A Jacksonville Domestic Battery charge is one of the worse misdemeanors that a person can be charged with in Florida. Most misdemeanors do not carry a mandatory sentence. However, Domestic Battery and Driving Under the Influence (DUI) carry a mandatory probation sentence. Under Florida Statute Section 741.281, if a person is either adjudicated guilty of the offense or the adjudication is withheld, he or she must attend the Batterers’ Intervention Program (BIP). While this does not sound too difficult, it can be. BIP is a six month program and can be very expensive. It begins with a $30 fee that is due at orientation. Then, the student must pay $65 for a evaluation. After that, he or she must attend six months of classes that occur once a week. These classes can range anywhere from $10 to $50 depending on the student’s income. The defendant is placed on probation to complete BIP. The probation office charges approximately $60 a month for the cost of supervision. Not to mention, court costs are almost $1000. Thus, the costs can really add up.
While BIP may be the proper solution for some Jacksonville Domestic Battery defendants, it is not a perfect fit for all. However, the law mandates that the court issue BIP for all Florida Domestic Battery guilty or nolo contendere pleas. The court does not have the discretion that it should when it comes to determining a sentence. In order to avoid this, it is important to either get the case dropped, achieve a not guilty verdict at trial, or have the prosecutor agree to amend the charges to a lesser offense, such as simple battery or affray. This should be the goal of any Jacksonville Domestic Battery Lawyer.
Jacksonville, Florida is not the only city that handles domestic battery cases this way. Attorney M. Shawn Matlock, wrote an interesting article that discusses the manner in which Fort Worth Texas deals with Domestic Violence cases.