Dating Violence Injunction Defense Lawyers in Jacksonville, Florida
The lawyers at Musca Law fight aggressively to defend the legal rights and interests of clients who are facing dating violence injunctions in Jacksonville, Florida. We are highly familiar with the issues raised in these matters and work hand-in-hand with our clients at every stage of their case. Call Musca Law today at (888) 484-5057 to learn more about your legal options and how our team of dedicated legal professionals can make a difference for you.
Types of Injunctions Against Violence in Jacksonville
Under Florida law, there are a number of types of injunctions that are geared towards protecting others from acts of violence. In these cases, injunctions are also known as orders of protection or restraining orders. Injunctions against violence in Florida fall into one of five types:
- Dating violence
- Domestic violence
- Repeat violence
- Sexual violence
With each of these injunctions, the case commences with the filing of a Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Dating Violence. The individual filing the petition is known as the “petitioner” throughout the pendency of his or her case, and the person who is the subject of the injunction is referred to as the “respondent.”
Once the court receives a petition, it will ascertain whether a temporary injunction is warranted and will schedule a hearing that both parties attend. By the conclusion of the hearing, the court will then determine whether a permanent injunction should be issued in the case.
Definition of ‘Dating Violence’ Under Florida Law
Under Florida Statute § 784.046, “dating violence” is one or more violent acts committed inside of a relationship that is continuing, significant, and romantic in nature. A violent act under Florida law is an incident of stalking, assault, battery, sexual battery, or any aggravated offense of these kinds. Violent acts also include kidnapping and false imprisonment, as well as any other type of conduct that results in injury to another person.
In deciding whether a dating violence injunction is warranted, the court will examine several factors pertaining to the significance and continuity of the relationship between the respondent and the petitioner. The relationship cannot have terminated over six months before the petition is filed. It must also involve an expectation of affection or intimacy between the petitioner and the respondent.
In support of its decision, the court will consider the length of the relationship as well as the frequency of contact. If the court determines that the relationship was merely casual, such as purely professional or social, or otherwise does not meet the statutory definition, a dating violence injunction should not be granted.
Persons Able to Seek Jacksonville Dating Violence Injunctions
If a relationship meets the legal requirements, an individual may pursue a dating violence injunction in Jacksonville, if he or she:
- Is the victim of past dating violence;
- Has reasonable cause to believe that he or she is in imminent danger of recurrent dating violence;
- Has reasonable cause to believe that he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of dating violence;
- Is the parent or legal guardian of a minor living at home who is the victim of dating violence.
Keep in mind that if a dating violence petition is sought on behalf of a child (an individual under the age of eighteen), the law requires that the legal guardian or parent have reasonable cause to believe that dating violence has occurred. Notwithstanding, if the petition is filed against another legal guardian or parent, the law provides that the petitioner must have been a witness to the act(s) of dating violence or needs to submit an affidavit from others who witnessed the act(s).
Dating Violence Injunction Case Process in Jacksonville
The case process for a dating violence injunction in Jacksonville typically involves the following:
- The petition is filed. The first step in the process is the filing of the petition for injunction at the court in one’s jurisdiction. The petitioner can provide supporting documentation with the petition for the court to examine, and the case will be assigned to the civil docket for adjudication.
- Court review. Once the petitioner files petition and all supporting documentation with the court, it reviews everything that was submitted.
- Temporary injunction. If it believes it is necessary, the court will issue a temporary injunction against dating violence once it has reviewed all of the filings. A temporary injunction is generally issued solely on the basis of the petitioner’s submission and without any input from the respondent.
- The scheduling of the hearing. Following the filing of the petition, the court will schedule a final hearing on the matter. This typically is scheduled no more than fifteen days after the date that the petition is filed.
- Service of process. The respondent will be served with process after the above steps are taken. In most instances, a local sheriff serves the respondent, which would be the Duval County Sheriff’s Office in a Jacksonville case. Service includes a copy of the petition, a notice for the scheduled hearing, and a copy of the temporary injunction order, if the court decides to issue one.
