Dating Violence Injunction Defense Lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Injunctions for dating violence in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, are also referred to as “restraining orders” and orders for protection. Dating violence injunctions in Fort Lauderdale occur due to domestic disputes between former and current romantic partners. Accordingly, dating violence injunctions under Florida law have a narrower scope than other injunctions that victims can pursue. Nevertheless, dating violence injunctions are appropriate when there is a violent episode between two individuals that could entail one person committing attempted assault, assault, attempted battery, battery, stalking, and sexual violence.
Dating violence injunctions are not limited to domestic violence injunctions. Meaning, the two individuals do not have to have a child together or live together. Any two people linked together in a former or current relationship can seek an injunction to prevent dating violence, in addition to children, siblings, and parents.
The main difference between injunctions to prevent dating violence and domestic violence relates to the type of relationship between the two parties. To be eligible for a dating violence injunction, the parties must have been involved in a relationship of a romantic nature within the six months prior to when the court issued the dating violence injunction.
It is extremely difficult to oppose a dating violence injunction. Specifically, judges in Fort Lauderdale take dating violence and domestic violence very seriously. The prosecution does as well. As such, those accused of dating violence must understand the serious nature of these matters. Many individuals have been brutally injured or even killed by scorned lovers and dating partners. No one wants incidents of dating violence to occur again. However, it is important to note that people are often falsely accused of dating violence due to the fact that petitioners seek to exact revenge on a former or current partner.
People who face dating violence injunctions should defend themselves vigorously because dating violence injunctions significantly affect one’s freedom. In addition, even one violation of the terms of the injunction order could result in criminal prosecution, monetary fines, imprisonment, and probation, despite the fact that a dating violence injunction is a civil remedy. Hence, a person who is served with notice from the court that a dating violence injunction has been sought against him or her should contact a skilled Fort Lauderdale Dating Violence Injunction Defense Attorney.
The Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense and Dating Violence Injunction Defense Attorneys with Musca Law are widely respected throughout Florida for their stellar reputation and ability to obtain favorable results in many cases. We fight hard on behalf of our clients to safeguard their rights in civil and criminal court when their liberty is at stake.
Each time a judge orders a person to refrain from doing something or to do something, constitutional rights are negatively affected. Judges have the discretion to prohibit individuals from talking to others, attending certain events, and being present at certain locations. Judges also have the authority to order a person to surrender his or her ammunition and firearms.
At Musca Law, we pride ourselves on being immediately responsive to our clients’ needs, acting fast, and obtaining just results. Our legal staff is available 24 hours per day and seven days a week to start defending your case. Call Musca Law today at (888) 484-5057 to obtain the legal help you need to defend against a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Dating Violence Injunction.
The Five Injunctions for Protection in Broward County Florida
Under Florida law, judges have the discretion to order injunctions for protection, each of which depends upon the facts and circumstances of the underlying case. A person who was threatened or victimized by another individual may seek an injunction for protection in a Fort Lauderdale court.
There are five types of injunctions, which are as follows:
- Dating Violence Injunctions;
- Domestic Violence Injunctions;
- Sexual Violence Injunctions;
- Stalking Injunctions; and
- Repeat Violence Injunctions.
The individual who files the necessary documentation asking for protection from harm is referred to under Florida law as the petitioner, while the person against whom the protection is sought is called the respondent. The petitioner must (i) file the appropriate document, known as the petition, (ii) specify the type of injunction he or she is seeking, and (iii) summarize in detail the factual basis to support the need for an injunction against the respondent. A judge sitting in a Fort Lauderdale court will review the petition after it is filed.
Public policy in Florida favors protecting victims from crimes. Hence, the petitioner has the upper hand when requesting an injunction for protection and going to court. When the judge reviews the petition, he or she determines whether to issue a temporary injunction, also referred to under Florida law as a temporary restraining order. If the judge approves the temporary injunction, he or she must assign the case a hearing date no more than fifteen days after the temporary injunction is approved. At this stage, the respondent may not even be aware that the petitioner sought an against him or her. The court must then order that the respondent receive notice of the injunction and the applicable hearing date. Service of process is typically done by the county sheriff’s office. However, once the sheriff’s office delivers the notice of injunction in a way that satisfies Florida law, the respondent is “on notice” of the injunction. At this point, the respondent must obey the judge’s order. If not, the respondent could suffer severe consequences.
