It is usually sensational news when a celebrity is accused of or charged with a crime. It is somewhat less so but still a matter of media and public scrutiny when an attorney is accused of a criminal offense, especially one in which the lawyer has made his or her reputation as a criminal defense lawyer. Lawyers are as fallible as everyone else, but media attention was focused recently when criminal defense attorney William Abramson of West Palm Beach was arrested on a domestic violence charge made by his girlfriend.
According to news reports, police responded to a neighbor’s call regarding a disturbance at Abramson’s apartment and found the attorney yelling outside in the parking lot of his apartment complex. In the apartment, they discovered his live-in girlfriend on the floor and in tears. She informed police that Abramson had come home that evening and had assaulted her, prevented her from fleeing the apartment and then stomped on her knees and head. She also alleged that he had thrown her against a wall.
Attorney Abramson, who had a DUI in 2013, was arrested with bail set at $2000 and directed to have no contact with the alleged victim, to turn over any firearms, to refrain from drinking alcohol or taking any non-prescription drugs and to submit to random drug and alcohol testing. News reports of the incident did not indicate whether the alleged victim displayed visible signs of the attacks.
This particular incident underscores the fact that domestic violence is not limited to any particular class of individuals and that victims and defendants can be from any income level or profession.
The Crime of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence refers to a physical assault, the threat of an attack or other abuse committed on someone with whom the victim has a relationship. It is a crime that is endemic in this county. With the recent domestic violence incidents involving NFL players, this issue is now in the public consciousness. Domestic violence perpetrated on women usually by husbands, ex-spouses and boyfriends is the leading cause of injury to women with an incident occurring an average of every 9 seconds.
However, not every allegation or complaint is well-founded, credible or based on objective evidence. In many cases, our attorneys at The Hoffman Firm have exposed alleged victims who falsely accused our clients of domestic violence or who could not prove that any attack or threat of one took place. Often, these alleged victims have an agenda to pursue against our clients or made their accusations while on drugs or alcohol. If you have been accused of this crime, contact our office to discuss your case and legal rights.
You can be charged under Florida laws with domestic violence regardless of your intent to inflict injury so long as the victim suffered an injury or was threatened with injury by a violent act. Domestic violence cases are handled by a special unit in the prosecution office and by attorneys who only investigate, charge and try such cases in court.
What are Examples of Domestic Violence?
Prosecutors look to the following as a basis for a domestic violence charge:
- Physical attacks
- Intimidation by act or threat
- Threats of violence
- Unconsented sexual contact or forced sexual contact
- Property damage such as slashing tires, breaking windows or destroying the property of an individual with whom a domestic relationship existed
A physical attack could be any offensive contact regardless if it produced an injury such as slapping, biting, pushing, kicking, shoving, or hair pulling. Prosecutors have discretion in charging domestic violence as either a misdemeanor or felony, usually depending on the extent of the injuries inflicted or the nature of the act.
What is the Basis of an Arrest and Charge?
Law enforcement officers are directed to make an arrest based on visible signs of injury or abuse that can be substantiated by other evidence such as the statement of the victim or of other witnesses. Even if there are no signs of injury or violence, however, officers are usually reluctant to leave the scene without an arrest especially if the alleged victim is complaining.
Also, it is not uncommon for victims to refuse to cooperate with police or prosecutors after an arrest, to renege on their complaints, or who wish to drop any charges. Prosecutors can still decide to proceed with a case despite the victim’s refusal or reluctance to testify if they feel there is enough evidence to try a defendant.
What The Hoffman Firm Can Do For You
Domestic violence cases can be complicated and full of emotional issues on both sides. Evan Hoffman of The Hoffman Firm has been defending clients accused of domestic violence for years and has succeeded in many cases where charges have been dismissed, reduced from felonies to misdemeanors, or clients have received only probation or an alternative disposition without jail time.
Evan Hoffman will analyze your case after thoroughly investigating the facts and advise you of your rights and options. Contact us today if you are accused of a domestic violence offense.