- Motion practice. The attorney for the respondent may file certain motions after the respondent is served, which often includes a motion to continue, or push back, the hearing date. Oftentimes, by the time that the respondent learns about the hearing, he or she has a limited amount of time with which to prepare. A continuance can provide the respondent with enough time to prepare a strong defense. A temporary injunction, if in effect, will be extended if the hearing is continued.
- Hearing. During the hearing, the respondent and petitioner will have the chance to be heard. They can bring forth witnesses, cross-examine witnesses, and introduce additional evidence on their behalves. The respondent’s goal at this time is to cast doubt on the allegations raised against him or her and the veracity of the petitioner’s case.
- Court Order. When it has weighed all of the evidence, the court will issue its final order. If the injunction is denied, any temporary injunction in effect will terminate, and the case will be closed. If the injunction is granted, the respondent will need to immediately begin complying with its terms and conditions for its entire duration, which could be permanent.
Modifying a Jacksonville Dating Violence Injunction
An injunction for dating violence can be modified or dissolved through the court upon request from either the respondent or the petitioner. Specifically, either party may want to alter some of the terms of the injunction or eliminate it completely.
One primary reason for modification is to extend the injunction period. In some instances, the court will not set an expiration date on a dating violence injunction. In cases where the injunction is set to expire, the petitioner may wish to request that the court extend its term. This can be accomplished without the submission of new evidence and without allegation of new acts of violence. The petitioner, in this instance, must establish to the court that he or she has reasonable cause to believe that an act of dating violence will occur if the injunction expires.
Jacksonville Dating Violence Injunction Violations and Penalties
In Jacksonville, dating violence injunctions are civil – not criminal – matters. The court that approved the injunction may require regular hearings to track the respondent’s compliance with the injunction and to ensure that no violations have occurred. If the court determines that the respondent violated the injunction, the respondent will face criminal charges.
The type of conduct that is considered to constitute a violation of an injunction is continued upon the specific terms of the order. With that being said, violations of Jacksonville injunctions often include the following:
- The respondent contacted the petitioner in some manner;
- The respondent arrived at the petitioner’s residence or presented within 500 feet of the petitioner’s residence;
- The respondent went to or presented within 500 feet of the petitioner’s place of work;
- The respondent went to or presented within 500 feet of the petitioner’s school;
- The respondent went to or presented within 500 feet of the petitioner’s child’s school;
- The respondent did not surrender his or her firearms and/or ammunition to law enforcement;
- The respondent purchased additional firearms or ammunition;
- The respondent threatened the petitioner with acts of violence; and/or
- The respondent committed an act of violence against the petitioner.
The court that granted the injunction for dating violence in Jacksonville can pursue certain enforcement actions against the respondent by imposing fines and holding him or her in contempt of court. A willful violation of an injunction against dating violence is also a criminal offense in Jacksonville and can be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor. If convicted, the respondent may be required to pay a $1,000 fine and be imprisoned for up to one year.
Repeat violations will result in harsher penalties. If the respondent has been convicted of two violations of an injunction, any violation thereafter will be charged as a third-degree felony. If convicted of this level of felony, the respondent may be required to pay a $5,000 fine and could face up to a five-year prison term.
FAQs About Jacksonville Dating Violence Injunctions
Our clients typically have many questions when facing a dating violence injunction in Jacksonville. As such, we have provided the answer to the most frequently asked questions below. If you have questions about dating violence injunctions or are seeking legal counsel for such a case, please contact our office. We can review the circumstances of your case and help you understand the next steps to take.
What happens if I do not challenge a petition for a dating violence injunction?
