Articles Posted in Domestic Violence

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The Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Anthony Chickillo was arrested Sunday and charged with assault after a dispute with his girlfriend, according to the NFL website.

The alleged incident occurred at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, Pennsylvania, about 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, according to Pennsylvania police.

The State Police said they received a domestic disturbance call at 1:40 a.m. on Sunday. What started as an argument between 26-year-old Chickillo and his girlfriend became physical, according to police.

Chickillo “grabbed both arms and forced her against the wall, then threw her on the ground,” according to statements made to the police.

Chickillo was arraigned Sunday and released on a $10,000 unsecured bond. He is charged with simple assault, harassment and criminal mischief, according to court documents.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for October 30.

The girlfriend was given a summary citation, also known as summary harassment, which usually results in nothing but a fine, according to police.

Chickillo was drafted by the Steelers in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft and has played his whole pro career with the team in a reserve role.

He was not present Monday at the Steelers’ practice facility, where the rest of the team was practicing.

Many people who are arrested for domestic violence have no prior criminal record. In the past, law enforcement was able to use their discretion when deciding whether or not to make an arrest when responding to a “domestic violence” call. However, as time has gone on, high profile cases regarding domestic violence and murder have changed the way that police handle domestic violence disputes. Officers are now pretty much required to arrest one or both of the parties when responding to a domestic violence call. For anyone arrested, it is imperative to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who handles domestic violence cases as soon as possible. Our Florida Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton would prefer to get involved as soon as a person is released or bonds out of jail. Early intervention can make a huge difference in domestic violence cases. 

When police respond to the scene of a domestic violence call, they will typically take statements from the involved parties and document any visible injuries. The officers will try to conclude who the aggressor was and then arrest that person. In some cases, this is not the person who initially called 911. It is not uncommon for both parties involved to be arrested on suspicion of domestic violence.

Regardless of the situation, the accused will be taken to jail and will be required to post bond in order to be released. Even those accused that have no prior criminal records will be required to post bail. If bail is posted and the accused is released, they will be given a future court date for their arraignment. 

The best way to establish a strong defense to any domestic violence charge is to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who has tried and won these types of cases involving jury trials. Domestic violence cases are complex and can be difficult to understand. Every piece of evidence matters in these cases, including the early investigation of witnesses and victim statements and testimony from domestic violence trauma experts. How the story is told and how evidence is relayed is critical for avoiding a conviction. 

Unfortunately, we have seen many people bring false charges against someone for domestic violence. That is why we will work hard to build a case for your innocence and back it up with facts. The sooner we get involved, the sooner we can separate truth from fiction. No facts are unimportant in these cases. We need to know as much information as possible so that we can identify and flaws or weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and determine the best way to move forward. This often entails interviewing witnesses and identifying documents that can be used to back up your version of the story.

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A domestic battery charge filed last weekend against actress and former political commentator Stacey Dash has been dropped.

The Pasco County Clerk & Comptroller posted an update on its website Friday.

According to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, Dash, 52, and a man became involved in an argument just before 8 p.m. on Sunday. Deputies claimed Dash pushed the man and slapped him in the face.

Deputies arrived and took her into custody.

The 5-foot-4, 108-pound star from the 1995 film Clueless owns a home in Pasco County, according to celebrity website TMZ.

Under Florida law, domestic violence or domestic battery is defined as any actual and intentional touching or striking of another person without consent, or the intentional causing of bodily harm to another person, when the person struck is a “family or household member.”

Under Section 741.28, Florida Statutes, the term ‘family or household member’ can include the following:

  • Wives and husbands;
  • Ex-wives and ex-husbands;
  • Individuals related by blood or marriage;
  • Individuals living together as a family;
  • Individuals who have resided together as if a family in the past; and
  • Persons who have a child in common (regardless of prior marriage).

The statute specifically requires that the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit. The only exception is for persons who have a child in common.

Prosecutors make decisions on how to file or proceed with a criminal case based on evidence. The following are a few reasons why the prosecution may choose to drop charges of domestic violence: 

Insufficient Evidence

A major reason for dropping any criminal case is due to insufficient evidence. Successfully prosecuting the accused for domestic violence means that the prosecutor must prove each element of the offense by the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt.

