Lawyers for Defense of Protection Injunctions in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (FL)
Injunctions for Protection in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (FL)
A temporary injunction, also known as a restraining order, is granted by a judge to protect another person from contact, harm, or wrongdoing. Legally, the person who seeks the injunction is the petitioner. The party against whom the injunction is issued is known as the respondent. In some cases, each party could be both the petitioner and respondent. These are what the court refers to as “cross-complaints” or “cross-motions.” It is important to understand that being named as a respondent in a Fort Lauderdale complaint is a serious matter that can have severe legal repercussions in the respondent’s life. As such, it is critical to work with a seasoned Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney who is experienced at assisting the respondent in developing the strongest defense strategy possible.
When a petitioner requests the court to issue an order for injunctive relief, the presiding judge first decides whether to issue a temporary injunction against the respondent. The judge bases this determination on the facts raised in the petition. Keep in mind that the facts can be misrepresented, exaggerated, or completely false. For example, some people file a petition as a way to seek revenge on the respondent, or to gain the upper hand in a civil matter such as a family law case. Having a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney can help the respondent protect his or her legal rights as well as protect his or her children from the restrictions imposed by a temporary or permanent injunction.
Severe Potential Consequences for Violating an Injunction for Protection in Broward County, Florida
A violation of an injunctive order may result in the police charging the respondent with a crime. Oftentimes, a conviction for the willful and knowing violation of an injunction for protection from violence or other type of injunction may carry with it a one-year jail term, which is associated with a first-degree misdemeanor conviction. However, given the facts and circumstances of the case, the court may order the respondent to serve a prison term of five years, which is associated with a third-degree felony conviction.
Types of Injunctive Relief in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Domestic Violence Injunctions in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
A judge can order an injunction requiring the respondent to cease certain behavior that may give rise to domestic violence. Domestic violence is a term that is specifically defined under Florida law. Otherwise stated, it is a particular category of actions that occur between two individuals who meet the definition of having a domestic relationship. Therefore, an act of domestic violence can be a number of different criminal acts such as assault, battery, false imprisonment, kidnapping, or some other action that can result in physical harm or death.
The domestic violence must be directed to a household member or family member, or satisfy other conditions. A threat to commit any of the above actions qualify for injunctive relief under the law. The judge also has the discretion to issue an injunction if the petitioner reasonably fears that he or she will be a victim of domestic violence.
The second prong of domestic violence in Florida refers to the nature of the relationship between the petitioner and respondent. Specifically, to obtain an injunction against domestic violence, the parties must be in a certain type of relationship to qualify for the order. These relationships include those who reside together or have lived together, or they have a child or children in common. If the parties have a child or children in common, they do not need to reside with one another for a judge to issue a domestic violence injunction.
Injunctions to Protect Against Dating Violence
Dating violence is similar to domestic violence. An injunction to protect a person from dating violence seeks to prevent the respondent from harming or threatening to harm the petitioner. A dating violence injunction will only be issued if the parties have a dating or romantic relationship. The judge has the discretion to order a restraining order as long as the parties were involved in a dating relationship for six months prior to whether the petitioner applies for an injunction.
Injunctions to Prevent Stalking
In Florida, stalking refers to behavior that is either malicious, intentional, or repetitive harassment, or the ongoing following of the petitioner. A victim of stalking can file a petition for an injunction against stalking. The victim of stalking can also request the police to pursue criminal charges against the respondent for stalking. Most incidents of stalking do not involve strangers, although this is possible. Specifically, the majority of stalking victims know the person who is seeking to harass or follow them.
Keep in mind that stalking may also involve cyberstalking, which is defined as threats or other illegitimate communications without any legitimate purpose that causes a person severe emotional distress. Electronic communications encompass a wide range of interpersonal communication made through email, text message, or via social media direct messenger platforms.
An Injunction to Prevent Repeat Violence
Two instances of violence or stalking can result in the petitioner filing an injunction against repeat violence. This repeat violence injunction can be granted by the judge if one of the two required acts occurred within six months before the petitioner filed the petition against the respondent.
An Injunction to Prevent Sexual Violence
A judge may grant an injunction to prevent sexual violence even if a companion criminal case is dismissed or even if the police never filed charges against the respondent. Specifically, this type of injunction is often accompanied with an investigation for sexual assault. The petitioner must allege that the respondent committed an act of lewdness against a child or committed or attempted to commit a sex act as a component of a forcible felony.
A person who violates an injunction for protection in Fort Lauderdale could face serious criminal penalties and other repercussions.
A civil court hears the petitions for restraining orders as opposed to a criminal court. If a person violates an injunction, he or she may face civil penalties, including being held in contempt of court. The state’s attorney also could seek charges against the respondent for violating the court order. In this instance, the respondent could face a term of one year in prison and be forced to pay hefty monetary fines. The penalties become more serious if the respondent violates an injunction while possessing a firearm or ammunition.
An injunction for a protective order is also part of the public record in Florida. This means that any person can search for the background of the respondent and learn that an injunction has been issued against him or her. There mere appearance of an injunction on a person’s record could affect the respondent’s ability to find gainful employment, retain a job, obtain suitable housing, or even obtain a bank loan.
The Process of Applying for Injunctive Relief in Fort Lauderdale
The process of applying for injunctive relief begins when an individual claims to be harmed or is in fear of harm by the respondent. The person fearing harm may file a petition for injunctive relief with the court clerk. The petitioner must specify the relationship that he or she has with the respondent, if any, and describe in detail what the respondent did to harm the petitioner or put the petitioner in fear of being imminently harmed. The judge must be satisfied that there is no alternative to issuing the restraining order by a standard of clear and convincing evidence.
