Protective Injunction for Repeat Violence Defense Attorneys in Florida
Defending Against Repeat Violence Injunctions
What is an injunction?
Under Florida law, an injunction, also known as “protective order,” “protective injunction,” or “restraining order,” is an order issued by the court against another individual that legally requires them to refrain from certain actions. If a person violates an injunction, he or she can face serious consequences, including criminal and civil penalties.
There are five types of injunctions in Florida, which include:
- Repeat violence
- Sexual violence
- Domestic violence
- Dating violence
How are each of the above types of injunctions similar to one another?
- The petitioner is the individual who files the petition for injunction against another individual who is known as the respondent.
- The petitioner must sign the petition in front of a notary or court clerk since it is a sworn document.
- The judge may exercise his or her discretion to issue a temporary injunction prior to when a hearing is held on the matter.
- The temporary injunction remains effective until the time when the final hearing is held on the matter.
- A petition is typically served on the respondent by the local sheriff.
- The respondent is entitled to receive notice of the hearing.
- A hearing can be scheduled even if the judge denies the temporary injunction.
- Both parties can bring forth witnesses to testify on their behalf.
- Both parties can also submit evidence to the court to support their case.
- The judge may decide to issue a permanent injunction during the hearing on the matter.
- The injunction, once in place, remains effective permanently or may have an expiration date. If the injunction is permanent, the only way it can be changed is through the court.
- If the respondent violates the injunction, he or she can face jail time, monetary fines, and be held in contempt of court.
What makes a repeat violence injunction unique?
- Requires at least two incidents of stalking or violence by respondent on the petition or one of his or her family members.
- Requires at least one act of violence or stalking within the past six months.
- Petitioner must be in fear that the violence will occur once again.
- The victim of repeat violence or a parent or legal guardian of a child residing at home, may seek to file a petition.
- Protects minors and adults from repeat acts of violence and contact.
- The respondent may be required to surrender ammunition and firearms to local law enforcement should a temporary injunction be issued.
- The respondent must surrender ammunition and firearms to local law enforcement should a permanent repeat violence injunction be issued.
What is repeat violence?
Under Florida law, “violence” means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, or false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death, by a person against any other person. “Repeat violence” means two incidents of violence or stalking committed by the respondent, one of which must have been within six months of the filing of the petition, which are directed against the petitioner or the petitioner’s immediate family member.
Who can file a repeat violence injunction?
In Florida, a victim of repeat violence or the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of a minor who is a victim of repeat violence may file a petition. It is important to understand that those in the following relationships may seek a repeat violence injunction:
- Employers and employees
A person who alleges that they have been the victim of repeat violence must establish that an assault or battery occurred for this type of injunction to be issued against another person. Only having knowledge that an individual has violent tendencies is not enough evidence to support the issuance of an injunction. The alleged victim must have a valid fear that violence is imminent. Simply making obscene hand gestures or shouting at another individual is not sufficient to warrant injunctive relief.
How can a repeat violence injunction be dismissed, vacated, modified, changed, or dissolved, or removed once it is in effect?
A repeat violence injunction can only be changed, modified, vacated, dismissed, or dissolved through the court. To obtain relief from a repeat violence injunction, an individual must establish that the facts underlying the original injunction are no longer in effect such that maintaining the injunction serves no valid purpose.
How does a victim of repeat violence obtain a repeat violence injunction?
Under Florida law, a petitioner must file a Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Repeat Violence with the court in his or her jurisdiction. After the petition has been filed, a judge typically reviews it within a few hours and decides whether to issue a temporary injunction. At this juncture, the judge does not question whether the facts alleged in the petition are true or false, as this is done during the hearing.
Once the judge decides whether or not to issue a temporary injunction against the respondent, the next step is referred to as a “return hearing,” which occurs within fifteen days or less from when the petition was filed. During this time, the judge renders a determination as to whether a permanent repeat violence injunction is warranted based upon the facts and circumstances of the case. It is important to realize that the judge has the discretion to deny both the temporary injunction as well as the subsequent hearing.
What occurs at a repeat violence injunction hearing?
Once the petitioner files the petition, the presiding judge may choose to schedule a hearing, even if the temporary injunction was denied. Note that the petitioner has the burden of establishing that he or she is entitled to a permanent repeat violence injunction based upon the facts and circumstances of the case. The respondent, as well as the petitioner, can support his or her respective positions through submitting evidence to the court such as documentation as well as the testimony of witnesses and law enforcement. Both parties can cross-examine each other as well as the witnesses brought forth in the case. Once all of the evidence has been presented to the judge, he or she renders a decision to either grant or deny the repeat violence injunction. Once a repeat violence injunction has been issued, the respondent is barred from having any further contact with the petitioner and must abide by all of its terms so as to avoid serious criminal and civil repercussions.
What occurs if the respondent violates the terms of a repeat violence injunction?
If a respondent is found to be in violation of a repeat violence injunction, he or she could face criminal misdemeanor or felony charges, both of which depend upon the facts of the case. This means that the respondent could be imprisoned and forced to pay hefty monetary fines to the court. The respondent may also be held in contempt of court, which is a serious civil penalty that could also result in jail time.
Under what circumstances can a petitioner extend a repeat violence injunction that has expired?
A repeat violence injunction can be extended by the petitioner as long as he or she requests said extension prior to when the injunction is set to expire. In determining whether or not to extend a repeat violence injunction, the judge does not require the petitioner to establish that new acts of violence have occurred. Specifically, he or she will examine the facts that supported the original injunction as well as any actions that the respondent has taken which cause the petitioner to fear for his or her safety.
Frequently asked questions about repeat violence injunctions in Florida
What happens when a person files a petition for a repeat violence injunction?
