Completion of a Batterers’ Intervention Program as a Condition of Probation
Being convicted of or pleading guilty to domestic violence can have far-reaching consequences for the parties involved, including potential jail time, probation, and the mandatory completion of a Batterers’ Intervention Program (BIP). BIPs are a form of pretrial intervention program that require participants to attend six months of group counseling sessions and comply with a host of other rules. To learn more about whether you are required to participate in one of Florida’s pretrial intervention programs, please call an experienced Seminole domestic violence lawyer today.
In addition to a minimum one year term of probation, those who have been convicted of domestic violence in Florida will also be ordered to attend a Batterers’ Intervention Program as one of the conditions of probation. BIPs are six month intensive programs that are intended to address the causes of domestic violence and prevent similar acts in the future. These programs are typically 29 weeks in length and consist of an initial assessment, where the program administrators will attempt to determine whether a person requires substance abuse or mental health treatment. At this point, the participant will be asked to sign a contract, or an admission of responsibility and a promise to adhere to program requirements. After an orientation, the participants will then be required to attend at least 26 weeks of group counseling. Each of these sessions last around 1.5 hours each
Eligibility for the Program
Only certain individuals qualify for Batterers’ Intervention Programs, including those who:
- Have been found guilty of a crime of domestic violence;
- Have had adjudication withheld on a domestic violence offense; or
- Have pled nolo contendere to a charge of domestic violence.
Although courts are generally required to order defendants to attend a Batterers’ Intervention Program, they can choose not to do so, but only if they believe that such an order would be inappropriate and also explain their reasoning on the record.
The Consequences of Failing to Complete the Program
Florida residents who have been ordered to complete a Batterers’ Intervention Program must attend all required sessions and classes. Those who fail to do so can be terminated from the program, which could be considered a violation of the terms of probation. Violation could, in turn, result in the offender’s arrest and potential jail time. Fortunately, it is possible to avoid these penalties when there are certain extenuating circumstances, in which case, the participant should call the program’s administrator as well as his or her attorney as soon as possible. Of course, individuals who have already missed sessions and are facing legal trouble as a result should also be sure to speak with their attorney immediately.
Call Today to Speak with a Florida Domestic Violence Attorney
If you were arrested for domestic violence or a related offense, please call Reep Coleman & Stubbendorff at 727-330-6502 today for an initial consultation. You can also reach a member of our experienced Seminole domestic violence legal team by sending an email to email@example.com today.