Broward Judge Orders Date and Counseling For Domestic Violence Incident

A Fort Lauderdale judge made a rational decision recently when he ordered a man who was facing domestic violence charges to take his wife on a date and get counseling, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

It was a refreshing sight for Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys to see a judge make a decision that could help a person and not throw the book at someone, which is too often the case. While some cases of domestic violence in Fort Lauderdale can be serious allegations, sometimes minor spats lead to arrests and major penalties can flip a person’s life upside down.
Domestic violence incidents are treated seriously by police and can lead to misdemeanor as well as felony charges, depending on the circumstances. When police are called to a house for an incident, they are likely to leave with a person in handcuffs. That’s just the way it is.

But an arrest isn’t a conviction and there are defenses. The credibility of the accuser and alleged victim may come into play. And the observations of the police officers who arrive at the scene are going to be important, as well.

But in many of these cases, there are few or no witnesses, other than a neighbor saying they heard arguing. Sometimes, the state can have trouble proving the charges beyond all reasonable doubt. In other situations, the alleged victim realizes they don’t want to press charges and won’t cooperate.

In this case, a man got in trouble for not wishing his wife a happy birthday and that led to a domestic violence incident, the Sun-Sentinel is reporting. When the man appeared before the court, a judge made a strange ruling.

The judge ordered the man to take his wife out to dinner — Red Lobster — and go bowling. They will also have to undergo counseling. The judge said he wouldn’t have made such a light ruling if the case was more serious or if the woman had been injured or appeared in danger of being harmed.

The man allegedly pushed the woman against a couch, grabbed her neck and held up a fist, but never struck his wife. The man had no prior criminal history and the judge then asked where the woman would like to go. After saying she liked Red Lobster and bowling, the judge ordered both, along with a birthday card and flowers.

While it’s rare that a judge will make such a ruling, it’s refreshing to know that judges are looking at each case on its merits and not just scanning through cases as they go. It’s the job of an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney to show the judge why this case stands out as different from the rest.

Many times, a lawyer can do that, but the judge won’t listen. It may be possible, once the case gets past first appearance and is assigned to a judge who will preside over the case full-time, arguments can be presented that will lessen the charges, reduce bond or get the charges dropped altogether. There are scores of motions that lawyers can make in these types of situations. Domestic violence charges can be serious and they can do serious damage to a person’s reputation. That’s why they must be scrutinized and defended aggressively.

If you are arrested in Fort Lauderdale or elsewhere in South Florida, contact Leifert & Leifert at 954-523-9600 or 561-988-8000 for a free consultation.

More Blog Entries:

West Palm Beach Man Arrested For Alleged Feces Battery on Girlfriend: January 6, 2012
Additional Resources:

Flowers, dinner, bowling — and counseling — ordered by Broward judge in domestic case, by Danielle A. Alvarez, Sun Sentinel

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