Help from a Fort Lauderdale Domestic Violence Lawyer
Criminal charges involving allegations of domestic violence in Florida can be serious and result in lengthy sentences, stiff fines, and other penalties. Domestic violence serves as a sentencing enhancer for the penalties attached to the underlying offense. A conviction of a domestic violence offense can also cause immigration consequences to people from other countries who are convicted in Florida and potentially result in deportation and removal. Recently, Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer Kenneth Hassett represented an international businessman who was facing allegations of domestic violence.
Man Arrested for Domestic Violence Assault
Police officers were dispatched to a home on April 12, 2020. Upon their arrival, the officers could hear arguing inside of the residence. They contacted the alleged victim. The alleged victim was intoxicated and told the police that her husband had struck her on the back and hand with a broomstick, and she had visible welts in both areas.
After speaking to the woman, the officers then located the defendant, who was sitting on the living room sofa. The police reported that the man was also intoxicated. He refused to speak about what happened. The man was arrested and taken into custody by the police for possible felony domestic violence charges. He was an international businessman who would face immigration consequences if convicted of a domestic violence offense, so he retained Fort Lauderdale domestic violence lawyer Kenneth Hassett to defend him against the charges.
Understanding Domestic Violence Charges In Florida
Domestic violence is not a separate criminal offense and instead is used to enhance the penalties of the underlying crime. Under § 741.28, Fla. Stat. (2021), an offense can be charged as a domestic violence offense when the defendant commits any of the following crimes against a family or household member:
- Assault or aggravated assault
- Battery or aggravated battery
- Sexual battery
- Sexual assault
- Stalking or aggravated stalking
- False imprisonment or kidnapping
- Another crime resulting in bodily injury or death
A family or household member includes anyone with one of the following types of relationships with the defendant:
- Spouse or former spouse
- Blood relative or relative through marriage
- Person living with the defendant as a family either currently or in the past
- Person who shares a child with the defendant
When an alleged victim has one of these relationships with the defendant, and one of the qualifying crimes is committed, the defendant can be charged with a domestic violence crime.
Domestic Violence Offenses and Impact on Immigration
If a lawful permanent resident or someone legally in the U.S. on a different type of visa is convicted of a crime of domestic violence, he or she could face immigration consequences. Under 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(E)(i), a crime of domestic violence that could impact a person’s immigration status includes the following:
- Any crime of domestic violence against a current or former domestic partner
- Child abandonment, neglect, or abuse
- Violation of a protection order issued for domestic violence
A conviction for a crime of domestic violence under state law could expose the defendant to possible deportation and removal proceedings. If the defendant is removed from the U.S., he or she might be deemed inadmissible and barred from re-entry into the country.
In addition to the criminal consequences of a domestic violence conviction, the potential immigration consequences significantly raise the stakes for foreign nationals who are accused of these types of offenses. This makes it critical for immigrants accused of crimes of domestic violence to retain an experienced Fort Lauderdale domestic violence lawyer to vigorously defend against the allegations.
Outcome of the Man’s Case
Attorney Kenneth Hassett understood the stakes the man was facing with the domestic violence charge. In addition to potential felony penalties, he was also facing problems with his immigration status if convicted. With this knowledge, attorney Hassett immediately got to work. He negotiated with the prosecutor and secured an agreement from the prosecutor not to file formal criminal charges against his client. The case was dismissed, and the man did not face any consequences in immigration court.
Get Help From an Experienced Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyer
Domestic violence charges should be taken seriously by anyone, but they are especially serious for people who are immigrants. If you are dealing with a similar situation, you should contact an experienced attorney at Hassett & Associates by calling us at (954) 791-3939.