When the petitioner files the petition, the judge may issue what is known as a temporary or preliminary injunction. The judge may grant the temporary injunction without the respondent being present, which is known as an ex parte hearing. The court must then provide notice to the respondent that a petition has been filed against him or her. The respondent will have the opportunity to be heard in court at the subsequent hearing date in order to refute the allegations raised in the petition.
Once the judge determines whether or not to grant the temporary injunction, he or she may schedule a final hearing date that occurs fifteen days from when the judge determined whether or not to grant a temporary injunction. Keep in mind that the judge has the discretion to dismiss the petition and not grant a final hearing, depending upon the facts and circumstances of the case.
The hearing date may be extended if the parties agree or the judge determines that there is good cause to do so. At the permanent injunction hearing, both parties may call witnesses and present evidence to support their respective positions.
Self-Representation Could Result in Serious Legal Repercussions
Just because a permanent injunction hearing is less formal than a trial does not mean that it lacks serious legal repercussions. Due to the lack of formality, there persists a misconception that people can represent themselves at the hearing for injunction. The hearing is typically quick and the rules of evidence are not strictly enforced. Many individuals rationalize that they are aware of the facts better than anyone else and can persuasively argue on their behalf. However, many individuals quickly realize that they are in way too deep when it is too late. Even though the hearings are more relaxed than a trial, the judge expects those who represent themselves to know and understand the law. The judge also expects litigants to exercise the highest level of decorum at all times. This may be challenging for a non-lawyer, which is why you should seek the experienced representation of one of Musca Law’s seasoned Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys. Their expertise, understanding of the law, and highly developed skill will help protect you when someone says that they are afraid of you and that without the court stepping in to issue an order of protection, you might hurt them.
How Long Will The Temporary Order Last?
Temporary orders typically last for fifteen days. However, the temporary order will be in effect for fifteen days after the respondent is released from jail if the judge chooses to issue an injunction while the respondent was incarcerated.
How Long Might the Permanent Order Last?
A permanent injunction could last forever, as suggested by its name. There is a presumption in Florida that the injunction will not expire unless one of the parties petitions the court to alter, rescind, or dissolve the order. A judge has the discretion of incorporating an expiration date in the order. The judge could also modify the order to accommodate the parties’ desires while maintaining some level of court control over the respondent.
Living with an Injunction has Serious Consequences
No one ever stated that living pursuant to the restraints of an injunction was simple. The person who is subject to an injunction must exercise caution as to where he or she is at all times and be careful to whom they speak and about what they speak, as a misstep could result in him or her being deemed in violation of the injunction.
Injunctions are part of the public record, which means that a prospective employer could find out about the order by conducting a background search on the respondent. The potential employer may not want to hire a person who was accused of causing harm or threatening to cause harm to another individual.
Retraining orders also have additional consequences. Specifically, the respondent may lose the opportunity to see and have contact with his or her family members. A judge in a family law case may see that an injunction has been issued against the respondent and may choose to grant the petitioner custody of the parties’ child or children. The judge may feel that the individual who is not subject to the restrictions of a restraining order may be the most suitable parent to care for the child or children of the relationship.
Injunctions can also negatively affect one’s professional and personal life. A person who is subject to an injunction may be prohibited from traveling to a certain place. If the parties to the protective order work together, then the respondent’s reputation may be tarnished and he or she could lose his or her job. Furthermore, the respondent, once an injunction has been set into place, must surrender all firearms and ammunition to law enforcement. However, the defense attorney may file a motion to reinstate the firearms rights and privileges of the respondent.
Using an Restraining Order as a Weapon in Fort Lauderdale
It is not a secret that both women and men sometimes use the courts (and a protective order) to gain an advantage in a pending court case, such as a family law matter. This means that not every person who files a petition for an injunction is being truthful. People find ways to exact revenge on others by filing a petition for a permanent injunction. The petitioner could seek the help of police in asserting that an injunction as violated even when in reality, it wasn’t. A party can also file a petition against another party to prevent him or her from having custody or a relationship with the parties’ child or children or other family members. In essence, injunctions are often abused and misused in this way on a regular basis. Accordingly, it is critical that a person who is subject to an injunction hire a seasoned Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer to fight for his or her rights and legal interests.
What is the distinction between a restraining order and a protective injunction?
A restraining order is a temporary solution to keep the peace for the short term. Alternatively, orders for a protective injunction are presumably permanent, unless the judge includes in the order an expiration date. The terms are used interchangeably. However, the judge may issue a restraining order to protect the petitioner in the short term until both parties may be heard at the final hearing.
Possible penalties for violating an order of injunctions
If a person violates an injunctive order, it is typically charged as a first-degree misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for a first-degree misdemeanor is one year in a county jail. Moreover, the judge could issue a fine of up to $1,000 to the respondent. The judge may also order the respondent to complete a period of probation. The judge could also order the respondent to attend mental health counseling at his or her own expense.
Can a protective order be challenged?
Yes, a protective order can be challenged. Each individual has the right to be heard at the hearing on the injunction. A person who is subject to the injunction can also appeal the case. Working with an experienced attorney is the best way of avoiding the consequences associated with a permanent injunction.
Contact Musca Law Today. Your Life and Your Liberty Depend Upon It!
Facing the prospects of a permanent injunction can be frightening, as an active injunction can negatively affect your life in a multitude of ways. When you work a seasoned Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney at Musca Law, he or she will help you to challenge an 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.