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Domestic violence charges stick even if victim doesn't want them

Police have arrested a Florida man after an altercation with his girlfriend. According to police, the incident took place on Aug. 18. During this fight, the 41-year-old man apparently beat and strangled his pregnant girlfriend. Police then say that he refused to let the woman leave the home for several hours after the fight was over.

On Sept. 6, police showed up at the residence to arrest the man. However, his girlfriend, the supposed victim, answered the door. Police allege that she said that she had not seen the man since the fight; however, police claim they saw the man trying to escape the house through the back door. Eventually the man was arrested by officers from the U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Task Force. He has since been charged with several domestic violence charges including false imprisonment, aggravated battery-knowing the victim was pregnant and domestic violence by strangulation.

Here, the woman was apparently still seeing the man after the fight and therefore she may not have wanted to have seen the man arrested. In Florida domestic violence cases, like this one, people may be under the impression that they can only be arrested and charged if the alleged victim wants to press charges. However, this is not the case. In domestic violence situations, the law treats the state as the victim and the actual victim only as a witness. Therefore, even if the victim doesn't want the person arrested, the state can still move forward with the case.

Being charged with domestic violence charges can have a serious effect on people. Effective immediately, people may not be able to see their spouses, or their children. In some cases, they may be forbidden from even going home -- even when the disagreement was a mistake. Furthermore, allegations of family violence can also result in a damaged reputation which could negative consequences for people at work. Finally, without the right help, if someone is convicted of domestic violence, they could serve jail or prison time.

Source: NWF Daily News, "Man charged with assaulting pregnant girlfriend," Sept. 6, 2013

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