The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused:

  • Intentionally touched or struck the alleged victim against his or her will; or
  • Intentionally caused bodily harm to the alleged victim; or
  • Intentionally and unlawfully threatened, either by word or act, to do violence to the victim and, at the time, appeared to have the ability to carry out the threat; or the act of the defendant created in the mind of the alleged victim a well-founded fear that the violence was about to take place

A prosecutor might feel that the element of “intent” is missing. A prosecutor may also feel the evidence of a domestic battery is insufficient because the alleged victim’s credibility is suspect.The victim may have a history of mental illness, making false accusations in the past, or has a motive to exaggerate or fabricate the incident because the parties are involved in a custody or property distribution battle. Any of these reasons could convince the prosecutor that there is insufficient evidence to convict the accused and result in them not filing charges. 

The lack of a serious bodily injury could also result in charges being dropped. A serious bodily injury usually means that the victim suffered an injury necessitating medical treatment or serious impairment of a physical condition. These injuries may include:

  • Broken limb
  • Black eye 
  • Laceration or cut requiring stitches
  • Disfigurement
  • Concussion

If a physician testifies that the injuries were not serious, or that the victim was exaggerating the symptoms, then this could compel the prosecutor to reduce or dismiss the charges. 

Inconsistent Statements

A prosecutor will review any statements made by the defendant and the alleged victim. In some cases, the alleged victim will make a verbal statement that is different than what they originally said or wrote in their original statement to police. Their version of events could also be inconsistent with their actual physical condition that shows little or no injuries.

A change in the alleged victim’s story or another witness’ story introduces the idea that they are unreliable, have a poor memory, or are just lying. Inconsistencies may include:

  • Why the alleged victim was hit
  • Relationship between the accused and the alleged victim
  • Time of day the incident occurred
  • If any drugs or alcohol was consumed by either party involved
  • Body part struck 
  • A change of story or any inconsistencies within the alleged victim’s statement or in other questioning by police

Lack of Injuries

The lack of any visible injuries in no way means that a domestic battery did not occur and the presence of an injury is not required in order for someone to be charged with domestic battery. The prosecution only needs to demonstrate that there is evidence of harmful or offensive touching, which can include pushing or shoving someone, spitting in their face, or intentionally touching them in a violent manner. With that said, however, the lack of any visible injuries may persuade the prosecution to not pursue criminal charges. 

Lack of Witnesses

In most domestic violence cases, there are no other witnesses to the incident except for the accused and the alleged victim. If there is little to no evidence of an injury or fight, conflicting statements, and the accused has no record of domestic violence, a prosecutor may not wish to proceed with charges. 

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Stacey Dash was arrested for domestic battery after an incident Sunday night in New Port Richey, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.

The 52-year-old “Clueless” actress was taken into custody after an argument with a male, whose name was redacted in an incident report obtained by CNN. She is accused of pushing and slapping him.

The report states that police were called to a home Sunday evening “to respond to a domestic dispute” between the two.

According to the report, “The victim sustained red scratch marks to his upper left arm from being pushed.”

Dash was taken into custody and transported to the Land O’ Lakes detention facility without incident. She posted bail and was released on Monday morning, according to a spokesperson for the Pasco County Sheriff.

Prosecutors have become extremely aggressive about pursuing allegations of domestic violence in the state of Florida. While family violence against a spouse, significant other or anyone else with whom one resides is a serious issue, domestic violence allegations are among the most common to be made up, exaggerated or used for an ulterior motive. 

Many Florida domestic violence charges arise out of the context of a marriage or bad family living situation that is deteriorating or a child custody dispute to give one parent leverage against the other. In many of these situations, an ordinary family disagreement is exaggerated by one person who may later try to recant once they have had time to cool down. Unfortunately, Pasco County prosecutors can and often do pursue these cases even when the alleged victim has recanted and does not wish to continue with pressing criminal charges. 

Domestic abuse charges may arise out of a wide range of situations even when there is no actual contact and the alleged victims suffer no actual injury. Acts that may constitute domestic violence include but are not limited to the following:

  • Battery
  • Assault
  • Punching
  • Acts of intimidation or threats of harm
  • An open handed slap
  • Marital rape
  • Punching, shoving or kicking
  • Sexual abuse
  • Biting
  • Choking
  • Strangling

Domestic battery is defined as intentionally causing unwanted touching or striking of another person or causing bodily harm to the person. The difference between a battery charge and a domestic battery charge is the relationship between the defendant and the victim. 

A domestic battery charge can arise when the alleged victim is a family member or household member of the defendant. A family member or household member under Florida law includes wives, husbands, ex-spouses, individuals related by blood or marriage, co-parents even if never married, individuals who live together as a family and individuals who lived together as a family in the past. With the exception of co-parents, one of the required legal elements that must be proven in these cases is that the defendant and victim currently or previously lived together in the same residence.

