Domestic Violence

Miami Domestic Violence Lawyer

I can help you!  I am your Miami Domestic Violence Lawyer.  Whether you are arrested for a domestic violence crime, served with a domestic violence injunction, or are a victim of domestic violence and in need of the Court’s protection, I can help you!

Most people believe the law is fair. That is not the case when it comes to domestic violence.  In every domestic violence case, you start behind the eightball.  Furthermore, Florida law is tough when it comes to domestic violence.  Most police departments have a “pro-arrest” policy for domestic violence calls and must make an arrest if domestic violence is present. This is but one reason why you need a Miami Domestic Violence Attorney on your side from the beginning.

For example, your spouse calls the police and says you hit her.  When the police arrive, your spouse shows them a red mark on her arm.  Guess what?  You might be going to jail!  That is all it takes to get arrested for domestic violence.

The police must arrest when domestic violence is present.  

There is a very fine line between what the police consider a domestic dispute and actual domestic violence. The criminal justice system will take you on a ride you do not want to go on.

Florida law is so broad a domestic dispute can easily become a domestic battery by including any non-consensual touching. In Florida, there is no requirement for an actual injury or level of injury.

Domestic violence cases come in two flavors, criminal and civil and you need to find a Miami Domestic Violence Attorney that can help you with all of them.

Criminal cases come in two additional flavors of felonies and misdemeanors.

For more information on criminal domestic violence cases, see my Criminal Domestic Violence page. For more information on the different kinds of violence injunctions, please see my Violence Injunctions page.

Domestic violence cases can easily get out of control!

A domestic violence case can set off a chain reaction that can easily get out of control. Many people do not understand the interaction between civil domestic violence cases and criminal domestic violence cases. An arrest or filing of a petition for a violence injunction can kick off a series of interlaced cases that can be difficult to follow.

Here is an example. If someone gets arrested for a criminal domestic violence case, often, the police will encourage the alleged victim to file a petition for a domestic violence injunction. When this is done, you now have two domestic violence cases, one criminal and one civil. The cases are separate but the issues and consequences are interlaced. There are certain things you can not do in the injunction case because of the criminal case. This is why it is so important to have an experienced Miami Domestic Violence Lawyer on your side.

The scenario happens quite often, more than you would expect. Most people do not realize that the actions they take in the civil domestic violence case can negatively impact or damage the criminal domestic violence case. One of the frequent errors unrepresented people make in civil domestic violence cases is testifying and not preserving their right to remain silent.

These cases can become further complicated is a divorce is filed or the Florida Department of Children and Families files a dependency case. Now the interactions of the cases are significantly more complex.

If you are charged with any type of violent crime, immediately contact Your Miami Domestic Violence Lawyer to protect your rights, your freedom, and most of all, your access to your family.

So what exactly is domestic violence?

Domestic violence definition – Domestic violence is any physical act of violence between two people who are domestically related. Two people are domestically related if they are married, have a child in common, reside together as a family, or are blood relatives. If your situation does not fall within this domestic violence definition you can not file for a domestic violence injunction and must file for one of the other violence injunctions. The other violence injunctions are Repeat Violence, Stalking Violence, Dating Violence, and Sexual Violence.

All violence injunctions prohibit the Respondent, the person whom you seek the injunction against, from committing further violence against you. While all the violence injunctions offer similar protections, each has specific unique requirements. Speak with a domestic violence attorney and see if your situation meets the domestic violence definition or falls under one of the other violence injunction types. A Miami Domestic Violence Attorney can answer all your questions about Florida’s domestic violence definition.

Florida’s Domestic Violence definition includes all of the following violent acts and more.

  • Punching
  • Hitting
  • Slapping
  • Pushing
  • Pulling
  • Bitting
  • Kicking
  • Restraining
  • Stalking
  • Threatening
  • Intimidating
  • and a lot more

Domestic Violence Shelter?

If you need a domestic violence shelter you can contact Lotus House Women’s Domestic Violence Shelter at 305-438-0556. The Miami Rescue Mission Center for Women and Children Domestic Violence Shelter at 305-571-2250. If you need information on domestic violence shelters in Broward or Palm Beach Counties, or other domestic violence resources, please feel free to contact my office for assistance.

