Injunctions Defense Lawyers in Fort Myers
Fort Myers Injunctions and Restraining Orders
In Fort Myers, restraining orders, which are also referred to as temporary injunctions, are granted by a court when the person seeking the injunction is at risk of wrongdoing or harm from the person the order is restraining. The individual who seeks the order of protection is referred to as the petitioner. The respondent is the individual that the petitioner wishes to prevent from contacting him or her. In some instances, the respondent and petitioner may file claims against one another. These are referred to by the court as cross-motions or "cross complaints." It is a very serious matter for a person to be named the respondent in an injunction in Fort Meyers, as there are several negative consequences associated therewith. Because of this, the accused should work with a seasoned attorney in Fort Myers who knows the ins and outs of defending against an injunction and who has experience helping respondents avoid the many negative consequences associated with being served with a temporary injunction.
When a person requests that the court issue an order for injunctive relief, it will decide whether the petitioner should have no contact with the respondent. Remember that judges often base these decisions on evidence proffered by the petitioner that could be completely false, or at least exaggerated, or misrepresented. Specifically, many individuals use temporary injunctions out of vindictiveness and as a way to punish the respondent for alleged "wrongs" that were committed during their relationship. Having a seasoned Fort Myers lawyer to represent your interests during an injunction hearing is critical to avoid being faced with a temporary injunction. In essence, a skilled attorney will be able to assist you in the preservation of your life, liberty, and freedom.
Oftentimes, criminal charges accompany petitions for protective injunctions. That is why it is essential to hire an attorney who knows the ins and outs of both the civil and criminal court systems, and who has the skills necessary to appropriately represent your legal rights.
Violating a Protective Injunction can have Serious Legal Repercussions in Fort Myers
Violating the terms of a temporary injunction may give law enforcement the right to charge the accused of criminal conduct. Oftentimes, individuals convicted of knowingly and willfully violating an injunction will be facing a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries a jail term of up to one year. Depending upon the type of offense and the circumstances of the claim, the judge may sentence the violator to a maximum of five years in jail, which constitutes a third-degree felony. Repeat offenses or subsequent violence can raise the stakes considerably, meaning, that it can elevate a first-degree misdemeanor to a felony in the third-degree.
The Types of Restraining Orders in Fort Myers, Florida
Fort Myers Injunctions for Domestic Violence Allegations
Judges can order a temporary injunction that requires that the respondent stop engaging in behaviors that potentially qualify as domestic violence. Pursuant to the law in Florida, domestic violence involves certain interactions between people who are in a domestic relationship. Domestic violence includes actions that are considered battery, assault, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or another type of crime that may or does cause physical harm to or the death of another person. The violent acts must be carried out against a household or family member unless it satisfies various other conditions. Threats to commit domestic violence can qualify as domestic violence under the applicable law. Moreover, the judge can enter injunctions in cases when a petitioner is afraid that he or she is at risk of becoming a domestic violence victim.
The next prong in domestic violence charges pursuant to Florida law pertains to the type of relationship that exists between the petitioners and the respondent. In order to qualify, they must be engaged in a specific category of relationship. The relationships that the law covers include people who have a child together or those that currently or have resided with one another. Keep in mind that if the parties share a child, then they need not to have ever resided together to qualify for an order of protection.
Dating Violence Injunctions in Fort Myers
Domestic violence and dating violence share similarities. In Florida, dating violence refers to actions that are committed by one dating or romantic partner against another. People who are in an intimate or dating relationship can seek a temporary injunction in this regard. However, if the relationship no longer exists, then the judge could order a temporary injunction in cases where the respondent and petitioner were in a dating relationship for a period of at least six months before the point in time when the application for an order was filed.
