A Domestic Battery occurs when there is an “intentionally touching or striking of another person against the will of the other” and that person is a “family or household member” which can include persons residing together including boyfriends and girlfriends.
There are immediate consequences of being arrested for Domestic Battery in Pinellas County - here are the top 7:
#1 - Staying the night (or more) in Jail
Florida law requires that a person arrested on a Domestic Battery charge be seen in front of a Judge for an Advisory Hearing before being released as opposed to just being able to pay a bond and somewhat immediately being released. The Advisory hearing must by law occur within 24 hours, however depending on the time you are booked at the jail you could end up spending more than 24 hours in jail before seeing a Judge and even longer before being released.
#2 - No Contact with the Alleged Victim
In almost all cases, the Judge will order No Contact with the victim in the case. This typically means no contact of any type including direct in-person contact, over the phone, via voicemail, via text, via social media, and even indirect contact through a third party (for example telling a friend to pass a message to the alleged victim).
The good news: An attorney may be able to get the No Contact Order lifted or modified.
#3 - Not being able to live at your Residence
Directly related to the No Contact Order above is the fact that if No Contact is ordered with the victim in the case, and you lived with the victim before the arrest you will no longer be allowed to live at the shared residence. The Court will not care if you do not have any other place to live, nor will it be taken into consideration that you may have children or pets at the residence that you are responsible for. Of all the consequences of a domestic battery arrest, this often poses the largest problem for those arrested both logistically and financially.
The good news: An attorney may be able to get the No Contact Order lifted or modified and get you back to your residence.
#3 - Not being allowed to leave the County
Oftentimes, the Judge will release an arrestee on Supervised Release On Own Recognizance or “SROR.” This means that you do not have to pay a monetary bond to be released, but it also means that you must follow the rules of Supervised Release On Own Recognizance that include not being allowed to leave the County.
The good news: An attorney may be able to get permission for you to travel for work or other purposes.
#4 - Having to wear an GPS ankle monitor
The Judge can order that upon release that the defendant be fitted with a GPS monitor by the Sheriff’s Office. The GPS ankle monitor is used to ensure that you do not have any direct contact with the victim or go within prohibited distances of the victim's place of residence, work, school, or other places the victim frequents. Beyond the embarrassment and physical discomfort of wearing a GPS ankle monitor, you must also pay for the privilege of wearing it.
The good news: After a period of time an attorney may be able to get the GPS ankle monitor removed.
#5 - Having to wear a Continuous Alcohol Monitor (CAM)
The Judge can order that upon release that the defendant be fitted with a Continuous Alcohol Monitor (CAM) monitor by the Sheriff’s Office. The CAM ankle monitor is ordered when alcohol use was listed as a contributing factor to ensure that you do not have any alcohol while on release. Beyond the embarrassment and physical discomfort of wearing a CAM ankle monitor, you must also pay for the privilege of wearing it.
The good news: After a period of time an attorney may be able to get the CAM ankle monitor removed.
#6 - Temporary Loss of ability to possess a Firearm or Ammunition
When released on a Domestic Battery charge you will be temporarily prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition.
The good news: An attorney may be able to resolve your case and get your ability to possess a firearm and ammunition back.
#7 - Loss of Employment
Any criminal arrest can trigger loss of your job. Domestic Battery arrests tend to cause this very negative effect more often as it is considered a violent crime.
The good news: An attorney may be able to intervene early and have the case dropped before your job is affected. Sometimes a well written letter from your attorney to your employer explaining the circumstances can reduce the chance of job loss.
Violating any of the Judge’s Orders mentioned above, or any condition of Supervised Release On Own Recognizance (even failing to check in with the Sheriff’s Office) can be a violation of Pre-Trial Release where you may be immediately arrested and held in jail with no bond.
The good news: An attorney may be able to get you released from jail sooner than later.
There are many moving parts in a Domestic Violence case where a criminal defense attorney can be of great assistance in helping you understand the law, potential consequences, and methods to resolve the case. Early intervention is key and may help you avoid a formal criminal charge based on the arrest and even put you in the position to have the criminal history removed from your record.
If you have been arrested for Domestic Violence / Domestic Battery, call the Morris Law Firm at 727-388-4736, Option 1 for New Clients for a strategic review of your case. The Morris Law Firm handles misdemeanor and felony criminal cases throughout the Tampa Bay area and is dedicated to criminal defense.