Sexual Violence Injunction Defense Lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
When a person commits violent acts in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, he or she can face criminal charges. However, they can also be subject to a protective injunction at the same time, which is associated with serious consequences that can last a lifetime. In Florida, those who are the alleged victims of violent acts or have a fear of imminent harm can seek relief from the court by filing a petition for a protective injunction in Fort Lauderdale. Keep in mind that protective injunctions are also referred to as protective orders, restraining orders, or simply injunctions.
Pursuant to Florida law, there are five types of injunctions that a person can seek, one of which is a sexual violence injunction. Allegations of sexual violence are serious, and if a person is accused of same, he or she should immediately contact a skilled Fort Lauderdale Criminal and Sexual Violence Injunction Defense Lawyer as soon as possible. Charges for sexual violence can have severe repercussions, including jail time, monetary fines, probation, social stigma, and more. It is important to understand that a sexual violence injunction does not result in a conviction, but they do present as criminal penalties if the injunction is violated.
The Fort Lauderdale Criminal and Sexual Violence Injunction Defense Attorneys at Musca Law are experienced and skilled in representing clients who are accused of sexual violence and who face the potential for a sexual violence injunction. Our lawyers have over 150 years of combined experience representing clients accused of crimes throughout the state of Florida. With numerous offices throughout Florida, our nationally-recognized lawyers are available 24/7 to speak with clients about their legal matters. To find out how Musca Law can help you fight a sexual violence injunction, contact our Fort Lauderdale Sexual Violence Injunction Defense Lawyers today by calling (888) 484-5057.
Injunctions in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
The issuance of Fort Lauderdale injunctions has the potential of affecting one’s constitutional rights. Injunctions carry with them severe legal consequences, including social stigma, the loss of the use of firearms and ammunition, mental health counseling and evaluations, and criminal liability if the injunction is violated. Given the serious nature of Fort Lauderdale injunctions, it is critical for a person who is the subject of an injunction proceeding to contact a knowledgeable Fort Lauderdale Criminal and Sexual Violence Injunction Defense Lawyer.
Under Florida law, there are five types of injunctions that a person can seek, which include the following:
- Sexual Violence Injunctions
- Dating Violence Injunctions
- Stalking Injunctions
- Domestic Violence Injunctions
- Repeat Violence Injunctions
Regardless of the type of injunction that a person pursues, the consequences, as listed above, are serious and can affect the life of the person subject to same for years to come. In Fort Lauderdale, a person who files a petition for an injunction is referred to as the “petitioner.” The person against whom the injunction is sought is referred to as the “respondent.”
The Steps Necessary to Obtain a Fort Lauderdale Sexual Violence Injunction
The process for obtaining an injunction is the same for all of the injunctions listed above. However, the requirements for each vary under Florida law. Pursuant to Per Florida Statute Section 784.06, “sexual violence” includes various criminal acts, including (1) one incident of sexual battery, (2) one instance of a lewd or lascivious act “committed upon or in the presence of a person younger than 16 years of age,” (3) one instance of luring or enticing a child, (4) one instance of sexual performance by a child, or (5) one instance of any “forcible felony wherein a sexual act is committed or attempted, regardless of whether any criminal charges based on the incident were filed, reduced, or dismissed by the state attorney.”
A few examples of sexual violence are further defined, as they involve certain legal requirements. First, “sexual battery” under Florida law, Statute Section 794.011(1)(h), is defined as “oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object.” Moreover, “lewd or lascivious” conduct comprises a substantial variety of conduct, which is identified under Florida Statute Section 800.04. In addition, per Florida Statute Section 827.071, the “sexual performance of a child” is defined into sub-parts. In light of the aforementioned, there are several requirements per the above statutes that a petitioner must satisfy in order to obtain a sexual violence injunction in Fort Lauderdale. As such, a respondent must immediately hire a skilled lawyer who can develop the strongest defense possible on his or her behalf.
*Sexual Violence Involving Children – A Special Note to Respondents
The victims of sexual violence may be minors (those under the age of 18). Accordingly, the petitioner would be the parent or legal guardian of the minor child. If the petition for a sexual violence injunction involves a minor, the petitioner must report the incident(s) of sexual violence to police. The petitioner must then cooperate with police as they conduct their investigation of the matter.
How a Petitioner Can Obtain a Sexual Violence Injunction in Fort Lauderdale
In Fort Lauderdale, it is a relatively short process for a petitioner to seek a sexual violence injunction. In Florida, all injunctions involve the same procedures, as follows:
Step One – The Petitioner Files a Petition in Court
A petitioner must go to a Fort Lauderdale court and file a court-approved form called a petition. The petitioner must provide, in detail, all of the facts and circumstances giving rise to the need for a sexual violence injunction.
Step Two – The Presiding Judge Reviews the Petition
The judge who is presiding over the matter examines the petition, once the court files it, and determines whether it meets the requirements of Florida law. He or she ascertains whether the allegations raised in the petition are plausible. If evidence is submitted along with the petition, the judge will closely review it. Keep in mind that it is not required to provide evidence along with a petition.
Step Three – The Court Determines Whether to Issue a Temporary Injunction
If the judge determines that the allegations raised in the petition are plausible, he or she will issue a temporary injunction, which will last until a final hearing is held in the matter. Specifically, a temporary injunction typically lasts for fifteen days prior to the hearing date (unless the matter is continued as discussed below).
Step Four – The Scheduling of the Final Hearing
Regardless of whether the judge approves or denies a temporary injunction, he or she may schedule a final hearing in the matter where it is decided whether or not to issue a sexual violence petition.
Step 5 – Service of Process on the Respondent
Once a petition is filed, the respondent will likely be served by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. Service of process includes a copy of the petition, a temporary injunction order, if issued, and the date and time of the final hearing.