National Domestic Violence Hotline:

If you are somewhere outside of South Florida and you are the victim of domestic violence seeking help or resources, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. If you are in Florida, the Florida Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-500-1119. The National Domestic Violence Hot Line and the Florida Domestic Violence Hotline are good resources in taking that first step and seeking help.

Are you involved in a domestic violence case?  Click here, tell us about your case and see how we can help you!

Domestic violence cases are aggressively prosecuted! You need an experienced Miami Domestic Violence Lawyer!

Did you know that Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties all have special units to prosecute domestic violence cases?  Additionally, if you have a prior domestic battery conviction, your second arrest will be charged as a felony.  Similarly, a domestic violence conviction can affect your ability to obtain housing, employment, professional licensing, and a host of other lifelong consequences. The Florida criminal justice system is serious when it comes to those convicted of domestic violence. To counter the State’s aggressive prosecution of domestic violence cases, you need an aggressive Miami Domestic Violence Attorney on your side.

There are many Miami domestic violence attorneys and your choice of the right one is an important one. Your liberty and rights are at risk, choose your Miami Domestic Violence Attorney carefully.

I am Your Miami Domestic Violence Attorney!  Florida Police Departments have Pro-Arrest Policies.  Officers must make an arrest in domestic violence cases.
Police Departments are Required to make DV arrests

What if the victim wants to drop the domestic violence charges!

Florida law allows the State Attorney to prosecute you without the victim’s consent.  In other words, even when the victim wants to drop all domestic violence charges, they can and will continue to prosecute you.  This is how the criminal justice system works in Florida.

So what do you do if you need a Broward County Domestic Violence Lawyer?

The good news is I can help you out and be your Broward County Domestic Violence Lawyer also. Although my main office is in Downtown Miami, I regularly represent clients in Broward County. I live in Broward County, and I am almost exactly halfway between the Dade and Broward County Courthouses. So if you need a Broward County Domestic Violence Lawyer, look no further because you have found one.

How about a Palm Beach County Domestic Violence Lawyer?

Due to the recent increase in the volume of our law firm’s Palm Beach County cases, I have opened an office in West Palm Beach. Our West Palm Beach is office is centrally located between the North and South County Courthouses and close to the Palm Beach County Judicial Complex or the main courthouse. So if you are looking for a Palm Beach County Domestic Violence Lawyer feel free to call our office to discuss your case.

Civil Injunctions and Restraining Orders: An experienced Miami Domestic Violence Lawyer is a must!

Injunctions, restraining orders, and order for protection from domestic violence are available to all victims.  Likewise, they are easy to get, and only the victim’s statement is required.  In other words, you do not get a say before filing.  Furthermore, an injunction can affect your time sharing and visitation with your children.

As you can see, domestic violence laws are complex and require an experienced domestic violence lawyer to protect your rights and your future.

How to file for a Domestic Violence Injunction or Restraining Order?

If you need to file for a domestic violence injunction or restraining order, the process is simple and straight forward. This also applies to all the other violence injunctions, repeat violence, dating violence, stalking violence, and sexual violence.

There is no filing fee or costs to file for a domestic violence injunction or restraining order. Go to your local Florida county courthouse and ask the security person or receptionist for the domestic violence unit. The only thing you have to bring with you is your driver’s license or identification card because the Petition for Injunction for Protection from Domestic Violence must be notarized. If you have a police case number, you can bring that also to include in the petition. A police case number is not required to file for a domestic violence injunction or restraining order.

You will be directed to the clerk of the court domestic violence unit where a paralegal will write all the necessary documents for your case. All you have to do is tell the paralegal your story and the paralegal will do all the work for you. Once the petition is written, the paralegal will notarize it and send it to a judge immediately.

A judge will review your petition and may issue a Temporary Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence. A hearing will be scheduled, usually within 15 days. You will know right away if a temporary injunction will be issued.