At this juncture, the respondent should act quickly to safeguard his or her legal rights by contacting a well-respected and qualified Fort Lauderdale Dating Violence Injunction Defense and Criminal Defense lawyer. Any delay in seeking competent counsel will seriously hinder the respondent’s ability to challenge the petitioner’s claims.
Dating Violence Definition in Florida
Dating violence is defined by the Florida Legislature under §784.046(1)(d) of the Florida Statutes, which means any act of violence between two people who were or are currently in a continuing and significant relationship that is romantic or intimate. The court will look at three factors when trying to determine if a relationship meets the definition of “dating” in the context of dating violence:
- Did the relationship occur within the six months prior to when the petitioner filed for a Fort Lauderdale dating violence injunction?
- How do the parties describe their relationship? Did it involve the expectation of affection or a sexual relationship? and
- Was the relationship continuously judged by the type and frequency of their interaction?
Judges often order temporary injunctions to preserve the status quo when the petition is filed. However, judges in Fort Lauderdale are fully aware of the serious nature of issuing a dating violence injunction. As such, they will carefully review the petition and pay special attention to the evidence presented by the petitioner. In other words, they examine the petition to determine whether it meets the burden of proving the existence of dating violence. If a petition has been filed against you, it is critical that you hire a skilled Fort Lauderdale Criminal and Dating Violence Injunction Attorney who has a proven record of success in these types of cases.
Allegations Alone are Not Enough for the Court to Order a Dating Violence Injunction
The most significant challenge lies in persuading the judge to issue a dating violence injunction to prevent further abuse. In so doing, the petitioner, in addition to having to prove the existence of a relationship between him or her and the respondent, must provide evidence of the following:
- The petitioner was a victim of dating violence in the near past;
- The petitioner has a reasonable belief that he or she will be subject of further acts of dating violence;
- The petitioner credibly believes that he or she will be harmed, even if no previous violence has occurred before; or
- The petitioner is the parent or guardian of a child who still lives in the family home and who has been the victim of dating violence or has a reasonable belief that he or she will be harmed.
There is no requirement for the petitioner to pursue criminal charges against the respondent in order to obtain a dating violence injunction in Fort Lauderdale however, criminal charges often accompany injunction cases.
If a minor is subject to dating violence, a parent or guardian must have witnessed the violence if the petitioner, respondent, and minor child live together. It is possible for third parties to submit affidavits attesting to what they witnessed if the petitioner filing on behalf of a minor child did not witness the acts firsthand.
The Procedural Requirements for Obtaining a Fort Lauderdale Dating Violence Injunction
A comprehensive understanding of Florida law of injunctions and criminal law is essential for attorneys who represent clients facing abuse allegations, even in the absence of criminal charges. Respondents who are facing the prospects of a dating violence injunction should be informed as much as possible about the court’s procedures to successfully defend against the allegations.
The process begins when the petitioner files the appropriate petition in a Fort Lauderdale court. The petitioner fills out all of the required documentation and may submit evidence to supplement the petition, including photographs or medical records.
Afterwards, the judge quickly examines all of the necessary paperwork. Injunction matters are serious and urgent given that the petitioner is asserting that he or she is in imminent danger of harm. The court can, and often does, issue a temporary injunction to ensure that things do not become worse before the final hearing is held.
Next, the respondent is served by the local sheriff’s office with the petition, temporary injunction, as well as the date and time of the final hearing. The respondent must follow all of the terms of the provisions provided in the temporary order.
The final hearing, unless the respondent requests for more time, will happen fifteen days after the judge issues the temporary injunction. Many people who represent themselves in these proceedings do not realize that they have the ability to request that the court provide them with a continuance of the hearing. The court will maintain the temporary injunction for the entire time period prior to the final hearing.
At the final hearing, both parties have the ability to present their arguments along with exhibits and witness testimony. At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge will enter an order either granting or denying the dating violence injunction. It is important to note that respondents are in a better position if they have a skilled and experienced lawyer present to represent their interests.
