A Lake Worth criminal defense attorney should always be called to handle domestic violence allegations. More than many other crimes, a domestic violence conviction can have a long-term impact on your quality of life, your ability to earn a living and your visitation rights with children. Unfortunately, because it is often charged as a misdemeanor, defendants too often fail to adequately defend themselves against the allegations.
A conviction may prevent you from owning a firearm or being employed in certain professions, such as law enforcement. Restraining orders may prevent you from returning home or visiting your children. And mere allegations can impact your relationship with friends, relatives and co-workers. Unfortunately, false allegations are not at all uncommon, particularly during divorce or child custody proceedings, or during a breakup with a former spouse or partner.
Cases in which the Department of Children and Family Services gets involved may be particularly problematic. The agency is chronically underfunded and understaffed; turnover in some offices exceeds 50 percent a year; and the bureaucracy can be difficult or impossible to rid yourself of once a case is opened. Having an experienced attorney will also help protect your rights when dealing with the state.
The 40-year-old defendant was jailed on $145,000 bond on charges of domestic battery, violating a domestic violence injunction and child abuse. He was arrested after his 37-year-old ex-wife called police and told them the defendant had punched her and her son during an altercation. The couple has been divorced for almost 20 years but had been dating for the last 18 months.
Domestic violence may encompass charges like assault, aggravated assault, sexual assault, stalking, kidnapping or false imprisonment and may involve a spouse, former spouse or family member.
Penalties for conviction may include mandatory jail time, no contact orders with a spouse or your children, loss of access to your residence, fines and court costs, mandatory anger management classes and a permanent criminal record. A conviction may also impact pending divorce or child custody cases. And, as discussed, you may be prevented from owning a firearm or working in certain professions.