Protective Injunctions from Repeat Violence Defense Lawyers in Jacksonville, Florida (FL)
Protective injunctions, which are sometimes referred to as restraining orders, were designed by the Florida state legislature to empower the courts with a vehicle to protect victims of domestic abuse, sexual violence, stalking, and other violent crimes. On the one hand, the person who receives the protective injunction has the backing of the court to protect them. On the other hand, however, the court infringes upon a person’s individual liberties by ordering that person to refrain from speaking with another or going to a particular location.
The legislature saw a need to protect vulnerable people from harm. To that end, protective injunctions are a valuable tool. Like many other ideas that stem from good intentions, people know how to “game the system” and have learned how to use protective injunctions to their benefit for reasons other than protection from physical or emotional harm. Many petitions for protective injunctions lack merit because they exaggerate the facts or contain outright lies. Notwithstanding, the person opposing the order must abide by the order or face substantial criminal penalties, including incarceration.
If you are confronted with a petition for a repeat violence injunction, you have rights. However, if you fail to act quickly and contact Musca Law at 888-484-5057 immediately, you could lose your right to keep your firearms and ammunition, you could be prohibited from exercising your rights to be a parent, or to go to locations you commonly frequent permanently if you do not take the process seriously and mount a vigorous defense. Musca Law’s Jacksonville Criminal Lawyers have the experience you need, along with the reputation for outstanding advocacy for our clients. Call our Musca Law today to learn more about protecting your rights.
Protective Restraining Orders in Duval County, Florida (FL)
Florida law allows victims of certain types of abuse to seek the protection of the court from additional violence or abuse. Individual protective orders, also known as injunctions or restraining orders, take one of five forms in Florida. The five types of protective injunctions in Florida are:
- Protection from Repeat Violent Offenders;
- Stalking Injunctions;
- Dating Violence Injunction;
- Stalking Injunction; and
- Sexual Violence Injunction.
The person applying for protection from the court called the petitioner files a sworn document in the court called a petition to initiate the process. In the petition, the petitioner must describe in writing why she or he needs the protection of the court from the subject of the petition, who is referred to as the respondent. The petitioner must set out the nature of the relationship that would qualify the petitioner for protection and then set out a factual basis to justify the request. At this time, the respondent does not have a chance to defend the allegations.
A judge must review the petition file by the petitioner before the case goes forward. Judges must decide rapidly whether the petitioner qualifies for protection from the court temporarily without hearing from the respondent. Most judges take the position that issuing a preliminary injunction, or temporary restraining order, which can last no longer than fifteen (15) days, strikes a balance between protecting the petitioner from violence for a short amount of time until the respondent can come to court to argue on his or her behalf. At the end of the fifteen-day interval, the judge will hold a hearing to determine if the injunction should be permanent or whether the petition must be denied.
The Injunction Process in Jacksonville, Florida
Judges have the discretion to issue a temporary injunction when the petitioner files for relief. Preserving the “status quo,” meaning that the judge wants to ensure the safety of the petitioner by granting the preliminary injunction, is routinely done. The hearing for a preliminary injunction is ex parte, which means without the other party. If the judge issues the ex parte, preliminary injunction, then the court will set a hearing date on the merits of the case to determine if a permanent injunction should issue against the respondent.
The respondent has Due Process rights and must receive notice of the final hearing. The sheriff or deputies of the county in which the respondent resides must serve the respondent with all of the papers and notice of the final hearing as well as notice of the preliminary injunction.
The final hearing or trial on the merits of the case could have life-altering consequences for the respondent. The respondent will face jail time, along with hefty fines, for failing to abide by the permanent order. Since the order does not expire if the judge finds in favor of the petitioner, then the only mechanism to terminate or amend the permanent order is to file a motion seeking the appropriate relief. However, judges do not “rubber stamp” petitions or always find in favor of “the woman” because judges understand the life-long legal implications a permanent injunction has for a respondent. Consequently, having the right lawyer by your side will make a tremendous difference for you, your life, and your family.
Jacksonville Repeat Violence Injunctions
Judges take their authority to issue injunctions against repeat violence from the Florida Statutes. Section 784.046(1)(a)sets forth the definition of violence 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 against any other person.” Section 784.056(b) of the Florida Statues delineates “repeat violence” as “two incidents of violence or stalking committed by the respondent, one of which must have been within six months of the filing of the petition, which are directed against the petitioner or the petitioner’s immediate family member.”