The final hearing is the best opportunity for the respondent to safeguard his or her legal rights. At the final hearing, the respondent may impeach the petitioner’s credibility through cross-examination, the presentation of evidence, both physical and documentary, and call witnesses to the stand.
The respondent has the right to take the stand if he or she wants. However, a skilled attorney must discuss with his or her client the ramifications of doing so. During the hearing, the petitioner must present his or her factual allegations, which if believed, could convict the respondent of a violent crime in a separate criminal proceeding. Since the respondent has the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, the respondent does not have to testify. In most cases, it is advantageous for the respondent to allow his or her attorney to aggressively fight on his or her behalf rather than taking the witness stand.
Severe Consequences of a Dating Violence Injunction in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
A petition for a dating violence injunction is a civil – not criminal – proceeding. However, an injunction case is similar to a criminal proceeding in many ways. This is why it is critical to hire a skilled Florida Dating Violence Injunction Defense Attorney to help safeguard your legal rights and interests, as well as develop the strongest defense case on your behalf. Otherwise, the court has the discretion to restrict the respondent’s ability to move freely, to engage in communication with certain people, and may also order the respondent to seek mental health counseling, just as if the respondent was subject to probation. The court has the latitude to order these conditions, as well as others without the respondent having been convicted of dating violence by a standard of reasonable doubt by a jury of his or her peers.
Facing a permanent injunction will adversely affect many aspects of the daily life of the respondent. The individual must always live with the requirement of complying with the terms of the injunction. Moreover, the judge who presides over the matter has the ability to prevent dating violence by taking certain steps necessary to prevent future violence by issuing a dating violence injunction. The court, in essence, has the ability to order the respondent to:
- Review hearings — which are open to the public — in order to maintain in contact with the respondent and monitor whether he or she is complying with the terms of the injunction;
- Submit to a mental health evaluation at the respondent’s sole expense, and attend treatment, if the court determines that it is necessary;
- Keep away from the petitioner at all times;
- Have no contact, whether directly or through a third party, with the petitioner and any other person included in the order (sometimes the respondent’s child(ren), if shared with the petitioner); and
- Surrender all firearms and ammunition to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office or another law enforcement agency.
There are various negative repercussions associated with a permanent injunction. Any violation of the terms of an injunction could cause the respondent to face criminal charges, which could result in imprisonment, monetary fines, and probation. A conviction of a crime appears on the accused’s public record. Moreover, being sentenced to prison after a conviction of a crime means that the respondent could lose his or her job and be alienated by friends and family.
Additionally, there are many collateral consequences associated with an injunction against dating violence. Specifically, the respondent could be deemed as an abuser. This could lead to issues finding gainful employment, purchasing or renting a home, or attend school, given that the existence of an injunction will appear in public records searches.
Moreover, the respondent may be required to find a new place to live if he or she shares a home with the petitioner.
The Procedure to Terminate, Modify, or Extend an Injunction for Protection Against Dating Violence in Fort Lauderdale
Injunctions that seek to prevent dating violence last forever unless the judge issues an order with a termination date. Keep in mind however, that either party has the ability to modify or terminate the injunction based upon circumstances that have changed. The judge also has the sole discretion to modify the terms of the injunction and terminate it if there is good cause to do so.
If the respondent wishes to terminate the injunction, he or she must file a written motion with the court. The respondent must establish in pleadings that the reasons underlying the injunction do not exist any further, or that continued adherence to the terms of the dating violence injunction is now obsolete or impractical.
The petitioner could also request the court to extend a dating violence injunction. He or she must submit pleadings to the court asking it to extend the injunction. The petitioner must file a motion with the court before the date of the injunction is supposed to end.
Develop a Strong Defense with Musca Law’s Dating Violence Injunction Defense Attorneys Today
Musca Law’s Fort Lauderdale defense attorneys fully comprehend the disruption facing a dating violence injunction in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, could have on someone’s life. However, our lawyers know from experience that taking the time to prepare a defense carefully and thoroughly will help you achieve a more advantageous outcome than showing up to court unprepared and without counsel or a plan. Call Musca Law today at (888) 484-5057 to find out how we can work with you to mount a successful defense to an injunction for protection against dating violence in Fort Lauderdale today.