Domestic violence charges in Jacksonville carry with them a difficult stigma that assumes, mainly men, are guilty of committing the crime upon wives and girlfriends. Because of that, law enforcement officers sometimes require little or no evidence before making an arrest. And for many in the public, an arrest is as good as a conviction and people lose jobs, credibility and reputation in the community and other sanctions before even going to trial. That's why fighting the charges and seeking an acquittal or dropped charges is so important.
The newspaper reported recently on two incidents at Jacksonville-area beaches where people were arrested in domestic violence-related cases:
-A 58-year-old man was arrested on Atlantic Beach and charged with domestic battery after allegedly beating a 39-year-old woman on a hotel room.
According to the newspaper, hotel workers had to escort the man out of the resort after a dispute with the woman. Police say the man held the woman's hands to her side and she struggled to get free. After she got loose, he allegedly pushed her to the floor and they continued fighting before police arrived.
The article doesn't say whether any eyewitnesses saw the alleged battery occur or if it was simply the woman's word against the man's.
-In the second incident, Jacksonville Beach residents allegedly witnessed a man shove a woman into the trunk of a vehicle and drive off. Witnesses told police the man allegedly punched the woman before slamming the trunk closed.
When police found the vehicle at the end of a hotel, it was registered to the defendant, who was staying with the woman. When police went to the room where the two were staying, the defendant said he let the woman out of the trunk, at which point she yelled at him and they went back to their room.
In this incident, it's unclear if the woman appeared to suffer from a punch as witnesses said or if the man at the hotel room matched the description of the man witnesses say punched a woman and put her in the trunk of a car.
According to Florida Statute 784.041, which defines felony domestic battery, the crime is committed when a person intentionally strikes a person against their will and causes "great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement."
Great bodily harm can be debated, while disability and disfigurement are more black-and-white terms in the law. If convicted, a person charged with this crime can face up to five years in prison, so the crime shouldn't be taken lightly. There are many non-profit groups dedicated to domestic violence awareness and sometimes, sadly, the allegations are true. But other times, alleged victims make up the crimes as an act of revenge.
That's why sorting out the details of the case and working to disprove the charges in court are important. If you face domestic violence charges in Jacksonville or throughout northeast Florida, consult with an experienced Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney, who will fight for your rights.