The State Attorney’s Office
Florida statutes require that all crimes of domestic violence be prosecuted by a specialized unit within any given state attorney’s office. These units do nothing but train for and prosecute crimes of domestic violence. Therefore, if you are charged with a crime of domestic violence, you will not be prosecuted by a run of the mill Assistant State Attorney, but will instead be prosecuted by an attorney who specializes in all aspects of domestic violence crimes. Such ASA’s are well trained and extremely eager to prosecute defendants they see as domestic batterers. Therefore, it is particularly important that you have an advocate who equally understands the unique laws of domestic violence in Florida and can zealously and effectively advocate on your behalf.
If a victim of domestic violence had an injunction or restraining order in place against the defendant, the state may prosecute a violation of the order as a first degree misdemeanor. A conviction for a first degree misdemeanor may result in a sentence of imprisonment for up to one year.
Each of Florida’s State Attorney’s Offices run and control their own diversion program and have various criteria for entrance and successful completion of these programs. However, most usually require a defendant to have little to no prior contact with the criminal justice system and a victim’s approval before such a program is offered to a defendant. In addition, many State Attorney’s Offices require there have been no severe injury involved in the charged crime. Once enrolled in such a program, most defendants charged with a domestic violence crime are required to successfully complete a batterer intervention program consisting of 26 weeks of classes, in addition to the imposition of a criminal stay away order requiring a defendant to stay at least 500 feet away from a victim and their residence.
Having an attorney who is aware of these programs, is aware of the criteria for entrance into these programs, how these programs work and can convince the State Attorney’s Office to offer such a program to their client is of critical importance. Call us and ask about these programs and their application to your specific case and location.