Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Engaging in battery, assault, stalking, and sexual crimes are illegal in Florida. Even a threat to commit these offenses can result in a criminal conviction. In most cases, violent conduct can lead to criminal charges being pursued against the alleged offender. Notwithstanding, in some cases, violence may lead to an injunction, which is a civil court proceeding. However, it often presents like a criminal matter despite the fact that the injunction does not lead to such criminal penalties as monetary fines, imprisonment, and probation (except if violated, as discussed more fully below).
As noted above, an injunction, as a civil remedy, aims to prevent acts of violence. In Fort Lauderdale, a person can seek an injunction on his or her own behalf or on behalf of a minor. The purpose of the injunction is to prevent the alleged offender, referred to as the respondent, from committing acts of violence against the alleged victim, referred to as the petitioner. When seeking an injunction, a petitioner can pursue five types of injunctions in Florida, one of which is a repeat violence injunction. This can be sought when a petitioner has been the victim of more than one violent act, one of which must have happened within six months before the time that he or she files a document with the court, which is known as a petition.
Many individuals who seek a repeat violence injunction may be under the belief that they are in danger of imminent harm. There may also be a fear that a minor child may also be subject to violent behavior. However, it is not uncommon for a person to seek a repeat violence injunction based upon false or misstated facts. This can lead to serious repercussions for an individual that has been named as a respondent in a petition for a repeat violence injunction.
If you are the subject of a repeat violence injunction, it is critical that you contact a Fort Lauderdale Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Attorney as soon as possible, as the consequences of an injunction can negatively affect your life for years to come. At Musca Law, our team of experienced Fort Lauderdale Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Attorneys have a record of success when representing clients accused of repeat violence. Contact us today at (888) 484-5057 to learn more about your legal rights and options.
The Types of Injunctions in Florida
If a person files a petition for an injunction in Fort Lauderdale, he or she must submit a petition to the court, which is a form that provides for the type of injunction being sought and a detailed summary of the facts that support it.
There are five types of injunctions under Florida law that a petitioner can seek, including:
- Repeat Violence Injunctions;
- Stalking Injunctions;
- Domestic Violence Injunctions;
- Sexual Violence Injunctions; and
- Dating Violence Injunctions.
Once a person submits the requisite form, the court will review it and decide whether to grant a temporary injunction. Should a temporary injunction be granted, a final hearing is scheduled fifteen days later. A respondent is then served by the local sheriff’s office with a copy of the petition, the temporary injunction order, and the date and time of the hearing.
The respondent must then contact a competent Fort Lauderdale Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Attorney, as fifteen days is not typically a sufficient period of time in order to develop a strategic defense. Oftentimes, counsel for the respondent will file a continuance, which extends the period of time of the hearing in order to fully prepare his or her case. At the final hearing, the respondent and petitioner make an appearance and argue their respective positions. A skilled defense attorney is vital at this stage because they have the knowledge and experience necessary to present a strong defense. Working with an attorney gives the respondent the best chance of receiving a favorable outcome.
Repeat Violence Injunctions under Florida Law
Pursuant to Florida Statute Section 784.046(1)(a), “violence” is defined as “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 or against any other person.” Moreover, Statute Section 784.056(b) “repeat violence” is defined as “two incidents of violence or stalking committed by the respondent, one of which must have been within 6 [(six)] months of the filing of the petition, which are directed against the petitioner or the petitioner’s immediate family member.”
The repercussions of a repeat violence injunction are serious and can adversely and permanently affect the life of the respondent. Even though the respondent may not be facing criminal charges, he or she will be faced with criminal-like consequences, which include, without limitation, having to surrender firearms and ammunition, being prohibited having any contact with the petitioner (whether directly or through a third party such as a family or friend) and being in his or her presence, the requirement to undergo a mental health evaluation and possible counseling at the respondent’s own expense, social stigma, the loss of one’s job, criminal penalties for violating the injunction, and a loss of friends and family. As such, the respondent should treat an injunction as seriously as any criminal offense.
Requirements for Obtaining a Repeat Violence Injunction in Broward County Florida
Fort Lauderdale repeat violence injunction cases are commonly pursued by household members or family such as children, significant others, spouses, former spouses, and parents. Keep in mind that repeat violence injunctions can be sought after regardless of the relationship between the petitioner and respondent. In some cases, a repeat violence injunction may be pursued to prevent ongoing violence from others such as coworkers, friends, neighbors, or even complete strangers.
In a repeat violence injunction case, the petitioner must prove that he or she has been subject to more than one violent act that happened within six months prior to the time that he or she filed the petition. Judges in Fort Lauderdale often exercise caution when rendering the determination to grant or deny a temporary injunction. When the petition is filed, a petitioner does not need to provide evidence with the court’s form however, it does aid in proving his or her case. At the hearing stage, this is when the judge reviews the facts in detail and determines the veracity of the petition.
Given the fact that the health and safety of Fort Lauderdale citizens are of the utmost importance, judges often give petitioners the benefit of the doubt when deciding whether to grant a repeat violence injunction. Specifically, judges weigh the benefits and costs in each injunction matter, ultimately deciding that the safety of the petitioner outweighs the legal burdens experienced by the respondent once the repeat violence injunction is in place. This does not mean that judges always issue repeat violence injunctions, as petitioners commonly fabricate details that are raised in the petition or they misstate/mispresent the facts. This often occurs when a disgruntled spouse is attempting to gain an advantage in a divorce case.
Judges prefer that the petition be supported with documentary evidence such as text messages, phone logs, emails, social media posts, etc. when deciding whether to grant or deny a temporary injunction. Essentially, judges prefer that petitioners bring forth enough evidence to establish that they are at risk of imminent harm.
