Repeat Violence Injunction Lawyers in Gainesville, Florida
In Florida, it is illegal to commit assault, sex crimes, battery, and stalking. Even threats to engage in this behavior can result in a criminal conviction. In most cases, violent conduct can lead to criminal charges being sought against an alleged offender. While violence can lead to criminal charges, it can also result in an injunction being pursued against him or her, which is a civil court remedy aimed at preventing further acts of violence. While an injunction is a civil court proceeding, it often presents like a criminal case despite the fact that it does not amount to such penalties as jail time, probation, and monetary fines (unless it is violated).
In Gainesville, a person can pursue an injunction on his or her own behalf and/or on behalf of a minor child. The injunction serves to prevent the alleged offender, referred to as the “respondent,” from having contact with the alleged victim, referred to as the “petitioner.” When seeking an injunction, a person can choose which one applies in their case, as there are five types of injunctions that are available under Florida law – one of which includes a repeat violence injunction. A repeat violence injunction applies to those who have been subject to more than one act of violence, one of which must have happened within six months before the petitioner files a court-approved document known as a “petition.”
Many individuals who seek a repeat violence injunction may believe that they are in danger of becoming the victim of violent acts. The wellbeing and safety of a minor child may be compromised as well. Notwithstanding, there are times when a petitioner seeks a repeat violence injunction due to misstated, misrepresented, exaggerated, or completely false allegations. This can dramatically harm a respondent, as a repeat violence injunction is associated with serious legal repercussions.
Any individual who is a respondent in a repeat violence injunction case, or who may be subject to any other type of injunction, must contact a skilled Gainesville Criminal and Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Attorney as soon as possible, as the repercussions of an injunction can negatively and permanently affect the life of the respondent. At Musca Law, our team of experienced Gainesville Criminal and Repeat Violence Defense Attorneys have handled countless injunction cases, and are ready now to help you learn more about your legal rights and options. To speak with one of our lawyers, you can contact us at (888) 484-5057.
What are the Different Types of Injunctions in Gainesville, Florida?
For anyone who is pursuing an injunction in Gainesville, he or she must submit to the court a petition using an approved form that provides for the type of injunction requested and a detailed summary of the facts that support the request for an injunction. There are five types of injunctions under Florida law that a petitioner can seek are as follows:
- Repeat Violence Injunction;
- Domestic Violence Injunction;
- Stalking Injunction;
- Sexual Violence Injunction; and
- Dating Violence Injunction.
Once a person files a petition with the court, the presiding judge will review it and decide whether or not to issue a temporary injunction. If a temporary injunction is approved, the judge will schedule a final hearing on the matter fifteen days after the time that it was issued. Keep in mind that a judge has the discretion to deny the temporary injunction yet still schedule a final hearing in the matter. Soon thereafter, the respondent is served with a copy of the petition, the temporary injunction order (if one is issued), and notice including the date and time of the final hearing. Service of process on the respondent is typically handled in Gainesville by the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.
At this juncture, the respondent must then immediately contact a skilled Gainesville Criminal and Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Lawyer, as fifteen days is not a lot of time to prepare for a strong defense strategy. Oftentimes, the attorney for the respondent, in order to have more time to fully prepare a strong defense, may seek to continue, or delay, the hearing date. During this time, the terms of a temporary injunction remain in effect.
At the final hearing, the parties have the right to present their respective cases before the court. An experienced attorney is critical at this stage, as they are familiar with the judge, the court’s procedures, and the applicable law.
Florida Law Governing Repeat Violence Injunctions
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 dramatically affect the respondent for years to come, if not permanently. Even if the respondent is not subject to criminal charges, he or she will face criminal-like consequences, which include, without limitation, the need to surrender firearms and ammunition to law enforcement. Moreover, the respondent may also be required to seek a mental health evaluation and treatment at his or her own expense. If a repeat violence injunction is violated, then the respondent could face criminal charges. Hence, a respondent should treat an injunction as seriously as any criminal offense.
What is Needed to Pursue a Temporary Repeat Violence Injunction Case in Gainesville, Florida
Repeat violence injunctions in Gainesville are commonly pursued by members of the same household or family, including spouses, ex-spouses, significant others, and parents. In other instances, a repeat violence injunction may be sought to prevent violence from others such as neighbors, friends, co-workers, or even complete strangers. Unlike other forms of injunctions in Florida, repeat violence injunctions can be pursued, regardless of the type of relationship that exists between the respondent and petitioner.
In a repeat violence case, the petitioner must prove that he or she was subject to more than one violent act that occurred within six months prior to the time that he or she filed the petition. While it is not a requirement, the petitioner may submit evidence along with the petition in order to further support his or her case. Judges prefer that a petition is supported with ample documentation, including phone logs, texts, and email exchanges, when determining whether to grant or deny a temporary injunction. In essence, judges want petitioners to bring forth enough evidence to demonstrate that they are at risk of repeat violence in order to decide whether to grant a temporary injunction and schedule a final hearing in the matter.
Given that the safety of Gainesville citizens is paramount, judges often air on the side of caution and grant a temporary injunction. Otherwise stated, judges weigh the costs and benefits of issuing a temporary injunction, often deciding that the petitioner’s safety outweighs the negative repercussions that a respondent will face once a temporary injunction is in place. This is not to suggest that judges always grant temporary injunctions, as the petition may contain misrepresented, misstated, exaggerated, misleading, and completely false information. In fact, there are times when a petitioner files a petition just for the purpose of exacting revenge upon a respondent, which often occurs when one spouse is seeking to gain an advantage in a case, such as in a family law proceeding involving a custody battle.