Stalking Injunctions in Fort Myers
Pursuant to Florida law, stalking includes malicious, repetitive, or intentional harassment of a person or the habitual following of that individual. Stalking victims can seek a temporary order protecting him or her from stalking. A person who is being stalked can also seek criminal charges for that offense, so long as the perpetrator can be identified. Most stalking incidents occur between those who know each other, although in some cases, a stranger can stalk another stranger. Stalking under Florida law also involves cyberstalking, a crime which is defined as illegitimate electronic communications such as threats of violence, that have no purpose other than to cause severe emotional distress to another person. Electronic communications include a wide array of communications, such as text messages, emails, or social media direct messenger platforms.
Repeat Violence Injunctions in Fort Myers
A repeat violence injunction can be sought if a person commits two or more acts of violence or stalking. A judge could grant injunctions for repeat violence if one of the two acts of violence happened during the six months prior to when the petitioner originally filed the petition for injunctive relief.
Sexual Violence Injunction in Fort Myers
A court may still issue an injunction for the prevention of sexual violence in cases where the companion criminal matter is dismissed and in situations where no criminal charges were ever filed in relation to the alleged abuse. However, these injunctions are often connected to investigations for criminal assault. Petitioners need to assert that the respondent engaged in a sexual act such as lewdness against a child or attempted to commit or committed a sex act as a part of a violation that would be considered a forcible felony.
Violating an Injunction Can Lead to Serious Repercussions
Judges in civil court, as opposed to those in criminal court, adjudicate injunction cases. However, a violation of a civil order for an injunction is associated with serious consequences. Specifically, a civil court judge has the discretion to rule that a respondent is guilty of contempt of court for violating an injunction. Moreover, the prosecutor could pursue charges against the alleged offender. If a person violates an injunctive order, he or she can face a one-year jail term and harsh monetary penalties. The consequences are enhanced if the respondent is in violation of the terms of the injunctive order and, in doing so, used dangerous a weapon such as rifle or shotgun.
An injunction that is issued against a person appears on publicly accessible court records in Florida, which means that anyone can obtain information about the injunction that was issued against the offender. Having an injunction on a person's record impacts his or her attempts to find work, remain employed, and find suitable housing, or to return back to the home in which he or she is a joint owner.
Applying for an Injunction in Lee County, Florida
In order to apply for an injunction, first, the individual must assert that he or she was harmed or fears that he or she will be harmed by another person. The alleged victim may petition the court by filing a petition with the clerk of the court. The petition must provide details as to the nature of the relationship between the respondent and petitioner, if there is one, and offer details as to the actions that the respondent allegedly engaged in to harm the petitioner or to cause him or her to fear that the respondent was threatening immediate harm. The judge then reviews the petition and must conclude that there are no available alternatives to issuing an injunction. The standard used in making this determination is that of clear and convincing evidence.
The first part of the process is referred to as the temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction stage. The judge, upon review of the petition, may decide to issue a temporary injunction, even if the respondent is not present in court. This type of hearing is called an ex parte hearing. The court is required to provide the respondent with notice that a petition for injunctive relief was filed against him or her. Once the court determines whether to grant or deny a preliminary injunction, it will then typically schedule a final hearing. The final hearing is usually held within fifteen days of the filing of the petition. Remember that if the judge does not grant the preliminary injunction, he or she could dismiss the petition altogether.
During the final hearing, the parties have the right to present evidence and call witnesses to testify in support of their case and respective positions.
The Failure to Hire a Seasoned Fort Myers Injunction Defense Attorney can Prove Disastrous
There is a popular misconception that individuals can represent their own interests at a final hearing for an injunction, given that it is less formal than a trial. Specifically, the rules regarding the entering of evidence are relaxed, and hearings are typically held in a rapid fashion. Many individuals believe that they are more knowledgeable of the relevant facts than an attorney, which often makes them choose to represent their own interests. Or, they choose to represent themselves in order to save money. However, many people quickly learn that they are not prepared to handle the complexities of a hearing on their own. Unfortunately, by the time they are at the hearing stage of the case, it may be too late. While the hearings for injunctions are much less formal than a trial, presiding judges expect the parties to be aware of the law and to understand the procedure. Litigants are also required to behave in court with the highest level of decorum throughout the pendency of the hearing.