Step Six – Continuing the Hearing Date
Given the fact that injunction matters typically occur very quickly, attorneys for respondents often ask the court, through a motion, to continue, or delay, the hearing date in order to fully prepare for their case. Those who represent themselves in a Fort Lauderdale court may not be aware of his or her right to delay the case, leading to the issuance of a permanent sexual violence injunction. This is why it is critical to immediately hire a skilled For Lauderdale Criminal and Sexual Violence Injunction Defense attorney once you have been served.
Step Seven – The Final Hearing Date
The parties then appear in court at the final hearing. At this time, the parties present their respective cases as well as submit evidence to the court to support their positions. Evidence may include electronic communications such as text messages, emails and social media postings, as well as witness testimony, phone logs, and letters. Both parties can also take the stand however, it is important for a respondent to discuss with their attorney whether this is a beneficial step to take.
Step Eight – The Final Ruling
Once the hearing is held, the judge renders a final decision to either approve or deny the sexual violence injunction. If an injunction is issued, the respondent must know and abide by its terms, otherwise, he or she could be subject to criminal charges.
Why a Skilled Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense and Sexual Violence Injunction Defense Attorney is Essential
The defense against the issuance of a sexual violence injunction in Fort Lauderdale is akin to the process of defending a person facing a potential criminal conviction. In many cases, a person who is subject to a sexual violence injunction may also face criminal charges related to the petitioner’s allegations that he or she committed unwanted sexual acts against him or her. When a respondent is facing a pending sexual violence injunction, he or she must hire an attorney who will take the following steps that include, without limitation, the following:
- Evaluate the allegations raised by the petitioner;
- Review the evidence provided by the petitioner along with his or her petition;
- Obtain witness statements, if any;
- Determine whether a separate criminal case is pending against the respondent;
- Review the prior decisions of the presiding judge;
- Ascertain whether the respondent has been convicted of previous crimes;
- Determine whether the petitioner has a history of making false claims; and
- Develop a defense strategy to the fullest extent of the law.
If a petition fails to satisfy Florida law regarding the issuance of a sexual violence injunction, the respondent’s attorney can present such an argument during the final hearing. Moreover, if the petitioner raised false or misleading allegations, the respondent’s attorney will present evidence evincing same. While an attorney cannot guarantee a favorable result, having an experienced attorney can increase the chances that a judge will deny the sexual violence injunction.
The Repercussions of a Sexual Violence Injunction in Broward County
There are a number of different consequences associated with the approval of a sexual violence injunction, which can negatively affect the life of the respondent for years to come, if not permanently. If a person is facing the prospect of a sexual violence injunction, he or she is likely facing corresponding criminal charges. Regardless of whether a criminal proceeding exists at the same time as the injunction matter, a sexual violence injunction is associated with serious legal repercussions that could abridge one’s constitutional rights. These consequences include, without limitation, the following:
- Social stigma, which results in the loss of friends and family;
- Sex offender status, even if a jury determines beyond a reasonable doubt that the respondent is innocent;
- The inability to be within a certain number of feet from the petitioner;
- The requirement for the respondent to seek a mental health evaluation;
- The requirement for the respondent to seek mental health counseling at his or her own expense;
- The surrendering of firearms and ammunition to law enforcement; and
- Criminal sanctions if the sexual violence injunction is violated.
The violation of a sexual violence injunction in Fort Lauderdale can result in the respondent facing felony or misdemeanor charges, depending upon the facts and circumstances of the case. A first and second violation of a sexual violence injunction constitutes a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries with it a one-year jail term and a monetary fine of up to $1,000 for each violation. Subsequent violations qualify as a third-degree felony, which carries with it a jail term of up to five years and a monetary fine of up to $5,000 for each offense.
The Termination or Modification of a Fort Lauderdale Sexual Violence Injunction
In Fort Lauderdale, it is possible to terminate or modify a sexual violence injunction through the submission of a motion in court. The presiding judge will then determine whether the facts warrant a change or termination to the sexual violence injunction. There are several reasons why a sexual violence injunction may be modified or terminated, which include, without limitation, the following:
- The petitioner wants to terminate the injunction for any reason;
- The petitioner wants to increase the restrictions of the sexual violence injunction due to repeat acts of sexual violence;
- The respondent decides to move out of state such that the sexual violence injunction is no longer needed or relevant;
- The respondent seeks to terminate the injunction due to evidence demonstrating that the petitioner lied or misstated the facts underlying the petition; and
- The parties made amends such that the sexual violence injunction is no longer needed.
A Sexual Violence Injunction May Expire or Last a Lifetime
A judge in Fort Lauderdale has the authority to issue a sexual violence injunction and to render a determination as to how long it should last. An injunction can last a few months or a year or more, if necessary. The judge, based upon the facts and circumstances of a case, may issue a permanent injunction that is never set to expire.
Should a sexual violence injunction expire, the petitioner has the right to return to court to extend it through filing the requisite motion. This process must be pursued at least 30 days before the injunction is set to expire. If he or she fails to do so, the respondent will no longer be subject to its terms.
Contact the Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense and Sexual Violence Injunction Defense Attorneys at Musca Law Today!
Being accused of sexual violence is a serious matter in Fort Lauderdale. Accordingly, you should challenge the injunction with a skilled Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as you can. While there are no guarantees about a certain result, having an experienced attorney increases the odds of having a favorable outcome in your case. To schedule a consultation with one of the attorneys at Musca Law, you can contact our office 24/7 at (888) 484-5057. Our attorneys will discuss with your legal rights and interests, as well as the defenses that may be available in your case. Don’t wait – contact us now to learn more about your legal options.