In the state of Florida, domestic battery is classified as a first degree misdemeanor, with penalties that may include up to one year in jail or twelve months probation, and a $1,000 fine. Prosecutors might rely on minor injuries like bruising or swelling in the neck area to support this aggravated version of the domestic violence offense. Because allegations of choking or grabbing of the throat and neck area are common in domestic violence cases, people sometimes face severe felony charges based on relatively minor signs of injury.

Being convicted of any battery charge, regardless of whether it is domestic violence or not, can cause very serious consequences. A conviction can affect a person’s freedom, livelihood, reputation and finances. Any individuals facing such charges should choose to consult with a criminal defense lawyer who has extensive knowledge and experience with domestic violence cases, aggravated battery, and simple battery charges. Our Pasco County Criminal Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have handled numerous domestic battery and domestic violence cases, so we know your rights and can go over all of your legal options that may be available to you given the particular circumstances of the case.

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A University of Florida junior cornerback was arrested by Gainesville police Monday and is facing a charge of simple battery/date violence following an alleged altercation with his girlfriend in his apartment.

The man and the woman got into an argument, and as she attempted to leave the apartment, the man apparently grabbed her by the neck to stop her, according to a Gainesville Police Department arrest report. Police claims she had marks on her neck and a scratch on her shoulder.

The man, 20, and the woman have been dating for two years, according to the report. A witness to the incident intervened in an effort to stop the argument and then called 911.

A simple battery charge is a misdemeanor under Florida law.

A battery charge can be emotionally fueled by the alleged victim and the person charged. These arrests usually arise from situations that are personal and highly emotional, and often involve misunderstandings that were blown out of proportion.

If you have been arrested for battery in Gainesville, our Alachua County Criminal Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are here to help. Possible penalties can include jail time, fines, and a criminal record. We can help you avoid the penalties of a conviction. When possible, we will negotiate for a reduction or a complete dismissal of charges.

Regardless of the events leading up to your arrest, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend your rights against your accuser. We will investigate all of the facts of your case and present your side to prosecutors and in court, when necessary.

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A former Florida lawmaker has been arrested and charged with abusing his wife of 10 years, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Former Rep. Baxter Troutman, 52, was arrested early Saturday after his wife made multiple domestic violence accusations against him.

According to authorities, the woman said she and her husband had argued about her buying a home in Lakeland in her own name on Wednesday.

She told deputies she left the home for several hours and returned at about 9:30 p.m. to sleep. She told authorities that her husband came into her bedroom at about 4:30 a.m. and pulled the comforter off her bed.

The two had slept in separate bedrooms for several years, she told deputies.

The man apparently came into her room and pulled the comforter off her bed and started shouting expletives at her and then began to play loud heavy metal music on all he TVs around the house.

She told deputies that when she tried to go back to sleep, her husband came into the room again and yanked the comforter off the bed, causing her to fall to the floor. According to the report, he then grabbed her by the chin, pulled her head back and said, “B— get up.”

The woman told deputies she used her cell phone to record how loud the music was playing on the TVs. She then went back to her room and used a chair to block the door.

Deputies said that she also told them previous instances of domestic violence. She told authorities that in 2018, her husband hit her in the face when she refused to give him the passcode to her cell phone. According to the Sheriff’s Office report, she provided pictures of the injuries.

She also claimed her husband broke her pinky finger during an argument in 2015. She told deputies she had a neighbor take her to a hospital for treatment.

Baxter Troutman was charged with one count of aggravated battery and two counts of battery. He previously served as state representative for District 66.

If you have been arrested and charged with aggravated battery, even if you have been wrongfully accused, you need to obtain legal representation as soon as possible. Many individuals charged with domestic violence crimes do not seek the legal representation they truly need in order to successfully prove their innocence. When facing a serious crime like aggravated battery, there is no substitute for aggressive and powerful legal representation that may ultimately keep you out of jail.

Given that serious bodily harm may result from aggravated battery, Florida prosecutors are especially tough on the accused. The consequences of a conviction can include a potentially long prison sentence hefty fines. Our Florida Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton know what to expect from the prosecution and can provide you with honest legal representation, making sure you are fully aware of the potential consequences you are facing and your options for overcoming your charges.

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A member of the San Francisco 49ers was arrested Saturday night in Tampa and charged with domestic violence.

Reuben Foster, a 24-year-old linebacker out of Alabama, was taken into custody just after 9 p.m. at the team hotel, the Grand Hyatt Hotel on 2900 Bayport Drive.

