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Lakeland Domestic Violence Attorney and Criminal Law Firm

We all know that violence within a household can constitute a serious crime, so a skilled and accomplished domestic violence attorney is essential to defending your liberty.

It is especially important to have an expert domestic violence lawyer at your side because these types of charges have become front-page news in our society. As a social problem, it is a serious and devastating issue: the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) estimates that one in three women and one in four men experience physical violence in the home during their lives.

Domestic Violence Law

On a personal level, you need a domestic violence attorney who knows how to use the law to best protect you, with a defense tailored to the facts of your case. Core laws used for this type of defense include the definitions of domestic violence from the Domestic Relations statutes (“Domestic violence; definitions”: Title XLIII, Chapter 741.28) and the descriptions of domestic violence within the same section (“Domestic violence; injunction; powers and duties of court and clerk; petition; notice and hearing; temporary injunction; issuance of injunction; statewide verification system; enforcement; public records exemption”: Title XLIII, Chapter 741.30).

Domestic Violence FAQ

Domestic violence is typically considered any way in which a person hurts another person within the home, such as child abuse or spousal abuse. While that definition is generally correct, it’s important to look at the statutes for the true legal meaning of domestic violence within the state of Florida.

This definition is offered within Title XLIII Section 741.28 of the 2016 Florida Statutes: “any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.”

The relationship is a critical point to be considered. People often think of the victim in a domestic violence case as a blood relative or spouse. The state law clarifies that the scope of the victim extends to former spouses, people who are related through marriage, people who used to live within the same residence, and co-parents of a child. One necessary feature is that the relationship involves having lived together at some point, except in the case of two parents.

There are many causes for domestic violence, although experts stress that the victim never causes the attack to occur. According to Emory University psychiatrist Toby D. Goldsmith, MD, typical reasons include traits in the attacker such as low self-esteem, anger-regulation problems, deep jealousy, and inferiority.

If you believe that you or a loved one may be experiencing domestic violence, here is where to get help and how to file a restraining order. It’s also important to get an attorney so that you don’t have to live in fear.

Polk County residents who are suffering in abusive relationships often need help. Thankfully, there are various resources out there to assist the victims of dating violence and domestic abuse.

Here are a few resources that are specifically intended for residents in Polk County and the vicinity who are dealing with these situations:

Peace River Domestic Violence Center

Lakeland 24-hour hotline – (863) 413-2700
Sebring or Highlands/Hardee counties 24-hour hotline – (863) 386-1167

Note: These hotlines accept collect calls.

Highlands County Sheriff’s Office

Victim Advocate Services – (863) 402-7329

Services provided by this office include transportation and emergency cell phones.

Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence Center

Hotline – (800) 500-1119

DART (Domestic Abuse Response Team)

Response Team – (863) 834-6900
Victim Assistance Program – (863) 834-6914

This domestic abuse program is run by the Lakeland Police Department, based on special courses that officers have completed. The police work alongside civilian DART advocates who have themselves attended 16 hours of training.

Harbor House of Central Florida

24-hour hotline – (800) 500-1119
TDD – (407) 886-2856

This facility, based in Orange County, provides emotional support and safe shelter for those experiencing domestic or dating violence.

Beyond contacting support hotlines and using the resources available through the police, those in abusive relationships can also take legal action. You can check the definition of domestic violence and learn how to stop it with a restraining order. Plus, you can speak with one of our experienced attorneys to better understand your options.

If anyone who is living with you or has lived with you in the past has been violent toward you, you can report domestic violence by petitioning the court for an Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence. This free-to-file legal document is casually called a restraining order. This process can help to prevent future problems. Note that in most cases, the person must live with you or have lived with you in the past for the crime to be considered domestic violence.

There is one situation in which you do not have to have lived in the same residence: when the attacker is the other parent of your child. It’s also considered a form of domestic abuse if the person has not harmed you but has made you feel in danger through their words or actions.

To get more information on this important and free protection, contact the Polk County Clerk of Courts Domestic Violence Department at (863) 534-4184. Alternately, you can go in person to the Domestic Violence Department by visiting its office on the 1st floor of the Polk County Courthouse. There is no fee to report domestic violence or to file this order.

Beyond this injunction, there are also numerous other resources, such as hotlines and police-run support programs, where you can get help.

Legally, filing an injunction is just the first step to stop the violence and prevent any ongoing issues. You can also speak with an experienced attorney to develop a strong legal strategy to protect you and your family long-term.

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