Aiken and O’Halloran -Domestic Violence Attorneys
Lee -Charlotte -Sarasota- Manatee
Sarasota: Peter D Aiken
Fort Myers : Sean C. O’Halloran
Ever since the OJ Simpson case, police responding to 911 calls have been making a “rush to judgment” as to who to arrest, and half the time they are wrong. Most responding officers assume the woman is the victim. As a Ft. Myers Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer , I have had cases where the husband or the boyfriend has called 911 because his spouse is drunk or jealous, or both, and has gone nuts attacking him. Many times the man will simply restrain the woman who is scratching, kicking, throwing things, and many times, his restraint is to protect her from injuring herself. Half the time, the arresting officers get it wrong and arrest the wrong one.
A domestic violence arrest can be for “simple battery” for something as simple as pushing or shoving. There does not have to be injury. If there is injury, such as a black eye, a cut or contusion, or even worse, like something requiring stitches, the charge will be aggravated battery. That is a charge that involves serious injury or a weapon. That is a serious felony that can land you in State prison. It can be an aggravated assault if a threat is accompanied by a gun or knife
Whether it is a misdemeanor of a felony, the arrest alone can trigger a series of horrible consequences. The man, at first appearance, will likely be told by the judge to have no contact as a condition of his bond. This is an absolute nightmare. The man may end up sleeping in his car. If he and his wife work together, it is even worse. He can lose his job. If there are kids, the nightmare gets even worse. Most families cannot afford two places to live.
Some women really are abused and for them, the no contact is a good thing. For most couples, the incident was a result of drinking or jealousy and was a one time thing. Many times, the prosecutors don’t want to hear the truth. If a cop says it, they believe it. Many prosecutors are women and automatically take the woman’s side, and feel they have a duty to protect the woman. Even if the woman did not want her spouse or boyfriend arrested, the prosecutors will accuse her of being a “battered spouse” and not want to hear what she has to say. I can’t tell you how many times it has been the wife or girlfriend that has hired us to get the case back on the right track.
Our goal is generally to help both the woman and the man resolve their issues. Many times, it is a gay couple that has gotten into an argument or a fight. Sometimes the police officers are a little homophobic and judgmental and will give gay men a hard time simply because they do not understand gay relationships.
Do not wait until arraignment to hire a lawyer. You may miss a valuable opportunity to get the case dropped or the charges reduced. Sometimes, once something is formally “filed”, it is difficult to get it dropped or reduced.
As defense lawyers our job is not just to beat the case. We live in this community and want to help couples that are struggling with alcoholism, drugs or sometimes bi-polar conditions that can trigger disputes. It may be a matter of couples counseling. It may be a matter of alcohol or drug treatment. There may be real psychological issues that no one has diagnosed or treated
It costs nothing to call or come in and talk. Contrary to popular belief, Lawyers do have a heart and it is not just a matter of money. We want to help. Call when it is convenient for you.