Arrested for domestic violence and now I can't go home!
Updated: Mar 9, 2021
Florida has some tough situations when dealing with law enforcement, but few are as frustrating for the public as the large number of domestic violence arrests. Most start out with a simple argument between spouses, children, cousins, in-laws, baby-parents, etc. In the best of cases, it may be a simple push, in the worst of cases, well, it can get much worse. That being said, not every domestic violence call is the result of serious or even moderate injury. Often, one person just calls the police because they are scared violence may take place (or get worse).
The police are not your parents
Remember when you were a kid and you'd get into an argument with someone and when they didn't do what you said, you would yell "I'm telling Mom and Dad!" Maybe you wanted to get them into trouble, maybe you wanted to force them to do what you wanted, or maybe you were protecting yourself from harm? This is what sometimes happens with loved ones that call the police. Now, I am in no way trying to discourage anyone from calling law enforcement for help when they are in legitimate fear of harm. But, be aware that a police officer's job is to enforce the law, not to do what you want them to do. Many times when police show up to a domestic violence call, someone is getting arrested whether the alleged victim wants it to happen or not.
But I don't want to press charges
There is no such thing as an alleged victim "pressing charges" in the real world, that's only in TV and movies. It is a crime to touch someone against their will or to intentionally cause injury, no matter how small that injury. Sometimes law enforcement will ask the incorrect question about whether the alleged victim wants to "press charges," but they should never do that. It is the State of Florida that will be filing charges against the arrested individual. The alleged victim is a witness that can be subpoenaed by the State Attorney to testify against their will just like any other witness. It is true that the prosecutor will listen when the alleged victim says "Please don't prosecute my loved one" or "I don't want to testify." They may even re-evaluate the strength of their case and could dismiss the charges. If this sounds like you, just call up the State Attorney's Office in the Florida county your loved one was arrested and tell them what you would like to see happen with the case.
No contact for you, Do not go home. This ankle monitor is uncomfortable.
Once your loved one is arrested, the normal procedure is that they will see a Judge within 24 hours at First Appearance. For domestic violence arrests, there is no bond available until First Appearance. It is very important for the alleged victim to attend First Appearance (usually the next morning) and tell the Judge whether you want contact and if you want the arrestee to return home because you are not afraid of them. The standard practice in most Florida counties is for a Judge to order the arrestee to have no contact with the alleged victim as a condition of their release. The Judge will typically also order the arrestee not to return to the location of the incident, commonly their home. Since an arrest is usually unexpected, these orders create major disruptions in the arrestees life. One day you're at home, the next you are living in a motel with none of your possessions and you can't contact your family for weeks, sometimes months. In fact, some Florida counties will also require a GPS ankle monitor which is expensive for the arrestee and often malfunction. If the alleged victim doesn't show up to First Appearance, those standard conditions will be applied. The conditions of release may be modified in the future by the Judge who will be presiding over the case, but that requires a motion and hearing and can take a while to schedule (plus the Judge may say no).
Domestic Violence cases can be a complicated and traumatic experience that can be made easier by hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney. Seth Hyman Law ( https://www.sethhymanlaw.com ) exclusively provides legal assistance in criminal, DUI, and driving offense cases throughout Central Florida. Additionally, we specialize in Domestic Violence crimes. Call 407-274-7501 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.