Protective Injunction for Repeat Violence Defense Lawyers in Fort Myers, Florida
Most Fort Myers residents are generally aware that violence-related conduct – especially repeat violence towards a household family member – is illegal under Florida law. However, what many people may not realize is that a person can be the subject of a protective injunction even when no criminal charges exist. Being the subject of a protective injunction, which is also known as a protective order and restraining order, feels much like being a convicted felon. While protective injunctions are intended to prevent a person from committing violent and harmful acts towards another person, many people who become the subject of protective injunctions are wrongfully accused and substantially harmed by such injunctions.
Repeat violence injunctions can lead to life-changing consequences. The Fort Myers Defense Lawyers of Musca Law routinely help clients fight petitions for injunctions as well as defend these same clients if there any related criminal charges. Because allegations of violence will likely involve a criminal investigation, it is not surprising for a person to face not only criminal charges but also an injunction that will materially affect his or her rights. Musca Law knows what steps to take to reduce the chances that a client will become the subject of a permanent repeat violence injunction in Fort Myers. If you are facing a repeat violence injunction or any other type of protective injunction, contact Musca Law today to discuss your legal needs 24/7 by calling (888) 484-5057.
The Five Types of Protective Injunctions in Fort Myers, Florida
Florida law allows for individuals to file petitions seeking various types of protective injunctions. The general purpose of all protective injunctions is to protect the petitioner (i.e., the alleged victim or legal representative of the victim) from another person’s conduct, which poses a safety risk. The five types of protective injunctions some people may seek to obtain in Fort Myers include the following:
- Stalking Injunction;
- Domestic Violence Injunction;
- Sexual Violence Injunction;
- Dating Violence Injunction; and
- Repeat Violence Injunction.
The first step to obtaining a protective injunction in Fort Myers is to file a petition. The person filing the petition is either the victim or a legal representative of the victim (such as the parent of a minor child), and this person is known as the “petitioner.” The petition is a court-approved form that provides multiple options concerning the subject-matter of the requested protective injunction. The petitioner will seek to obtain a protective injunction against an individual (called the “respondent”) who allegedly poses a risk of harm to the petitioner.
After the petitioner files the petition asking for a specific type of protective injunction, a judge will review the petition and may ask that the petitioner produce certain evidence. In many cases, a judge is likely to grant a petition for a protective injunction on a temporary basis, as this is the safest decision to make if the petition sets forth credible allegations. The temporary protective injunction will last fifteen (15) days, at which point a hearing will be held to determine whether the protective injunction should become permanent. The respondent will be served with a copy of the temporary injunction and will have to quickly retain an attorney who can represent the respondent at the protective injunction hearing.
While 15 days is not a lot of time, it provides enough time to find the right attorney to handle the matter. Even though the injunction process is held in a civil court and is governed by civil law and not criminal law, a superior and reputable Fort Myers Criminal Defense Lawyer should be handling the case. This is especially true if criminal charges are pending against the respondent that are related to the requested protective injunction.
Repeat Violence Restraining Orders in Fort Myers, Florida
Per 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, Florida Statute Section 784.056(b) defines “repeat violence” as “two incidents of violence or stalking committed by the respondent, one of which must have been within 6 months of the filing of the petition, which are directed against the petitioner or the petitioner’s immediate family member.”
A petitioner who can show that a respondent committed two or more acts of violence as defined under Florida law, the respondent may be subject to a permanent repeat violence injunction, which will limit many of the respondent’s rights under the U.S. constitution. For example, if a court grants a repeat violence injunction, the respondent must relinquish control of all firearms and ammunition to law enforcement officials.
Such a penalty is imposed regardless of whether criminal charges are pending. As such, a person can lose his or her firearms and ammunition from a civil court order even if this person is not facing any criminal charges pertaining to the conduct alleged in the petition seeking the repeat violence injunction. Many individuals would much rather spend minimal time in jail (within reason) rather than be forced to relinquish control of his or her firearms and ammunition.
