If you are a victim of domestic violence, it is important to know what your legal options are. The first step is to contact the police, who can help you file for a protection order or other forms of relief from an abuser. You can also contact a prosecutor or victim advocate for help in pursuing justice.
In many cases, these remedies are enough to restore a victim to a life that is not dependent on the abuser. If you need more help, a Miami family law attorney can also assist you in filing a civil lawsuit against your abuser for monetary damages.
There are two main types of court remedies available to victims of domestic violence: restraining orders and protective orders. Restraining orders are orders that limit the abuser’s access to your home, possessions, and finances. Protective orders, in contrast, are orders that require the abuser to refrain from specific behaviors and comply with certain conditions, such as staying away from your home or not communicating with you.
The problem with these orders is that they don’t always work as intended. The abuser often doesn’t respect them or will violate them, either physically or emotionally. When that happens, you may need to go into family court to seek a modification of the order or even a new one.
If your abuser has committed a crime, the next step is to file criminal charges against him or her. Then you may need to attend court and enter a plea agreement with the prosecutor.
When you have a conviction, it can make a huge difference in how the police treat you, the prosecutor’s office will take a hard look at your case, and the judge will likely try to find a way to punish the defendant.
A domestic violence victim who files a criminal charge against her abuser can be convicted and face jail time, fines, and probation. The prosecution will need to prove the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
In addition, a conviction can lead to a permanent criminal record. This can be difficult to overcome and can affect employment, financial, and educational opportunities.
Once a crime has been charged, you can ask the court for an Order of Protection (OOP), which will require your abuser to keep you safe from harm and prevent them from coming within a specific distance of you or your property. The OOP can last for the duration of your criminal proceedings and can include requirements such as being in a room alone, or not using firearms, or not contacting you.
This process can be stressful and time consuming, but if it is the only way to keep you and your children safe, it’s worth the effort.
Fortunately, most states have updated their laws to make it easier for victims of domestic violence to obtain legal relief. You can also find information on a variety of resources online for victims and advocates in your state.