Sexual Violence Injunction Defense Lawyers in Gainesville, Florida
When a person engages in violent acts in Gainesville, Florida, he or she will be subject to criminal charges. Said charges may be accompanied by a protective injunction, which is associated with serious legal consequences. In Florida, those who are the victims of violent acts or have a reasonable belief that he or she is at risk for being harmed may seek relief from a civil court by filing what is known as a protective injunction in a Gainesville court. Protective injunctions in Florida are also referred to as protective orders, restraining orders, or generally as injunctions.
Florida law provides that there are five types of injunctions that a person can seek, one of which is referred to as a sexual violence injunction. Claims of sexual violence are very serious, and if a person is accused of same, he or she should immediately contact an experienced Gainesville Criminal and Sexual Violence Injunction Defense Lawyers as soon as possible. When a person is charged with sexual violence, he or she may face significant consequences, including jail time, monetary fines, being labeled as a sex offender, probation, social stigma, and more.
The Gainesville Criminal and Sexual Violence Injunction Defense Attorneys at Musca Law are experienced, knowledgeable, and skilled at handling sexual violence allegations and sexual violence injunctions. 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 Gainesville Criminal and Sexual Violence Injunction Defense Lawyers today by calling (888) 484-5057.
Injunctions in Gainesville – Orders Issued by Civil Courts that Have Criminal-Type Repercussions
The issuance of injunctions in Gainesville can dramatically affect one’s constitutional rights. An injunction is associated with many legal repercussions and may even expose a person to criminal liability if he or she violates it. Given the serious nature of Gainesville injunctions, any person who is facing one must contact a skilled Gainesville Criminal and Sexual Violence Injunction Defense Attorney. Under Florida law, there are five types of injunctions, including:
- Sexual Violence Injunctions
- Dating Violence Injunctions
- Stalking Injunctions
- Domestic Violence Injunctions
- Repeat Violence Injunctions
Regardless of the type of injunction pursued, the consequences of an injunction, as noted above, can negatively affect the alleged offender’s rights for years to come. However, a person cannot seek an injunction without satisfying the legal requirements under Florida law. In Gainesville, the person who is pursuing the injunction is identified as the “petitioner,” while the person subject to the injunction is referred to as the “respondent.”
The Legal Requirements That Must be Satisfied in Order to Obtain a Alachua County Sexual Violence Injunction
The process for obtaining an injunction is the same for all of the injunctions listed above. However, the requirements for each are different under Florida law. Under 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 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 of a variety of different acts, which are 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 Gainesville. As such, a respondent must immediately hire a skilled lawyer who can develop the strongest defense on his or her behalf.
*Sexual Violence that Involves Minor Children – A Special Note to Respondents
A petitioner who seeks to obtain a sexual violence injunction in Gainesville often asserts that they were the victim of sexual violence such as rape. Sometimes said petitioner may be the guardian or parent of a minor (a child under the age of eighteen) who was subject to sexual violence. Accordingly, if a sexual violence injunction petition involves a minor, the petitioner must report the sexual violence to police and cooperate with them during their investigation.
The Sexual Violence Injunction Process in Gainesville
It is a rather short process for a petitioner to obtain a sexual violence injunction. All injunctions involve the same procedures, which are as follows:
Step One – The Petitioner Files a Petition in Court
A person who seeks a sexual violence injunction in Gainesville must file a court-approved form referred to as a petition. The petition must provide detailed information as to the facts supporting the need for a sexual violence injunction, and if available, any evidence of same.
Step Two – The Presiding Judge Reviews the Petition
The judge presiding over the sexual violence injunction case then reviews the petition and renders a determination as to whether it is plausible and meets the requirements under Florida law. If evidence is provided along with the petition, the judge will examine it thoroughly. Keep in mind that it is not required for a petitioner to submit evidence at the petition stage of the case.
Step Three – The Court Determines Whether to Issue a Temporary Injunction
A judge has the discretion to either grant or deny a sexual violence temporary injunction. If the judge decides to issue a temporary injunction, it will last for fifteen days prior to when the final hearing is held. Many judges air on the side of caution and issue a temporary injunction in order to protect the alleged victim from being subject to further acts of sexual violence.
Step Four – The Final Hearing
If a judge issues a temporary sexual violence injunction, the court will schedule a hearing to occur approximately 15 days after the injunction is issued.
Step 5 – Service of Process on the Respondent
A respondent is then served with a copy of the temporary injunction order (if one is issued), a notice of the date and time of the hearing, and a copy of the petition. A respondent is served with same in Gainesville by the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.
Step Six – Continuing the Hearing Date
Sexual violence injunction matters occur very quickly, which is why an attorney for the respondent often seeks to continue, or delay, the final hearing date in order to adequately prepare a strong defense strategy. Many respondents who choose to represent themselves do not realize that they have a right to postpone the hearing date, which is why it is critical to work with an experienced Gainesville Criminal and Sexual Violence Injunction Defense Attorney.