Who Can Seek a Fort Myers Repeat Violence Injunction?
Most cases involving requested protective injunctions involve close family or household members. While many cases involve blood relatives, relation by blood or marriage is not a requirement to pursue a repeat violence injunction in Fort Myers. Under Florida law, any person who alleges he or she is the victim of repeat violence (no matter what the relationship is between the petitioner/victim and respondent/alleged offender) has standing to seek a repeat violence injunction. Aside from familial and household relationships, additional relationships that often exist between a petitioner and respondent in a repeat violence injunction case include co-workers, neighbors, former friends, and roommates.
Filing the petition is the easy part. A petitioner cannot obtain a permanent repeat violence injunction without providing evidence to support his or her allegations of repeat violence. Asserting that a respondent has violent tendencies is not enough to establish that the petitioner’s safety is at risk, and a repeat violence injunction is warranted. Rather, a petitioner must produce specific examples of violence and provide any evidentiary documents to support such examples (such as photographs, text messages, voicemails, testimony from witnesses, and medical records documenting injuries, among others).
A petitioner who cannot provide proof supporting the allegations of repeat violence will likely not obtain a permanent repeat violence injunction. However, because judges can be unpredictable, anyone facing a Fort Myers repeat violence injunction should prepare for the worst-case scenario and arm him or herself with an advocate who can begin investigating the situation to build a defense to present at the repeat violence injunction hearing which will happen approximately fifteen (15) days after a temporary protective injunction is entered.
The hearing is the only opportunity for the respondent to convince the judge that the petitioner’s allegations are unsupported by evidence. There is no jury at a repeat violence injunction hearing. There is only a judge overseeing a civil matter – not a criminal proceeding. As such, a judge will base his or her decision to grant or deny the petition seeking a repeat violence injunction on the evidence presented at the hearing.
The attorney representing the respondent must be ready to refute a petitioner’s allegations and demonstrate to the court why issuing a permanent repeat violence injunction would be the wrong decision and harmful to the respondent’s legal rights. Such a result is especially warranted when no criminal charges are pending against the respondent concerning the underlying allegations of repeat violence asserted in the petition seeking the protective injunction.
When a Judge Grants a Petition Seeking a Repeat Violence Injunction in Fort Myers, Florida
The worst-case scenario for a respondent fighting a petition that seeks a repeat violence injunction is that the petitioner will win, and the respondent will be required to comply with the court’s strict protective injunction/order. The judge has the discretion to include terms he or she believes fits the facts of the case. Examples of consequences associated with being the subject of a repeat violence injunction in Fort Myers (aside from having to comply with the order) include the following:
- Never encountering the petitioner;
- Exposing oneself to criminal liability by potentially violating the repeat violence injunction;
- Being labeled as a violent offender despite a lack of criminal charges (civil protective injunction orders are publicly accessible); and
- Being required to undergo mental health treatment at the respondent’s expense.
A repeat violence injunction in Fort Myers often feels like a harsh criminal conviction. Jail time and court fines are not assessed, but nearly every other possible penalty that is associated with criminal conduct is imposed on a respondent who is the subject of a repeat violence injunction. Given how much is on the line in terms of legal rights, reputation, and the prospects of an uncertain future, anyone who is the respondent of a petition seeking a repeat violence injunction should promptly hire a Fort Myers Criminal Defense and Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Attorney.
Terminating or Modifying a Repeat Violence Injunction in Fort Myers, Florida
As time goes by, circumstances are likely to change, which may make any repeat violence injunction obsolete or unnecessary. Upon motion by either a petitioner or respondent, a request can be made to modify or terminate an existing repeat violence injunction. Examples of why a party may wish to modify or terminate a repeat violence injunction in Fort Myers include but are certainly not limited to, the following:
- The parties wish to make amends, and the injunction must be vacated for the respondent to encounter the petitioner legally;
- One or both parties are moving to another county or state;
- Criminal charges have been filed against one or both parties – regardless of whether such criminal charges relate to conduct alleged in the repeat violence injunction; and
- Discovery that the petitioner made false accusations and/or fabricated evidence to support the case for seeking a repeat violence injunction.
