Separating myth from reality is important for anyone facing potential criminal charges in Florida. Especially when the offense is a significant one, such as an altercation that leads to domestic violence charges, knowing about the law and the potential consequences involved can help you make better decisions.
Some people facing domestic violence-related criminal charges might not take them seriously enough because they believe inaccurate information. People mistakenly think that they can only face domestic violence charges if the other person involved agrees to help the prosecutor.
In other words, if the victim doesn’t want to press charges, people might think that the state will just drop the case against them. However, when it comes to domestic violence, the victim does not need to cooperate with law enforcement in order for the state to take action.
Officers will make an arrest if there is evidence that a crime occurred
When domestic violence calls are made to Florida police departments, they must treat these issues as potentially serious offenses. Officers can and do get hurt in the line of duty responding to domestic violence calls.
In some situations, one of the people involved in the dispute may have called law enforcement. Other times, it may be neighbors or passersby who get law enforcement officials involved. They may have good intentions and not realize that they have misinterpreted the situation and potentially caused your family significant hardship.
When officers arrive, they will take statements from the people involved and look for evidence of a crime. Damage to property or injuries to either party may be sufficient grounds for police to make an arrest. That arrest could result in charges, regardless of whether the victim cooperates with prosecutors or not.
The statutes exist the way they do to help protect people
Given the intimate and personal relationships often involved in domestic violence situations, there has historically been a trend of victims refusing to prosecute in the hope of protecting the accused and their relationship with that person.
Unfortunately, domestic violence does sometimes escalate. Florida’s approach to domestic violence aims to protect victims who won’t cooperate in the prosecution of an offender by handling the prosecution independently regardless of whether the victim wants the process to move forward or not.
Although the other party involved may not be able to stop the state from prosecuting you, they made be able to help by serving as a witness and perhaps explaining why circumstances appeared to involve criminal activity but in fact did not. You should explore all of your options before entering a plea or making decisions about how to defend yourself.