The 49ers played the Buccaneers Sunday at 1 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium. The team announced Sunday morning that it would be releasing Foster.

According to the arrest report, Foster and a 28-year-old woman were involved in a verbal altercation.  

The alleged victim, who was Foster’s former girlfriend, stated that during the altercation Foster slapped her phone out of her hand, pushed her in the chest area, and slapped her with an open hand on the right side of her face.  

Officers allegedly observed a one inch scratch on the woman’s left collar bone.

During the investigation officers learned that Foster and the victim lived together in the past and they were involved in an on-again-off-again relationship over the past three years.

Foster was charged with one count of first-degree misdemeanor domestic violence and booked into the Hillsborough County Jail. Foster was given a $2,000 bond and no contact order with his ex-girlfriend.

The 49ers’ 1st-round draft pick last year, Foster was charged with domestic violence after an arrest last year and was suspended for two games earlier this season due to those charges.

Domestic violence is classified as any violentaction that is committed against a family or household member.Family or household members can include:

  • Spouses or former spouses
  • Parents, children, stepchildren, and other family members
  • Those who share or formerly shared a common dwelling
  • Those who have a child together
  • Those who share a blood relationship through a child
  • Those who have dated

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A former standout high school quarterback in Tampa Bay is out on bond after being accused of beating his ex-girlfriend.

The 29-year-old is facing domestic battery charges in connection with an incident in Key West earlier this month involving his girlfriend at the time.

According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the man attacked the woman in their hotel room after reading text messages on her phone.

He is accused of punching her several times and knocking her to the ground and stomping on her throat.

The man was released on a $50,000 bond.

After being arrested for domestic battery, it is absolutely vital to the outcome of your case to seek expert legal defense as soon as possible. Domestic battery is a serious crime that involves the harm of a household or family member.

Domestic cases are very sensitive in nature, and all too often involve false accusations as a result of relationship problems. Untruthful statements may be made out of anger, and when police are brought into the matter, there is usually always an arrest made for domestic battery.

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A Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputy was arrested Tuesday after officials claim she got into a physical altercation with her wife.

The alleged incident happened on March 3 at their home.

The alleged 29-year-old victim told officials that her 29-year-old wife forcibly restrained her, causing minor injuries, several times that day after they got into two arguments.

According to the report, the couple first got into a verbal argument which turned physical. The deputy is accused of forcibly restraining the woman by pinning her down against her will in the upstairs bedroom..

The argument subsided and the woman left their home.

Later that evening, the couple got into another argument where the deputy allegedly forcibly restrained her wife several times. According to the report, the deputy  first pushed her wife up against their living room wall, then again in their bedroom, and later pressed the victim’s forearm against her neck causing a restriction in air flow.

According to the report, the wife tried to fight back and received minor bruising to her jaw line, wrist and arms.

The wife contacted the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office on March 6 to report the incidents.

Officials said the deputy admitted to the alleged actions and was arrested and charged with battery by strangulation, domestic violence battery, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

She was also relieved of duty without pay pending an internal review.

A domestic violence or domestic battery conviction can leave you facing serious consequences. You could end up losing your job, your family and spending time behind bars. When the police come to your house and accuse or arrest you for domestic battery, you know that you’re in for an uphill battle.

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A St. Petersburg police officer has been charged with domestic battery.

According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, the man was arrested Monday following an altercation with his live-in girlfriend.

The alleged incident occurred at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday. The man was arrested Sunday.

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The good news is that overall crime is down in Flagler County, but the bad news is that violent crime is up in many categories.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Uniform Crime Report, the rates of rape, aggravated assault, burglaries and stolen vehicles all increase in 2015. There was also one murder in the county, up from zero in 2014.

Flagler County’s sheriff says his deputies have managed to keep the crime rate low for a long time. And despite increases in key categories, the overall crime rate is still down .6 percent.

The increase has been blamed on population growth. In the last four years, the county’s population has grown by about 10 percent.

The sheriff said whenever they start to see a spike in crime in specific areas, they flood the zones with patrols.

Statewide, crime is also up in several categories, although overall crime is down 1.6 percent.

In 2015, the crime rates rose in the following categories:

  • Murder: 5.7 percent
  • Rape: 6.1 percent
  • Fondling: 2.0 percent
  • Aggravated Assault: 3.9 percent
  • Motor vehicle Theft: 12.4 percent

The report also breaks down domestic violence-related crime by category. Overall, domestic violence-related crime is up .5 percent.

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