Domestic Violence

In St. Petersburg, Bernstein Law stands as a beacon of hope and strength for victims of domestic violence. Derek Bernstein is a family law attorney committed to providing immediate, compassionate, and robust legal support.

Our approach is not just about legal representation; it’s about offering a safe haven and a path to security and justice. With a deep understanding of Florida’s domestic violence laws, Bernstein Law is here to protect your rights and well-being, ensuring your voice is heard and respected.



When most people think of domestic violence in Florida they think about a boyfriend and girlfriend getting into a physical fight. While it does include the too common physical altercations it can also include, spousal abuse, elder abuse, child abuse, child neglect, emotional abuse, stalking etc.
What is Domestic Violence?
To be a “domestic” violence situation, it differs from just violence in that the relationship must include:

  • Spousal
  • Separated or divorced
  • People who live together
  • Dating
  • Children in common

Because of these special relationships the Courts take these types of violence a lot more seriously.

Domestic violence, Divorce and Child Custody
A lot of the time these activities intertwine. Sometimes the domestic violence is a setting off point for divorce proceedings to start. When/if the person is convicted of Domestic Violence, it can have an effect on the time sharing of the parent found guilty of domestic violence. Another factor in domestic violence that is weighed very heavily is if the child(ren) were present during this time period.

Domestic violence and gun rights
If just served with an injunction, upon service of the injunction, if so ordered, the respondent must surrender all firearms and ammunition to the police, obtain a receipt of surrender, and file the receipt with the court. § 790.233(1); 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(8).

Surrender of firearms is mandatory in domestic violence injunction cases; however, the court may order surrender of firearms in repeat, sexual, or dating violence injunction cases where the issue was presented or discussed during the hearing. Blaylock v. Zeller, 932 So. 2d 479 (Fla. 5th DCA 1996). Note: There are procedures for the return of firearms after a valid injunction has expired. These procedures may vary from circuit to circuit; please contact your circuit for more information regarding return of firearm procedures.

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is prohibited from issuing a license to carry concealed weapons or firearms where the applicant has had adjudication of guilt withheld or imposition of sentence suspended on any felony or misdemeanor crime of domestic violence unless 3 years have elapsed since probation or any other conditions set by the court have been fulfilled, or the record has been sealed or expunged. § 790.06(2)(k).

A license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm may not be issued to a person subject to a current injunction for protection against domestic or repeat violence. § 790.06(2)(l).

Owning or possessing a firearm by one who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence is also punishable under federal law §18 USC 922.

What happens to the charges if the people forgive one another?
Once charges are filed for Domestic Violence, it is at the sole discretion of the State Attorney to prosecute such claim. In rare circumstances even if both parties forgive and makeup, the State Attorney could choose to pursue the charges and on even rarer circumstances get a conviction. Attorney Derek Bernstein on one occasion as a Certified Legal Intern with the State Attorney’s Office in Hillsborough County Florida got a conviction when one party didn’t even show up to court. Hence why it is important to still have an attorney for these charges who has experience in this area of law.

If you need more information on Domestic Violence, Domestic Violence Injunctions and Family Law
If you need to speak to an attorney for a free consultation regarding domestic violence please reach out to Attorney Derek Bernstein via email at or by calling his cellphone at 407-405-4684 to schedule an appointment.

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