Domestic Violence harms individuals, families, our community and the economy. An average of 5,100 misdemeanor domestic violence and injunction violation cases are filed annually in Miami-Dade County. The goal of the Domestic Violence Court is to prioritize misdemeanor domestic violence and injunction violation cases based on the prevalent risks factors involved. The State Attorney’s office has a “no-drop” policy and proceeds with prosecution with or without the victim.
Domestic Violence Criminal Case Flow
- Arrest: Florida law mandates that all defendants arrested for a crime of domestic violence must be held overnight.
- Bond Hearing: Bond calendars are held at 11:00 am daily. A public defender is appointed for eligible defendants. The Court determines custody status and release conditions. Defendant may post a bond, be released to Pretrial Services, or released into a GPS monitoring program. The Court will impose a Stay Away order prohibiting direct or indirect contact with the victim.
- Arraignment: At arraignment, the defendant pleads to the charges. A defendant may plead either guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Pretrial diversion (referral to the batterer’s intervention programs, substance abuse treatment, parenting classes and/or mental health counseling) may be offered by the State Attorney’s Office. If the State certifies “no Jail”, the defendant is no longer entitled to a public defender and must hire a private attorney if he/she wants a lawyer to represent him/her.
- Sounding: This is the calendar call for trial to determine if both sides are ready.
- Trial: If defendant is found not guilty the Court enters a judgment of acquittal. If found guilty, defendant will receive a minimum mandatory sentence of 12 months reporting probation, and special conditions which may include, assessment and treatment for batterers intervention program, substance abuse treatment, mental health counseling, parenting course, court costs and fines.
- Judicial Review: Case monitoring through Judicial Review calendars ensure defendant accountability and keep judges informed as to treatment progress and compliance with diversion or probation.
- Probation Violation Hearings: Defendants who are not in compliance with their probation requirements, they are set on a Probation Violation calendar. Once a probation violation affidavit is filed by the Advocate Program, an Arrest Warrant is issued and the case is set for a probation violation hearing.
Victims can be heard regarding the Stay Away Order by attending the bond calendar or filing a motion with the Clerk’s office in Room 142 Courthouse Center.
Domestic Violence Specialized Calendars:
- Domestic Violence Drug Court (DVDC): Participation in DVDC requires batterers who are court ordered to attend substance abuse treatment as a condition of their probation, as a condition of a diversion program or as part of an injunction for protection to attend frequent court calendars to ensure compliance. Batterers participating in DVDC are subject to random in-court drug testing.
- DV Mental Health Calendar: This calendar is for DV defendants with mental health issues. Treatment is monitored through reports from mental health providers.
Important telephone numbers
- 24-Hour Miami-Dade County Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 500-1119
Certified Domestic Violence Shelters
- Safe space Shelter North (305) 758-2546
- Safe space Shelter South (305) 247-4249
- The Lodge (305) 693-1170
Other Important Numbers
- State Attorney*s Office (305) 349-5830
- Public Defender*s Office (305) 679-1900
- Office of the Clerk of Court (305) 349-5640
- Advocate Program (Probation department) (305) 649-8422
- Miami-Dade Corrections Pretrial Services (786) 263-4158
- Miami-Dade Corrections – GPS monitoring (786) 263-4826
- Court programs Inc. – GPS monitoring (305) 549-7170
- Court Options – SCRAM alcohol monitoring (305) 891-5330 ext. 102