If you do not challenge the petition in your case, you have not attempted to show the court that the injunction is unwarranted or you have not defended yourself against the allegations raised in the petition. Without any response from you, the court will render its decision based upon what the petitioner has alleged, and it is likely that the court will thereby grant the injunction. We always want our clients to understand how serious these matters are and the negative effects that dating violence injunctions can have on their lives. As such, we NEVER recommend that a petition go unchallenged.
What will happen if the court grants the injunction in my case?
If, upon consideration of all of the evidence presented, the court determines to grant the dating violence injunction, you must immediately comply with its terms. The order for the dating violence injunction will provide in detail all of the prohibited conduct and behavior. You must be sure to comply with all of the terms of the court’s order for the duration of the injunction.
In many instances, respondents must immediately cease all contact with the petitioner and surrender any ammunition and firearms in their possession. Respondent will also be prohibited from going to the petitioner’s residence, school, workplace, or other places where he or she frequents.
How long will a dating violence injunction against me last?
The duration of the injunction should be provided in the injunction order from the court. The court has the discretion to issue an injunction that can last several months, years, or on a permanent basis.
That being said, either party can request that the court modify the injunction, including changing the injunction’s expiration. The parties can also seek to have the court entirely dissolve the injunction, if the circumstances warrant.
The court in my case granted a temporary injunction that says I can have “no contact” with the petitioner. What does this mean?
The court has the discretion to grant a temporary injunction when a person files a petition for a dating violence injunction. The temporary injunction will remain effective until the court determines whether to grant a permanent injunction, and its terms are binding upon the respondent.
If a temporary injunction has been issued against you, it means that you cannot have any contact whatsoever with the petitioner through any means, including in person, via electronic communication such as text messages or emails, or by telephone. The respondent is also prohibited from having any indirect contact with the petitioner, which includes asking a third party such as a family member or friend to relay a message to the petitioner.
I just received notice of a hearing in my case, and it’s only a few days from now. How can I be prepared in time for the hearing?
Unfortunately, this occurs in many instances. Respondents are served with process after many decisions have already been made, such as setting the hearing and granting a temporary injunction. It takes time for a person to be properly served, which means that a respondent may have very little time prior to the hearing to prepare.
The most important thing for you to do at this point is (1) review any temporary injunction enclosed so that you can follow it completely, and (2) contact an experienced Jacksonville dating violence injunction defense attorney, like those at Musca Law. Your lawyer can file a motion that will give you more time to build a defense and will guide you through the entire legal process.
What will happen if I don’t comply with a dating violence injunction?
You can face criminal charges if you do not comply with the terms of a dating violence injunction. Most injunction violations are charged as a first-degree misdemeanor, which means that you could face a $1,000 fine and a jail term of up to one year. If you are convicted of multiple injunction violations, any subsequent violation will be charged as a third-degree felony, which carries with it a potential five-year prison term and $5,000 in monetary fines.
Due to the severe nature of the penalties associated with violating an injunction order, it is vital that you understand what you are able and unable to do under the terms of the injunction. Your lawyer can assist you in understanding the order in full. You do not want to further risk your freedoms by failing to understand the court’s order.
Will a dating violence injunction against me in Jacksonville show up on a background check?
Yes. A dating violence injunction is a matter of public record, so that will come up on a background check. This is why it is critical to work with a skilled Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer to help you fight against the injunction. Once an injunction is in place, it can affect your ability to find housing and jobs, as well as your ability to obtain a bank loan.
When a dating violence injunction expires, will it stop showing up on a background check?
No, a dating violence injunction cannot be expunged, or erased, from people’s records, so even after it has expired, it will continue to show up on a background check. Other effects of the injunction can also outlast the order itself. For instance, you could permanently lose your right to possess a firearm.
Contact Musca Law Today to Defend Your Liberties!
The attorneys at Musca Law have more than 150 years’ experience combined in criminal defense, and we understand what is on the line for our clients facing dating violence injunctions in Jacksonville. Our Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys provide free case reviews and consultations and are available to schedule yours today when you call (888) 484-5057.