COVID-19 & Domestic Violence in Hillsborough County

Like the rest of the country, many in Tampa are waiting out the coronavirus pandemic the best they can. And with a “Safer at Home” order in place for all of Hillsborough County, thousands will soon be ordered home and more businesses shuddered.

It is hard to gauge the full impact of COVID-19, but it can feel as though the world is standing still. But for those moving through Florida’s justice system, these delays have real and potentially devastating consequences.

While Chief Judge Ronald Ficarrotta issued an Administrative Order on March 18th to postpone and reschedule most court proceedings, this didn’t cease all court functions. Arrests are still happening, particularly for domestic violence, and in this time of uncertainty, it’s never been more important to protect your rights.

As a former prosecutor in the State Attorney’s Office in Tampa, attorney Brett Metcalf knows the system you’ve been confronted with and how to guide you through this uniquely challenging time.  If you or a loved one have been charged with domestic assault, Metcalf Falls, Criminal Defense Attorneys, P.A can explain what’s going on and help you effectively deal with the situation.

Call (813) 258-4800 for a free and confidential consultation. Though we are working remotely, we are fully-operational! We also set up a 24/7 virtual answering service to take incoming calls at any time of day.

COVID-19 Domestic Violence Charges

Domestic violence means using unlawful force against a family or household member. For a Domestic Violence Injunction, that violence does not need to be physical. It also includes psychological, emotional, and mental abuse in the form of verbal threats, to the extent that it gives the abused person a reasonable fear of physical harm.

Unfortunately, when unemployment rates rise and isolation sets in under quarantine, domestic violence calls also increase. This means more domestic violence arrests.

Officers treat potential domestic violence calls seriously under normal circumstances, and when they arrive at the scene, they will usually arrest someone. Sometimes they misread the situation or arrest the wrong person.

Penalties & No Contact Orders Under Quarantine

A domestic violence conviction can mean jail time, fines, and a possible no-contact order against the alleged victims. Certainly, no one wants to serve a jail sentence, but spending any time in custody, currently has the added danger of further exposure to the coronavirus.

Aside from potential time behind bars, someone charged with domestic violence may be ordered to refrain from contacting the victim either directly or through a third party. This can include staying away from the home you share. Therefore, you could be displaced from the very house the government is specifically compelling you to take shelter in.

Legal Options & How an Attorney Can Help

Dealing with domestic violence charges can feel overwhelming in light of the current situation. But it is important to remember that you still have rights and options. You just need to act fast.

You won’t be thrown in jail until everything blows over, and you’ll be given a chance to respond to the allegations. It’s just critical that you don’t delay because there is plenty a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer can due, despite the court closures.

The following are still being conducted via video proceedings:

  • First appearance hearings
  • Bond reduction hearings
  • Misdemeanor arraignments
  • Any hearings deemed being an emergency by the presiding judge

In addition, it may be possible to have a no-contact order lifted since these hearings can still take place by either teleconference or by written submission.  Therefore, if you share the same household with the alleged victim and the prosecutor agrees there’s not a substantial risk, a judge may allow you to return.

Arrested for Domestic Violence in Tampa? Call Brett Metcalf

Dealing with criminal charges with so much going on is intimidating, and it’s too important to let things slip through the cracks. That makes it essential to get quality and experienced legal help immediately.

Attorney Metcalf has a long and successful track record of helping people deal with Tampa domestic violence charges quickly, discreetly, and most importantly favorably. Let us discuss what happened and how we can help.  Call (813) 258-4800 or contact us online for a free telephone consultation.