On behalf of The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
Domestic violence is a criminal offense and when Florida authorities respond to a domestic dispute they take the situation extremely seriously. Too often the media is ripe with stories of domestic spats escalating to violent and sometimes deadly levels and it is for this reason that law enforcement’s response is to take any allegations of domestic violence or abuse as fact until proven otherwise. Oftentimes police officers will attempt to determine who the perpetrator is of the alleged abuse and immediately arrest that person or take him or her into custody.
It is at that point that anyone accused of domestic assault or violence should contact a criminal defense attorney. An argument can easily escalate into a shouting match and if police are called someone is usually arrested, regardless of whether the alleged victim wishes to press charges. Defending against such charges from the get-go can be imperative to protecting a person’s reputation and sometimes even their job. As many Dolphins fans may recall, Mr. Johnson, formerly known as ‘Ochocinco’ was cut from the team shortly after reports surfaced of his recent arrest on misdemeanor domestic violence charges.
In the state of Florida, prosecutors have the option to upgrade a domestic violence misdemeanor to a felony if there was a prior incidence involving a domestic violence charge. And it does not matter where that charge may have occurred, according to a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney. Apparently more than 10 years ago, Mr. Johnson pleaded no contest for allegedly slapping his then girlfriend.
Because of that charge prosecutors could decide to upgrade the most recent charges to a felony offense, which could result in jail time if Mr. Johnson is convicted on the criminal charge. This case demonstrates the severity a domestic violence charge can have on an individual’s life and what is at stake for anyone even accused of such a crime. There was no report on whether Mr. Johnson has enlisted the services of a criminal defense attorney, however in light of the potential consequences it may not be a bad idea.
Global Grind, “SAY IT AIN’T SO! Chad Johnson Could Face Jail Time?,” Aug. 29, 2012
My Fort Lauderdale criminal defense firm handles domestic violence defense cases similar to the one described in this post.