If you are the subject of a petition for an injunction in Fort Myers, it is critical that you contact the aggressive and experienced Fort Myers injunction defense lawyers at Musca Law. Their legal knowledge and understanding of the procedure, as well as highly developed skills, will help to give you the best chances of prevailing in your case.
How Long Does a Temporary Order Remain in Effect?
A temporary injunction typically lasts for fifteen days. It is important to note that the temporary order will be effective for fifteen days following when the respondent is released from police custody should the injunction have been issued while he or she was in jail.
How Long is a Permanent Injunction in Effect?
As provided by the title, a permanent order could last indefinitely, which means that it will not end unless a petition is made by one of the involved parties to dissolve, rescind, or alter it.
An Injunction is Associated with Significant Burdens
Living under the constrains of an injunction is not easy. Specifically, the respondent must always exercise caution as to his or her whereabouts and be judicious regarding his or her comments to others, as this could be deemed a misstep that violates the judge's order.
As noted above, protective injunctions are included in the public record, meaning that prospective and current employers can conduct a background check and determine that an individual has a protective order issued against him or her. A potential employer could choose not to employ a person after learning that the individual has been accused of threatening or harming another person.
A protective order has wider implications, as it may impact the respondent's ability to communicate and spend time with family members. The respondent may also lose custody or visitation rights with his or her children should an in injunction be issued against him or her.
An injunction can also have serious repercussions in one's personal and professional life. Specifically, individuals who are the subject of injunctions can be barred from traveling to specific areas. Moreover, if the petitioner and respondent work at the same place of employment, the reputation of the respondent can be forever tarnished. Additionally, the respondent must turn in his or her firearms, including ammunition, to local police while the case is still pending. However, a seasoned defense attorney could petition the court for the reinstatement of a respondent's rights to own firearms.
An Restraining Order is Often Used to Attack a Respondent in Fort Myers
Both men and women have been known to use the power of the courts to gain the upper hand in a given case. In fact, some petitions are based on false facts. Also, a person can claim that the respondent violated a petition when no such violation occurred. People can be vengeful and use an injunction to get back at another person. A typical scenario where people have a tendency to lie about being the subject of violence or threats of violence is in a family law matter. Specifically, it is not uncommon for people to claim that their spouses should be the subject of a permanent injunction in order to gain an advantage in a custody proceeding.
What Differences Exist between Permanent Injunctions and Restraining Orders?
Restraining orders are temporary measures to prevent contact by the respondent for a short period of time, typically fifteen days. In the alternative, orders for protection against abuse last permanently unless subsequently changed by the court. A judge will enter a restraining order that will remain in effect until the date of the final hearing.
Punishment for Violations of Injunctive Orders
When individuals violate injunctive orders, they will be found guilty of a misdemeanor in the first-degree. The penalty for a misdemeanor in the first degree is a maximum of one-year jail term as well as a maximum monetary fine of $1,000. Judges can also order offenders to undergo probation for up to a year. The judge can also require the offender to attend a mental health treatment program.
Can a Person Challenge a Protective Order?
Working with a seasoned attorney experienced in fighting for the rights of the wrongfully accused will assist the respondent in challenging the allegations raised in the petitioner's petition. A person can challenge a petition for an injunction through submitting evidence, including witness testimony, to contest the facts raised therein.
Protect Your Life and Liberty! Contact Musca Law Today!
Individuals facing an injunction often have a lot of questions. Injunctions can have severe consequences for a person's life, including where they live and whether they can have contact with their children. If you are facing an injunction, you do not have to go through this process alone. A Fort Myers criminal defense attorney can help protect your rights. The award-winning lawyers at Musca Law will help challenge the allegations against you. Contact us today to arrange a consultation with one of our skilled and experienced attorneys. Call (888) 484-5057 to learn how we can fight to protect your rights.