The petition, notice of hearing, and temporary injunction, if issued, will be sent to the sheriff’s office for service. The Respondent is the person whom you want the domestic violence injunction or restraining order against. The respondent must be personally served with the petition and notice of hearing and temporary injunction.

I am your Miami Domestic Violence Lawyer!

In another life, before becoming an attorney, I was a Miami-Dade Police Officer.  On many occasions, I arrested defendants accused of domestic violence crimes, investigated claims of domestic violence, and helped many victims of domestic violence get protection.  I have responded to more domestic disputes and domestic violence calls than I can ever guess to remember.

I’ve been to domestic violence scenes, interviewed domestic violence witnesses, victims, and defendants. I have been trained in the recognition of domestic violence and the handling of cases from the investigation, through arrest, to testifying in court. I represent many police officers accused of domestic violence crimes and served with domestic violence injunctions.

Because of my experience, I know how the police handle case investigations and how they do on-scene interviews. This experience allows me to review the police investigations to find aspects that work in my client’s favor. If necessary, I can reinvestigate the police investigation.

As a Miami Domestic Violence Lawyer, I have represented those charged with domestic violence, defended those served with injunctions and helped many victims obtain injunctions for protection.  To put it another way,  I know domestic violence laws and investigations from both sides of the legal sphere.

Finally, allow me to put my experience to work for you in your domestic violence case.  I am, after all, Your Miami Domestic Violence Lawyer!

However, I also realize, sometimes bad things happen to good people. Domestic disputes happen in life. Sometimes police officers are a little too eager to make arrests in domestic violence cases because of their department’s pro-arrest policies. Also, I recognize that when the police are at someone’s home asking pointed questions about a crime, people feel the need to explain themselves. Often, this is the time when most people talk themselves into being arrested. When accused of a crime, you must keep your mouth shut and not speak about it to the police. Demand a lawyer before making any statements to the police. Under no circumstances, sign a waiver of your rights.

I am Your Miami Domestic Violence Lawyer and Miami Domestic Violence Attorney!

Further, never, ever try to represent yourself in a domestic violence case. I can promise you that it will turn out badly for you. I always try to speak to the arresting officers; many tell me they did not have enough to make an arrest until the defendant gave them a statement. Said another way, do not talk yourself into handcuffs. At the time you may believe you are dealing with a domestic dispute situation when the police are investigating domestic violence.

The criminal justice system is not your friend! A criminal domestic violence charge has serious consequences!

Our Domestic Violence Articles:

Answering Law Enforcement’s Most Dangerous Call

Financial Considerations

Child Abuse and Neglect in Family Law Cases

The NFL and Domestic Violence


Stalking and Domestic Violence

Children and Domestic Violence

How to File for a Domestic Violence Injunction

Our videos on Domestic Violence:

I’ll take the first 3 DV cases Pro Bono!
Always, Always Always!
Google should not be your first step in finding a lawyer
Try to find a lawyer after hours or on the weekends!
Using A GPS tracker lead to stalking charges!
Depositions win cases! Even in Domestic Violence Cases.
What happens when I get arrested for Domestic Violence?
How long does it take to serve a DV Injunction?
Exactly how to file for a DV Injunction
Different types of violence injunctions
Do not make this colossal mistake!
That is not what happened!
What to do when you get served
Domestic Violence Information and Resources
DV Arraignments: What are they?
Taking Your Kids to Family or DV Court
Served with a Lawsuit or injunction? What to do next.
My Domestic Violence Resources
Domestic Violence in 90 Seconds!
Last Minute Domestic Violence cases
Domestic Violence goes up during holidays
No holiday slow down in Domestic Violence
Never, ever represent yourself in a DV case
Depositions in Domestic Violence cases

Domestic Violence Resources:

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Miami-Dade Domestic Violence Assistance

Domestic Violence Resource Center

Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts – Domestic Violence

Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Safety Plan Worksheet

Please subscribe to our YouTube channel, “Your South Florida Lawyer, Patrick J. McGeehan,” for more videos explaining legal concepts in easy to understand terms.

Our Blog contains several informative articles on Domestic Violence.