Step Seven – The Final Hearing Date
At the final hearing, the parties present their respective case before the presiding judge. They may also present evidence to support their positions, which may include witness testimony, phone logs, and documentation such as letters and electronic correspondence (which may include text messages, social media postings, and emails). 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
After each party presents their case, the judge will review the evidence as well as take into consideration any witness testimony. At such time, the judge will decide whether to grant or deny a sexual violence injunction. If a sexual violence injunction is approved, the respondent must fully adhere to its terms, or else he or she could face serious criminal penalties.
How Hiring an Attorney to Defend Against a Gainesville Sexual Violence Injunction is Essential
The process of defending a respondent against a sexual violence injunction in Gainesville is similar to the process of defending a person against criminal charges. In many cases, a person who is the subject of a sexual violence injunction proceeding may also be charged with a sexual violence offense. If a respondent is facing the prospects of a sexual violence injunction in Gainesville, his or her attorney will take a number of different steps to prepare for his or her case. These include, without limitation, the following:
- Review the claims raised by the petitioner in the petition;
- Review all of the evidence submitted by petitioner along with the petition;
- Obtain witness statements;
- Determine whether a current criminal case exists pertaining to the sexual violence claims raised by the petitioner;
- Identify who the presiding judge is in the matter and review his or her prior decisions;
- Determine whether the respondent has been convicted of other crimes in the past; and
- Determine whether the petitioner has made prior misleading or false claims.
If a petition does not meet the strict requirements of a Gainesville sexual violence injunction, the attorney can present such an argument during the final hearing stage of the case. Moreover, if the petitioner made false allegations or included misleading or misstated facts in the petition, the respondent’s attorney can present evidence to the court to refute his or her allegations. It is important to understand that no attorney can guarantee a favorable result, however, having a skilled Gainesville Criminal and Sexual Violence Injunction Defense Attorney can dramatically increase the odds of having the sexual violence injunction denied.
Sexual Violence Injunction and the Resulting Ramifications in Gainesville
The consequences of a sexual violence injunction in Gainesville can permanently affect the life of the respondent. If a respondent is subject to a potential sexual violence injunction, he or she is likely facing a corresponding criminal proceeding. If so, he or she will have to face a prosecutor as well as a civil court judge. Regardless of whether this is a criminal proceeding underway, a sexual violence injunction is associated with serious legal repercussions, including, without limitation, the following:
- The prohibition of the respondent from being within a certain area (meaning, he or she cannot be within a certain number of feet from the petitioner);
- A reputation for being a sex offender, even if a jury does not establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the respondent is guilty of a sex crime;
- Social stigma (as well as stigma from friends, relatives, and coworkers);
- The inability for the respondent to own ammunition and firearms for the period of time that the sexual violence injunction is in place;
- The requirement for the respondent to seek a mental health evaluation;
- The requirement for the respondent to obtain counseling at his or her own expense; and
- Potential criminal liability if the judge determines that a sexual violence injunction is warranted.
Violating a sexual violence injunction in Gainesville can amount to misdemeanor or felony charges, depending upon the specific set of circumstances in one’s case. Violating a sexual violence injunction one or two times results in first-degree misdemeanor charges, which is associated with a jail term of up to one year and up to a $1,000 fine for each offense. Three or more violations are each a third-degree felony, which carries with it a prison term of up to five years and a monetary fine of up to $5,000 for each offense.
Terminating or Modifying a Gainesville Sexual Violence Injunction
The parties may jointly or individually seek to modify or terminate a sexual violence injunction however, to do so, they must submit a motion to the court. The judge may then determine whether to grant or deny a modification or termination of the injunction after reviewing the evidence that was submitted along with the motion. There are a number of reasons why a sexual violence injunction may be modified or terminated, which may include, without limitation, the following:
- For any reason, the petitioner seeks to terminate the injunction;
- The petitioner wishes to increase the restrictions imposed upon the respondent due to alleged acts of repeat violence;
- The respondent decides to move out of state such that the injunction is no longer warranted or relevant;
- The respondent wishes to terminate the sexual violence injunction due to evidence evincing that the petition was premised upon misleading or completely false accusations; and
- The parties jointly wish to terminate the sexual violence injunction due to having made amends.
The Term of a Sexual Violence Injunction in Gainesville
Gainesville judges may issue a sexual violence injunction in light of the facts and circumstances of each case, as well as decide how long the injunction should last. As such, a judge may choose to order the sexual violence injunction to last for a certain period of time, or indefinitely. Should the sexual violence injunction be set to expire, the petitioner has the right to seek an extension of its terms at least 30 days prior to its expiration date. If he or she does not do so, the sexual violence injunction will expire and the respondent no longer is subject to its terms.
Contact the Gainesville Criminal Defense and Sexual Violence Injunction Defense Attorneys at Musca Law Today!
Being accused of sexual violence is a serious matter in Gainesville. Accordingly, you should challenge the sexual violence injunction with a skilled Gainesville Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible. 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 rights and options.