Lawyers for Defense of Protection Injunctions in Gainesville, Florida (FL)
Injunctions for Protection in Gainesville, Florida (FL)
A restraining order, also known as a temporary injunction, is granted by a judge in order to protect another individual from wrongdoing, harm, or contact. In a legal sense, the individual who seeks the protection of an injunction is known as the petitioner, while the party against whom the injunction was issued is known as the respondent. In some cases, each party can be both the respondent and the petitioner. It is important to realize that being named as a respondent in a Gainesville petition is a serious matter that can result in serious legal and personal repercussions for years to come. Accordingly, it is critical for the respondent to hire a skilled Gainesville criminal defense lawyer who is adept at developing the strongest defense strategy legally possible.
When a petitioner requests the court to issue him or her an injunction, the presiding judge must first determine whether a temporary injunction is warranted against the respondent. The judge bases this decision solely on the allegations brought forth in the petition. Keep in mind that the facts of the petition can be exaggerated, misrepresented, or completely false. For instance, some people seek an injunction against another person in order to seek revenge or gain the upper hand in a civil case such as a family law matter. Having a seasoned Gainesville criminal defense attorney can assist the respondent in protecting his or her legal rights and protect his or her child or children from the restrictions associated with an injunction, whether temporary or permanent.
Severe Potential Consequences for Violating an Injunction for Protection in Gainesville, Florida (FL)
A violation of an injunctive order can result in the police filing criminal charges against the respondent. Moreover, a conviction for the knowing and willful violation of an injunction may carry with it a one year term of imprisonment, which is associated with a first-degree misdemeanor conviction. However, the court may, based upon the facts and circumstances of the case, order the respondent to be imprisoned for up to five years, which is associated with a felony in the third degree.
Types of Injunctive Relief in Gainesville, Florida
Domestic Violence Injunctions in Gainesville, Florida
A judge can issue an order for an injunction that requires the respondent to stop engaging in certain behavior that constitutes domestic violence. Domestic violence refers to a particular category of actions that occur between two people who meet the definition of having a domestic relationship. An act of domestic violence can fall into a number of categories such as assault, false imprisonment, battery, kidnapping, or some other type of action that is likely to cause physical harm or death.
The domestic violence must be directed to a member of one’s household or a family member, or satisfy a number of other conditions. A threat to commit any of the above-referenced actions, such as assault and battery, can make the petitioner qualify for a domestic violence injunction. The judge also has the discretion to order a domestic violence injunction if the petitioner has a reasonable fear that he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence.
The second prong of proving domestic violence refers to the relationship between the respondent and the petitioner. Specifically, in order to obtain a domestic violence injunction, the parties must be in a qualifying relationship. These relationships include individuals who live together or had lived together, or they have a child or children in common. If the parties have a child or children in common, they do not have to live with one another in order for the petitioner to obtain a domestic violence injunction.
Injunctions to Protect Against Dating Violence
Dating violence is akin to domestic violence for several reasons. Specifically, a dating violence injunction seeks to prevent the respondent from harming or threatening to harm the petitioner. A dating violence injunction will only be approved if the parties have a romantic or dating 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 intentional, malicious, or repetitive harassment, or the physical following of the petitioner. In these instances, the victim of stalking can seek a stalking injunction and also pursue criminal charges against the respondent. Most stalking incidents involve those who know each other, however, it can occur between complete strangers. In other words, most stalking victims know the person who is seeking to follow and/or harass them.
A respondent can also be the subject of a stalking injunction if he or she engages in cyberstalking, which is defined as threats or other forms of communication sent by electronic means that serve no valid purpose and cause the petitioner to suffer from severe emotional distress. Electronic communications encompass a variety of interpersonal communications including text messages, emails, or via social media such as Facebook.
An injunction to Prevent Repeat Violence
When a person is the victim of violence or stalking at least two times, he or she can seek to obtain a repeat violence injunction. This type of 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 issue an injunction to prevent sexual violence even if a companion criminal case is dismissed or the police choose not to pursue criminal charges against the respondent. In most cases, a sexual violence petition is filed along with criminal charges associated with a sexual assault. The petitioner must allege that the respondent engaged in sexual violence, such as rape, or lewdness against a child.
A person who violates an injunction for protection in Gainesville could face serious criminal penalties and other repercussions.
A criminal court does not grant the injunction, as a protective order is entirely a civil matter. However, if a person violates an injunction, he or she could face serious civil penalties, including being held in contempt of court. The state’s attorney could also seek criminal charges against the respondent for being in violation of the court order. In this case, the respondent could be imprisoned for up to one year and be forced to pay a hefty monetary fine. The penalties become enhanced if the respondent violates an injunction while in possession of ammunition or a firearm.
An injunction for a protective order is part of the public record in Florida, which means that any person can learn that an injunction was issued against the respondent. The mere presence of an injunction on a person’s record could prevent them from finding gainful employment or suitable housing, or obtaining a bank loan.
The Process of Applying for Injunctive Relief in Alachua County, Florida
If a person is harmed or in fear of being harmed, he or she can seek injunctive relief by filing a petition for an injunction with the court clerk. The petitioner must specify, in detail, the nature of his or her relationship with the respondent, and describe what the respondent did to cause harm to him or put him or her in fear of being imminently harmed. The judge must determine 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 choose to approve a temporary, or preliminary, injunction. The judge may even grant the temporary injunction without the presence of the respondent. This is known as an ex parte hearing in Florida. The court must then issue a notice to the respondent that a petition for injunctive relief has been filed against him or her. The respondent will then have the ability to refute the allegations in the petition at the subsequent hearing.