The Repeat Violence Injunction Hearing Proceeding in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Once a judge grants a temporary repeat violence injunction, the respondent, during the final hearing, will have the chance to refute the allegations and explain the facts from his or her perspective. A skilled Fort Lauderdale Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Attorney will be prepared to defend his or her client with evidence to demonstrate that the petitioner’s petition is replete with exaggerated, misleading and/or completely false information, or that they do not meet the necessary requirements under Florida law to warrant a repeat violence injunction. Evidence that commonly is presented to the court include, without limitation, electronic communications (such as text messages, social media postings, and emails) as well as letters, the petitioner’s criminal record, and voicemails.
The Serious Consequences Associated with a Repeat Violence Injunction in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
If a respondent is unsuccessful in challenging a repeat violence injunction during the final hearing, he or she will be subject to many consequences. These include having to undergo a mental health evaluation and treatment, if necessary (at his or her own expense), the inability to contact the petitioner, (whether directly or indirectly such as through a family member or friend), difficulty finding housing and gainful employment, trouble obtaining a bank loan, social stigma, the loss of one’s job, criminal charges if the repeat violence injunction is violated, the inability to remain in a shared dwelling, and the requirement to stay away from the petitioner within a certain amount of feet.
Given the above-referenced repercussions, it is critical that the respondent contact a skilled and experienced Fort Lauderdale Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Attorney as soon as possible in order to refute the facts raised in the petition and present the strongest defense strategy to the fullest extent of the law.
Terminating or Modifying a Repeat Violence Injunction in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
A repeat violence injunction in Fort Lauderdale may not include an expiration date. In other words, it can last forever if the judge chooses to make it a permanent repeat violence injunction. However, the petitioner and/or respondent may return to the court once the injunction is in place to have it terminated or modified by submitting a motion for same to the court. The judge will then determine whether there are grounds sufficient to modify or terminate the repeat violence injunction.
There are several reasons why a party pursues a modification or termination of a repeat violence injunction. Specifically, the parties may have made amends, or one of the parties moves away such that the injunction is no longer needed. After a motion for termination or modification is submitted to the court, each party will have the chance to present his or her respective positions (they can either oppose or support the motion).
The Extension of Time for a Repeat Violence Injunction in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
In the event that a Fort Lauderdale repeat violence injunction is set to expire, the petitioner can return to the court by filing a motion to extend the injunction. The motion must be filed at least 30 days before the expiration date. The judge will then review all of the evidence as well as hear the arguments raised by both the petitioner and respondent before rendering a final decision as to whether to extend the timeframe of the repeat violence injunction.
Challenging a Repeat Violence Injunction in Fort Lauderdale with a Competent Attorney
Repeat violence proceedings can be stressful as well as complex however, an experienced attorney can aid in making the process a lot less overwhelming. Notwithstanding, when choosing to hire an attorney, it is important to ensure that he or she has the requisite skills, experience, knowledge and a proven track record of success. In other words, it is critical for a respondent to work with an attorney who knows the ins and out of the courtroom, is familiar with the judges, is familiar with the court’s procedure, and who has a stellar reputation in the community.
Keep in mind that even with a skilled lawyer, a Fort Lauderdale judge may determine that a repeat violence injunction is necessary. However, the odds of success increase when a respondent works alongside of a diligent attorney. Only an experienced attorney will examine all of the facts in depth and work to develop the strongest defense strategy by refuting the allegations raised by the petitioner. Specifically, an experienced attorney knows what is at stake and the steps necessary to persuade the judge that a repeat violence injunction is unwarranted.
Launching a Strong Defense When Facing a Repeat Violence Injunction in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Self-Representation is Not Recommended
Each individual has the right to represent himself/herself in court, regardless of the type of proceeding (whether civil or criminal). Some cases can easily be managed without an attorney present, such as a matter brought forth in small claims court. However, civil injunctions and criminal cases are extremely serious, and should never be taken lightly. Many people who represent themselves in these types of proceedings lose the case because they are not familiar with the applicable law, the court’s procedure, and the judge. Even if the respondent is a lawyer, it is not recommended that he or she represent himself/herself, as it is vital to work with an attorney who regularly handles injunction cases. While self-representation saves money, the consequences of a repeat violence injunction could be much costlier.
In addition, Fort Lauderdale Repeat Violence Injunction Lawyers have the skills, resources and experience, including the manpower and funds necessary to successfully defense a respondent in repeat violence injunction cases. These are all attributes that often result in the dismissal of a case against a respondent.
When representing a respondent in a repeat violence injunction case, a lawyer is familiar with all of the defenses that may apply in one’s case. Such defenses include, without limitation, the following:
- The petitioner misstated the facts and/or allegations in the petition;
- The petitioner knowingly made false statements and/or allegations in the petition;
- The petitioner misrepresented the facts and/or allegations in the petition;
- The petitioner’s allegations are not supported by the facts, and/or
- The petitioner did not present sufficient evidence to warrant a repeat violence injunction.
Contact Musca Law Today – Your Freedom and Livelihood are at Stake
If you have been served with a repeat violence injunction or restraining order in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, you are facing a very serious matter. Do not take this legal process lightly. Therefore, if you have found yourself in this very precarious situation, you must act fast to seek the advice and guidance of a superior Fort Lauderdale Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Lawyer. Musca Law has been serving Florida residents for decades, providing them with outstanding legal representation for all criminal matters as well as civil injunction cases. Our lawyers serve not only the Fort Lauderdale area, but all other portions of the state of Florida. We also represent clients from outside of Florida who may be facing criminal charges or an injunction within this state. To find out how the Fort Lauderdale Defense Lawyers of Musca Law can help you, contact our office today by calling (888) 484-5057.