When the petitioner files a petition for a repeat violence injunction, the judge then decides whether to issue a temporary injunction that remains in effect until the hearing. The judge may decide to (i) deny the temporary injunction and schedule a hearing; (ii) grant the temporary injunction and schedule a hearing; or (iii) deny the temporary injunction without holding a hearing.
If the judge issues a temporary injunction against the respondent, he or she must abide by its terms until the hearing date, which includes having no further contact with the petitioner. During the hearing, both parties have the right to present their cases. Should the claims raised in the petition be completely false, misrepresented, or exaggerated, the respondent’s Florida repeat violence defense attorney can seek to have the petition dismissed and the permanent injunction outright denied.
What happens if the respondent fails to challenge the repeat violence petition?
If the respondent does not challenge the petition, then the petitioner has free reign to present his or her cause as uncontested. This may result in the issuance of a repeat violence injunction against the respondent, which can have severe repercussions. This is why it is vital that the respondent contest the petition and work with a seasoned Florida criminal defense attorney to develop the strongest defense possible.
What happens if the court issues a repeat violence injunction after the hearing?
Once the judge orders a repeat violence injunction against the respondent, he or she cannot have any further contact with the petitioner. In essence, the respondent must abide by all of the terms of the injunction or else he or she will face serious civil and criminal consequences. When the injunction is issued, the respondent will be ordered to stay away from the petitioner, and will be barred from being present in places where the petitioner frequents, such as a school or house of worship. The respondent will also be prohibited from being at the petitioner’s residence. The respondent must also surrender to law enforcement any ammunition and firearms in his or her possession. The court can also order the respondent to seek mental health counseling/treatment at his or her own expense.
How long does a repeat violence injunction remain effective?
A repeat violence injunction is effective either permanently or when it expires, if applicable. If it is a permanent injunction, either party must go through the court to have it modified.
The repeat violence injunction indicates that there is to be "no contact" between the respondent and the petitioner. What does “no contact” specifically mean?
“No contact” means that the respondent cannot be in contact with the petitioner, whether directly, indirectly, or through another person such as a friend or family member. For example, if the respondent sends a text to a friend of the petitioner with the intention of this message being passed along to the petitioner, this is in violation of a repeat violence injunction.
How is a repeat violence injunction violated?
A repeat violence injunction is violated when the respondents commits assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, or false imprisonment, or any other criminal offense that results in injury or death, or threatens the petition with any of these actions.
What will happen if a person violates a repeat violence injunction?
If a repeat violence injunction is violated, then the respondent can face serious criminal and civil repercussions. Specifically, the respondent could be held in contempt of court and be sent to prison. He or she may also be ordered to pay hefty monetary fines.
Are repeat violence injunctions part of the public record?
Yes. Repeat violence injunctions are publicly available for review, which means that anyone can access information on the respondent’s criminal history in this regard. This can have devastating consequences for a respondent who may be seeking gainful employment, housing, or a loan.
Can a person appeal a repeat violence injunction?
Yes, a repeat violence injunction can be appealed. Only a skilled Florida criminal defense attorney can properly advise the respondent as to whether or not it is worth appealing the injunction.
Will an expired repeat violence injunction still affect me in the future?
A repeat violence injunction, as mentioned above, is part of the public record and cannot be expunged, even if it has lapsed.
Do I need a Florida criminal attorney to represent me if a petition for a repeat violence injunction has been filed against me?
It is not legally required for a respondent to work with a Florida criminal defense attorney however, it is highly recommended that he or she does so to protect his or her legal rights and interests. Hiring a knowledgeable and experienced criminal law attorney is the best way in which an individual can develop the strongest defense on his or her behalf. In other words, a seasoned attorney knows the ins and outs of the court system as well as all of the laws that apply to the underlying case. This is important if the respondent wants to fight his or her case to the fullest extent of the law, especially if the allegations raised by the petitioner are false, misleading, exaggerated, or misrepresented.
What are the consequences of a repeat violence injunction?
There are many negative implications of a repeat violence injunction which can drastically affect one’s life for years to come, if not permanently. This is why it is vital that a respondent to hire a seasoned Florida criminal defense lawyer who has the skills and experience necessary to fight against the allegations raised by the petitioner.
The major consequences of a repeat violence injunction are as follows:
- No future contact with the petitioner. Once the court issues a repeat violence injunction, the respondent cannot contact the petitioner, whether indirectly, directly, or through a third party such as a family member or friend. It is critical to realize that even innocent or mistaken contact can result in jail time and other serious consequences.
- Damage to one’s livelihood and financial wellbeing. As noted above, a repeat violence injunction becomes part of the public record and cannot be expunged, which means that a lender or prospective employer can access the respondent’s criminal background in this regard at any time.
- The respondent must surrender to law enforcement all ammunition and firearms, and may be permanently barred from purchasing ammunition and firearms in the future.
- Social stigma. Since anyone can access the respondent’s criminal background and learn that he or she has an injunction against him or her, he or she may be discriminated against by others. This can cause the respondent to experience depression and he or she may choose to isolate himself or herself to avoid the social stigma associated with a repeat violence injunction.
Contact Musca Law Today to Learn More About Your Legal Rights and Options
Facing the prospects of a repeat violence injunction can be frightening, as an active injunction can negatively affect your life in several serious ways. When you hire a seasoned Florida criminal defense attorney at Musca Law, he or she will help you to challenge a repeat violence injunction to the fullest extent of the law. Our firm’s attorneys are among The National Trial Lawyers – Top 100 Trial Lawyers, included in the 2012 Florida Super Lawyers® for criminal defense, and boast 10.0 Superb Avvo ratings. Our attorneys are skilled, experienced, tenacious, and relentless when it comes to defending our clients. To learn more about how Musca Law can make a difference for you, call (888) 484-5057 today.
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