Once the judge decides whether or not to approve the temporary injunction, he or she may schedule a final hearing date that occurs fifteen days from when the judge issued the temporary injunction. It is important to realize that the judge can deny the temporary injunction, dismiss the petition, and not schedule a final hearing, depending upon the facts and circumstances of the case.
If a judge schedules a hearing, this occurs at least fifteen days from when the judge determines whether or not to grant the temporary injunction. The hearing date can be continued, or extended, if the parties agree and there is good cause to do so. At the permanent injunction hearing, both the petitioner and respondent can present evidence such as witness testimony to support their respective cases.
Self-Representation Could Result in Serious Legal Repercussions
A permanent injunction hearing is less formal than a regular trial however, that does not mean that it is not associated with serious legal consequences. Otherwise stated, some people choose to represent themselves because of the lack of formality, which is never recommended. While the hearing is typically quick and the rules of evidence are not strictly enforced, people who represent themselves quickly find that they are in way too deep when it is too late. Even though the hearing is more relaxed than a trial, the judge expects those who choose to represent themselves to know and understand the law, which is not always the case. The judge also expects litigants to exercise the highest level of decorum at all stages of the proceeding, of which the parties may not be aware. In essence, it may be challenging for a non-represented litigant to argue on his or her behalf simply because they may not be familiar with the law and the court procedures. This is why a respondent should seek the experienced representation of one of Musca Law’s seasoned Gainesville criminal defense attorneys. Their expertise, understanding of the law, and highly developed skill will help protect a respondent when someone says that they are afraid of him or her and that without the court stepping in to issue an order of protection, he or she might hurt them.
How Long Will The Temporary Order Last?
An order for a temporary injunction typically lasts for fifteen days. However, the temporary order may be in effect for fifteen days after the respondent is released from prison if the judge decides to order a temporary injunction while the respondent is in jail.
How Long Might the Permanent Order Last?
A permanent injunction can last indefinitely. There is a presumption in Florida that the order for a permanent injunction will not be terminated unless one of the parties petitions the court to alter, rescind, or dissolve it. A judge may choose to include an expiration date in the original order.
Living with an Injunction has Serious Consequences
Living under the restrains of a permanent injunction is never simple. The respondent must always be careful to not be present where the petitioner is present at all times. He or she also cannot have any direct or indirect communication with the petitioner. The parties also cannot communicate through a third person such as a family member or friend. Keep in mind that one misstep could cause the respondent to be deemed in violation of the injunction, which as provided above, is associated with serious legal and personal repercussions.
An injunction is part of the public record, which means that a potential employer could learn about the order by conducting a simple background search. The prospective employer may not choose to hire someone who was accused of harming or threatening to cause harm to another person.
Restraining orders also have additional consequences. Specifically, the respondent may be prohibited from having contact with his or her children or other family members. Moreover, a judge in a family law matter may decide to grant the petitioner custody of the parties’ child or children should an injunction be issued against the respondent. In other words, 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.
Additionally, the respondent may be prohibited from being at a certain place where the petitioner frequents, such as a house of worship, school, or workplace. If the parties to the injunction work together, then the respondent’s reputation may be affected and he or she could lose his or her job. Furthermore, once a permanent injunction is set into place, the respondent will be required turn over to law enforcement any ammunition and firearms. However, the respondent’s Gainesville criminal defense lawyer may file a motion to reinstate the firearms rights and privileges of the respondent.
Using an Injunction as a Weapon in Gainesville
Both men and women can use the courts to gain the upper hand in a pending civil case, such as a family law proceeding. This means that not every individual who files a petition for an injunction is telling the truth. In fact, many people who file a petition or a permanent injunction are simply seeking to exact revenge on the respondent. The petitioner could seek the assistance of law enforcement by indicating that the injunction was violated, even when in reality, it wasn’t. A party can also seek an injunction to prevent the respondent from being in the presence of the parties’ child or children. Essentially, injunctions are often abused and misused in this way. That is why it is critical for a person that is the subject of a petition to hire a seasoned Gainesville criminal defense lawyer to launch the strongest defense case possible on his or her behalf. A skilled lawyer can also fight for the respondent’s legal rights and interests.
What is the distinction between a restraining order and a protective injunction?
A restraining order is a temporary remedy that is put into place for the short term. These are not permanent and only last for about fifteen days until the hearing date. A protective injunction is a permanent remedy, unless the judge imposes an expiration date. A temporary injunction is issued before the final hearing and a protective injunction is issued, if applicable, at the final hearing.
Possible penalties for violating an order of injunctions
If a person is in violation of an injunctive order, it is typically associated with a charge of a first-degree misdemeanor. A first-degree misdemeanor is serious, as it typically results in a one-year jail term and monetary fines. The judge can also order the respondent to a period of probation. The judge may also order the respondent to seek mental health counseling at his or her own expense.
Can a protective order be challenged?
A protective order can be refuted. Each individual has the right to be heard at the injunction hearing. The respondent can also appeal his or her case should a permanent injunction be issued by the court. Hiring an experienced Gainesville criminal defense attorney is the best way in which to avoid the repercussions 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 with a seasoned Gainesville 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.