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Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyer / Blog / Criminal Defense / What Happens During Cross-Examination in a Florida Domestic Violence Hearing?

What Happens During Cross-Examination in a Florida Domestic Violence Hearing?


If your significant other is pursuing a domestic violence injunction in Florida, they may decide to testify. Otherwise known as “taking the stand,” this involves speaking under oath. In most cases, they will describe the alleged domestic violence that you have committed. Although this testimony can help them achieve an injunction, there is a notable downside: They may be “cross-examined” by your domestic violence defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale. What exactly is cross-examination, and how can it help you?

What Is Cross-Examination in Florida? 

Cross-examination occurs after a witness’ initial testimony, or “direct examination.” After the witness speaks and answers questions for their lawyer and/or the judge, they will face a separate set of questions from the opposing side’s lawyer. For example, a domestic violence petitioner might recall the moment(s) where you committed the alleged acts of alleged domestic violence. They might also describe issues with the relationship, how you met, and their feelings. The petitioner’s lawyer might ask them additional questions, helping tell their side of the story.

After their lawyer is finished, your defense lawyer will have a chance to ask the petitioner another set of questions. This is called “cross-examination.”

How Can Cross-Examination Help Me in a Domestic Violence Case?

 When carried out by an experienced domestic violence lawyer, cross-examination calls out discrepancies and casts doubt upon the petitioner’s testimony. Your defense lawyer might point out holes in their story. For example, the petitioner might have described an incident that took place on a specific day. Your lawyer might point out that the incident could not have happened on that day, since you were away visiting family at the time. Your lawyer might also expose biases or conflicts of interest that make the witness’s testimony unreliable. Perhaps your ex has a personal vendetta against you – and a clear reason to fabricate claims of domestic violence.

Keep in mind that the petitioner is often coached by their lawyer before taking the stand. They might have been instructed to dodge certain questions or provide pre-determined answers. This might make it challenging to expose the truth, but an experienced defense attorney can break through these barriers. While coaching can help, the witness is still under oath. They cannot avoid uncomfortable questions, and they must answer to the best of their ability.  An experienced domestic violence lawyer can get those answers out of a difficult witness.

Cross-Examination Is Just One Aspect of a Defense Strategy 

While cross-examination can certainly be effective, it only represents one aspect of an effective defense strategy. Your lawyer can also help you take advantage of other techniques. If there is insufficient evidence of your domestic violence, the case may not make it past the preliminary stages. Remember, your accuser shoulders the “burden of proof” in this situation. If they cannot prove you committed domestic violence, you will not face any further consequences.

Work With a Qualified Domestic Violence Lawyer in Florida 

If you are being accused of domestic violence in Florida, it is best to contact a lawyer sooner rather than later. The sooner you connect with a Fort Lauderdale domestic violence lawyer, the sooner you can get started with an effective defense strategy. Cross-examining the petitioner is only one potential pathway to a positive outcome. To discuss your legal options in more detail, be sure to book a consultation with us at your earliest convenience.




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