The Repeat Violence Injunction Final Hearing Process in Alachua County Florida
Once a judge decides to grant a temporary injunction, the respondent will be able to refute and/or explain the allegations brought forth in the petition. An experienced Gainesville Criminal and Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Attorney will submit evidence to the court demonstrating that the allegations in the petition were exaggerated, misstated, misleading, misrepresented, or completely false. Evidence that may be presented to the court may include electronic communications such as emails, text messages, and social media postings. Other relevant evidence may also include letters, a petitioner’s criminal record, phone logs, and voicemails. Once all of the evidence has been submitted to the court, the judge then determines whether or not to grant a repeat violence injunction.
The Consequences of a Repeat Violence Injunction in Gainesville, Florida
If a repeat violence injunction is issued during the final hearing, the respondent may face serious consequences. These include having no further contact with the petitioner, submitting to a mental health evaluation, seeking mental health treatment at the respondent’s expense, face difficulty finding housing and gainful employment, the inability to obtain a bank loan, social stigma, a permanent record, the loss of family and friends, and the inability to remain in a shared dwelling.
Given the above-stated consequences, the respondent must contact a skilled and experienced Gainesville and Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Lawyer as soon as possible in order to challenge the petition and raise the strongest defense case possible.
The Termination or Modification of a Repeat Violence Injunction in Gainesville, Florida
There is the option for either party to modify or terminate a repeat violence injunction. Such an injunction may last indefinitely or have an expiration date. A petitioner can return to court to seek to modify, or extend it, at least 30 days before it is set to expire. Moreover, one or both parties can jointly seek a termination of the repeat violence injunction if they made amends, which is typical when parties share a child in common. The respondent may also pursue a termination of the repeat violence injunction if he or she moves out of state, such that the injunction is no longer warranted or relevant.
In seeking a modification or termination of a repeat violence injunction, the moving party must submit a motion to the court requesting same. At a hearing on the matter, the parties can present their respective positions in either supporting or opposing a motion to modify or terminate the repeat violence injunction.
Violating a Repeat Violence Injunction in Gainesville, Florida
Under Florida law, if a repeat violence injunction is violated, then a respondent may face the following criminal repercussions:
First violation – this is a misdemeanor in the first degree, which is associated with up to a one-year prison term, a monetary fine of up to $1,000, and probation.
Second violation – this is also a misdemeanor in the first degree, punishable as provided above. However, in some instances, a respondent may face multiple terms of a repeat violence injunction at one time. In this view, the respondent could face numerous counts of violating a repeat violence injunction, which is associated with a prison term of up to two years and a monetary fine of up to $2,000.
Third violation – this constitutes a felony in the third degree, which is associated with a jail term of up to five years and a monetary penalty of up to $5,000.
Four or more violations – each subsequent violation is a felony in the third degree. Numerous violations can result in multiple felony charges.
Opposing a Repeat Violence Injunction in Gainesville, Florida
Repeat violence injunction proceedings can be both stressful and complex, however, a skilled lawyer can make the process a lot less overwhelming. When working with a skilled Gainesville Criminal and Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Attorney, a respondent will have the best chances of obtaining a favorable result in his or her case. Otherwise stated, it is vital that the respondent work with an attorney who knows the judges, the court’s procedure, has the requisite skills, experience, and expertise, and who has a stellar reputation in the community.
Despite having an attorney, the judge may decide that a repeat violence injunction is necessary. Notwithstanding, the odds generally increase when a respondent is working alongside of a diligent and aggressive attorney. The right attorney will pursue an in depth review of the case and develop the strongest defense strategy on a respondent’s behalf. Specifically, an experienced attorney knows what is at stake and the steps necessary to persuade the judge that a repeat violence injunction is unwarranted.
Defending Oneself Against a Repeat Violence Injunction in Gainesville, Florida
A respondent has the option of representing himself or herself in court, however, this is not recommended. Civil injunction and criminal cases are extremely serious, and those who choose to represent themselves often lose because they do not know the judge, the applicable law, and the court’s procedures. A respondent may also lack the ability to develop the strongest defense strategy on his or her behalf. Even a respondent who is an attorney is not in the best position to represent himself or herself, as it is important to work with an attorney who is adept at handling repeat violence injunction cases. While having an attorney costs money, the consequences of a repeat violence injunction could be much costlier.
Additionally, Gainesville Repeat Violence Injunction Lawyers have the resources and skills necessary, including the funds, manpower, experience and knowledge, to successfully represent an individual facing a repeat violence injunction.
When representing a respondent in a repeat violence injunction case, an attorney is familiar with all of the defenses that may apply in one’s case. Such defenses include, without limitation, the following:
- The petitioner knowingly made false statements and/or allegations in the petition;
- The petitioner misstated the facts and/or allegations in the petition;
- The petitioner misrepresented the facts and/or allegations in the petition;
- The petitioner did not present sufficient evidence to warrant a repeat violence injunction; and/or
- The petitioner’s allegations are not supported by the facts.
Contact Musca Law Today – Your Freedom and Livelihood are at Stake
Facing a repeat violence injunction in Gainesville is a very serious matter. Therefore, if you have found yourself in this situation, you must act quickly in seeking the advice and guidance of a superior Gainesville Criminal Defense Lawyer. The attorneys at Musca Law have been representing Florida clients for decades, providing them with outstanding legal representation for all criminal matters as well as civil injunction matters. Our lawyers serve not only the Gainesville area, but all other portions of the state. We also represent clients from outside of Florida who may be facing criminal charges or an injunction proceeding within Florida. To find out how the Gainesville Criminal and Repeat Violence Defense Lawyers of Musca Law can help you, contact our office today by calling (888) 484-5057.