All situations are unique. Therefore, the reasons for why a Fort Myers repeat violence injunction may need to be modified or terminated are endless.
When a Petitioner Can Seek Extension of a Fort Myers Repeat Violence Injunction
Just as both a petitioner and respondent can seek to modify or terminate a Fort Myers repeat violence injunction, a petitioner can seek to extend an existing repeat violence injunction. While protective injunctions are termed “permanent,” they do have expiration dates. Once an expiration date is approaching, a petitioner who wishes to extend the duration of a Fort Myers repeat violence injunction must file a motion BEFORE the original repeat violence injunction expires. The judge overseeing the matter will review the motion and underlying facts and will determine whether grounds exist to extend the repeat violence injunction or terminate the injunction per the expiration date.
Defending a Potential Repeat Violence Injunction in Lee County, Florida
A person facing a Fort Myers repeat violence injunction should treat the situation like a criminal proceeding, regardless of whether the person is already facing criminal charges relating to the underlying facts alleged in a petition seeking a repeat violence injunction. Because repeat violence injunctions involve conduct that may be considered illegal under Florida law, the consequences of being the subject of a repeat violence injunction can be just as damaging as a criminal conviction. While the stakes are high and the results uncertain, many clients can successfully fight a repeat violence injunction with the right attorney by their side.
An attorney who has handled countless protective injunction matters can quickly and accurately determine what needs to happen to help a client reach the best result possible when faced with a repeat violence injunction in Fort Myers. The right attorney will move quickly to investigate all available facts before the hearing, where a judge will determine a respondent’s fate. The attorney will point out all deficient and/or unsubstantiated claims and argue why it would be more harmful than beneficial to issue a repeat violence injunction.
It is important to keep in mind that even when an attorney does his or her absolute best to defend the rights of a client, results in the courtroom cannot be guaranteed – whether the matter is a civil proceeding, like a protective injunction matter, or a criminal proceeding. However, clients who choose to work with the best attorneys have a much better chance of reaching a favorable result. Such a favorable result could be a denial of a petitioner’s request for a repeat violence injunction, or it could be a less-severe arrangement where the parties agree to certain terms that do not have the same negative consequences of a court-ordered repeat violence injunction.
Choosing to Defend Yourself at a Fort Myers Repeat Violence Injunction Hearing – What You Should Know
Some individuals facing repeat violence injunctions choose to attend the hearing without the representation of an attorney. While people are free to represent themselves, doing so can be detrimental to their legal rights as they may not raise the proper defenses that could be successful in court. Even the best attorneys who handle personal injury cases or patent cases will not be well informed on repeat violence injunction matters. As such, non-attorneys will be in similar shoes – moving forward without knowing the rules, what to expect, and the ramifications of what can happen if the outcome is not in their favor.
Hiring an attorney does cost money, but the alternative of trying to save money by representing oneself can result in more harm than good. Paying to have a highly qualified Fort Myers Repeat Violence Injunction Lawyer handle a repeat violence injunction case is worth the cost when the consequences of being the subject of a repeat violence injunction could pose a greater financial cost. As such, when weighing the options of what to do when facing a repeat violence injunction in Fort Myers, choosing to at least speak with an experienced and reputable attorney about the situation is critical to understanding the protective injunction process and understanding what legal rights are on the line.
Contact the Fort Myers Repeat Violence Injunction Lawyers of Musca Law Today
If you or a loved one is facing a potential repeat violence injunction in Fort Myers, your legal rights are on the line, and you do not have much time to act. The Fort Myers Criminal Defense and Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Lawyers of Musca Law routinely handle protective injunction matters that are like criminal proceedings, and the consequences of such injunctions can be catastrophic. As such, to find out how Musca Law can help you, contact our Fort Myers Criminal Defense and Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Lawyers right away by calling (888) 484-5057. We are standing by 24/7 to answer your questions and provide you with the legal advice and guidance you need.