Women and Criminal Defense

Historically, women were not always the viewed as "capable of committing crimes." That view changed, however, as views on women, as well as women's positions in society, have changed. During the height of the "tough on crime" stance in the U.S., which was characterized by mandatory minimums and three strike laws, approximately four percent (4%) of inmates in state and federal prisons were women.

By 2011, women represented about seven percent (7%) of the state and federal prison population. Many of the women in prison are there because of drug related crimes. The most recent Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) report showed that about fourteen percent (14%) of violent offenders are women. The remaining non-violent offenses women commit include DUIs and property related crimes.

Moreover, the reasons why women commit crimes are often due to past physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. Approximately eighty-five (85%) of women have reported suffering from intimate partner violence. Women also find themselves being charged as accomplices to crimes due to the acts of boyfriends, lovers, and spouses.

Attorney for Women Charged with Crimes in Fort Lauderdale, FL

While many women commit crimes for the same reasons that men do, there is a substantial number of women who have been subject to mental, physical, and emotional abuse, and as a result commit crimes. Having an experienced attorney who is also a woman may allow women an avenue of support to express their sides of the story and get the help that they need.

The Partners at Bacchus Law Firm formed the Florida Women's Law Center (FWLC) to provide the women in their community assistance in navigating an often confusing and convoluted legal system. Our office is located in Downtown Fort Lauderdale and we represent women charged with crimes throughout South Florida in Miami, LaBelle, West Palm Beach, East Naples, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Contact our office at (954) 500-5555 now for more information and to set up a no obligations consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

Overview of Women and Criminal Defense in Broward County

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Types of Crimes Women Commit

Women may make up a small percentage of the overall prison population, but their numbers are growing at a very fast rate. Reports show that women commit more non-violent crimes, however, women still represent a significant percentage of people charged with violent crimes.

Some of the crimes the Florida Women's Law Center represent women in include the following:

The many reasons women commit crimes is yet unknown, however, violence against women and mental and emotional anguish are just a few of the known causes for the increase in female incarceration rate.

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Why Women Commit Crimes?

Women are human and commit crimes for all kinds of reasons, both known and unknown. Statistics on women incarcerated in state and federal prisons shed some light, however, on why many women commit crimes.

  • According to the 2014 BJS Report, approximately eight out of every ten (8/10) female inmates reported physical or sexual abuse.
  • Fifty-seven percent (57.2%) of females reported abuse before being admitted to state prison.
  • Nearly six out of ten (6/10) women in state prisons reported that they had experienced physical or sexual abuse in the past.
  • Sixty-nine percent (69%) of inmates reported that such physical or sexual assault occurred before age 18.

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Additional Resources

Statistics on Women in the Justice System (2014) – Visit the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia, a Federal agency providing adult supervision on probation, parole, and supervised release, for more information on a study done on women offenders in 2014. The study, created by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) looked at women who committed felonies and misdemeanors at the state and federal level. The Study also broke down the race and age of incarcerated women over a period of time and also reported on inmates who had been victims of previous physical or sexual abuse.

The Female Inmate – Visit Online Sunshine, the official website of the Florida Legislature to find more information on a 2000 report created by the Florida House of Representatives Criminal Justice & Corrections Council Committee, which examined Florida female offenders, the problems and remedies of female inmates, female inmate services, and Florida's policies and procedures.

Battered Woman's Syndrome: Setting a Standard In Florida -- Sandra M. Sandler published an article in the Nova Law Review regarding Dr. Lenore E. Walker's theories on Battered Woman's Syndrome. The article summarizes the psychological theories of learned helpless as it applies to battered women. It also gives a history of Battered Woman's Syndrome in the Courtroom by explaining its legal use as an impaired mental capacity defense. 

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Find an Attorney for Criminal Defense for Women in Broward County, FL

If you or a woman you know is in need of an experienced and zealous criminal defense attorney dedicated to women's issues and providing women with access to stellar legal services throughout South Florida, then contact the attorneys at the Florida Women's Law Center.

Our mission is to provide women access to an attorney who understands and empathizes with their issues and who will fight for the best possible result. Our office is located in Downtown Fort Lauderdale, Florida and we take cases in Broward County, Collier County, Palm Beach County, Hendry County, and Miami-Dade County, Florida.

Call (954) 500-5555 now to set up a one-on-one consultation with one of our experienced criminal defense lawyers.

This article was last updated on Wednesday, June 28, 2017.

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