, your local police department, or the Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) to get help on next steps and what you can do to be safe and get access to resources.
Here is a domestic violence scenario based on a true event:
After being locked inside for more than a week, bored from no school or friends, your teenage son has been spending way too much time on screens.
As his father, you tell him you’re going to take away his iPad and cell phone for the afternoon. Out of anger, your son yells and tackles you to the ground. While not ideal, it’s not that a big deal. You get up, leave his room, and go elsewhere in the house.
You don’t know it, but a neighbor heard yelling and called the police. Soon, you hear a knock on the door. It’s the city police department. They inform you they were called to your house due to reports of a domestic disturbance.
Thinking it’s nothing, you chat with the officers a bit.
When talking with the son and the father, the cops find out that the son had wrestled his father when his electronics were taken away.
Due to the physical contact made, the cops arrested the son and charged him with a domestic-related simple battery charge. They transported the son to the city police department for processing.
Suddenly, a family squabble has turned into your son being arrested and charged with a misdemeanor. After being processed at the police department, the officers take your son to the county jail.
Not exactly what you might picture when you hear “domestic violence,” is it?
What is Domestic Violence in Florida?
In Florida, the law defines domestic violence as any criminal offenses resulting in the unlawful touching, physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member. It also includes individuals in a “dating relationship.”
When emotions run high, it’s often easier to do and say things that we don’t mean. Especially for those of you with full houses during this season of quarantine -- we get it, it’s hard to keep the peace with everyone all the time.
Sometimes situations seem to escalate or get out of control in the blink of an eye. Sometimes, calling the police is absolutely the best thing to do -- if you are being injured or are in danger, don’t hesitate to call 911 (in Broward County, you can even text 911 if you feel you need to be quiet). There are other times, however, where you may call the police in the heat of the moment - not realizing that once they come to your home, most likely, they’re not leaving alone.
Sometimes, you’re not even the one to call 911, and a neighbor or someone else makes the call without you knowing.
Domestic Violence charge consequences in Florida?
In Florida, domestic violence charges can have devastating impacts on your freedom, job, family and your future.
Criminal charges, even from a minor family squabble, can range from misdemeanors like assault or battery, up to serious felonies such as aggravated assault, aggravated battery, felony battery by strangulation, false imprisonment or kidnapping.
Criminal charges from domestic violence situations can have penalties anywhere from 60 days to 1 year in jail for a misdemeanor, and anywhere from 5 years to life in prison for a felony. Other consequences can include no contact orders, losing custody of your children, losing your job and having a criminal charge on your record for the rest of your life.
Why you need a South Florida Domestic Violence Lawyer
Regardless of what led to your charge, you need and deserve to have your rights protected. Rossen Law Firm’s skilled domestic violence attorneys are here to help protect your legal rights to get you through this difficult situation.
Whether you are a victim of Domestic Violence, or charged with a domestic-violence-related criminal charge, it’s important to hire a domestic violence attorney immediately. Domestic violence is taken very seriously in both criminal and civil courts in Florida, and it’s important to have someone who understands the system and the consequences guiding you through the process to help you get the outcome you want and need. Even in the event that someone wants a restraining order put in place, the process is much more complicated than you may assume. To ensure that the court will help keep you safe, you need an attorney who intimately understands the process to guide your restraining order application through the court system.
Give our office a call to learn about how we can connect - yes, even with the quarantines and stay-at-home orders swarming around Florida - and schedule a free strategy session to discuss your case and the best way to move forward.
To learn more about Domestic Violence charges and how Rossen Law Firm can help, download our free domestic violence report.