Fighting the Police Will Not Get You Out of a Domestic Violence Charge
Domestic violence situations often escalate quickly. If you find the police at your door because they suspect you have harmed a family member or loved one, the most critical thing to remember is to remain calm. While you have a constitutional right to remain silent and not answer the police’s questions, under no circumstances should you attempt to provoke or make threats against law enforcement. Such a confrontation will never resolve itself in your favor.
Florida Man Convicted of Felony After Refusing to Comply With DCF Directives, Attacking SWAT Team
Keep in mind that while many domestic violence charges are considered misdemeanors–assuming the prosecution can prove your guilt–battery of a police officer is a third-degree felony. This means that if you even touch a police officer who is lawfully performing his or her duties, you may be sent to prison for five years. So it is never in your best interest to confront the police.
Consider this recent case from northern Florida. The defendant was arrested and charged with battery of a police officer following a domestic violence report initiated by his wife. The wife initially contacted the state’s Department of Children and Families (DCF), alleging the couple’s five-year-old was in danger due to the defendant’s abuse. DCF had previously dealt with the defendant and believed him to be a threat to not only the child, but themselves. Indeed, the wife testified that on the night of her call the defendant “threatened to dismember DCF employees and to throw their body parts into a neighbor’s yard if DCF entered his home.”
Given the situation, DCF requested local police assist them in performing a “welfare check” on the defendant’s child. To make a long story short, the police arrived to find the defendant’s home heavily fortified. The defendant refused to allow DCF to conduct a welfare check. At one point he locked himself and his son inside the house, locking his wife out and telling her she would never see her son again.
The officers eventually sought additional backup from the local SWAT team. Eventually, the defendant was seen leaving the house and entering his backyard. The SWAT team identified itself and ordered the defendant to surrender. He refused, and the SWAT team moved in. During the subsequent scuffle, the defendant “physically fought with the officers before they were able to detain him.”
A jury found the defendant guilty of assaulting a police officer. On appeal, the defendant argued the police illegally entered his backyard to arrest him without first obtaining a warrant. But as the Florida First District Court of Appeal explained, a warrant was unnecessary due to “exigent circumstances,” specifically the police officers’ “objectively reasonable belief that a five-year-old child was in danger.”
In general, the police cannot enter your home to arrest you without first obtaining a warrant. But this rule does not apply when there is a public safety emergency. And the First District noted there was more than enough evidence to conclude there was just such an emergency here, including the defendant’s history of making violent threats against DCF, his failure to cooperate with the welfare check, and the physical injuries to his wife on the night of his arrest.
Contact a Miami Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
Even in a situation where you know that you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, the best thing you can do is keep quiet and contact a qualified Miami criminal defense attorney. You will not clear your name by threatening state employees and refusing to cooperate with lawful police orders. If you need advice or assistance with any criminal defense matter, contact the Law Office of Julia Kefalinos at 305.676.9545 today.