The alleged victim, by operation of the statute, has “standing,” or the legal right, to file a petition personally or on behalf of the victim’s minor child when seeking an injunction against repeat violence in Jacksonville. The petitioner must set out facts in the petition, and the testify in court at a later date, that he or she is in genuine fear of suffering another act of violence perpetrated by the respondent.
Injunctions against repeat violence in Jacksonville are “civil” orders. The respondent must surrender all ammunition and firearms to the sheriff’s department if the court grants the preliminary injunction. Refusing to do surrender firearms and ammunition is one of several harsh consequences injunctions against repeat violence have on respondents. The injunction is not a criminal order, although the violation of any term contained in the order could be punished as a crime.
Grounds for a Jacksonville Injunction Against Repeat Violence
Family or so-called “household members” are the most common petitioners for injunctions against repeat violence. Other relationships will qualify for a petition against repeat violence. The victim of repeat violence does not need to establish a specific type of relationship to qualify for protection from repeat violence. Therefore, roommates, ex-partners, coworkers, neighbors, friends, and employers and employees may apply for relief against repeat violence from the court.
The alleged victim has the burden to prove the allegations are true when applying for an injunction against repeat violence. For example, the petitioner must allege that the respondent committed an assault and battery by striking the petitioner violently. Claiming that the respondent has a propensity for violence or has an anger problem is not enough to meet the burden of proof.
Respondents have a right to confront and cross-examine the petitioner. It is wise for the respondent to seek counsel for representation at the hearing for the permanent injunction. To qualify for an injunction against repeat violence in the first instance, the petitioner must allege facts that, if proven, would be a crime, like assault and battery. The respondent has a right to remain silent and not to incriminate himself or herself. Having a Musca Law Jacksonville repeat violence injunction defense attorney confront the petitioner on the respondent’s behalf could probe the petitioner’s allegations and prove to the judge that the petitioner’s claims are false or show why the petitioner’s fear is either not credible or insufficient to impinge the respondent’s rights.
Consequences of Living Under an Injunction Against Repeat Violence in Jacksonville, Florida
The consequences of being the subject of an injunction against repeat violent offenses are severe, which is why it is vitally important to contest the petition vigorously. Otherwise, the respondent will be required to abide by a lengthy list of orders, such as:
- The legal requirement to comply with stringent rules contained for an injunction, like staying a certain distance away from the petitioner;
- Avoiding all contact with the petitioner, which included physical contact, electronic contact, and contact directed by the respondent but made by a third-person;
- Living with the possibilities that any violation, no matter how slight, could land the person in jail and have to pay costly fines;
- Surrendering firearms and one’s right to defend oneself and one’s family, as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution;
- Suffer a blemished reputation because the order will appear in a public records search, thereby making a job search or pursuing educational opportunities more difficult; and
- Attend mental health counseling, anger management, or batterer’s counseling paid for by the respondent.
The possible consequences of becoming subject to an injunctive order carries some of the same obligations as if the respondent was convicted of a crime. The order itself is civil. However, there are components to it that make it a quasi-criminal legal proceeding. Most notably, the underlying facts supporting the petition will assuredly make out a prima facie case for a crime under Florida’s criminal law.
Handling a case like this without a lawyer is dangerous. Even if you believe that the allegations are baseless, exaggerated, or patently false, this is a complicated legal matter that could place you in a terrible situation if you fail to defeat the petitioner’s case. As a repeat offender, the judge will examine your criminal record and look at prior offenses. Even if you are not responsible for the actions the petitioner alleged in the petition, the judge might be persuaded that you have a violent past just merely by looking at your record. But, having an experienced defense attorney from Musca Law advocate on your behalf could show the judge that one’s past does not determine the person’s future. Relying on the extensive experience of Musca Law’s defense attorneys who have dedicated their careers to helping people and protecting their rights is the right choice for you.
Procedure to Modify or Terminate a Jacksonville Injunction Against Repeat Violence
Permanent injunctions will remain in effect until one of the parties files a petition to terminate or amend the terms of the order. In some matters, the judge will set a termination date of the order, and neither person has to do anything to terminate the order. The petitioner could move to extend the order, however.
Anyone who wants to terminate an order should speak with qualified counsel first before filing any requests with the court. You should thoroughly review all of your rights and responsibilities prior to seeking relief because the judge will not grant your request merely because you filed a motion and allege that nothing bad has happened, and, therefore, you should be entitled to go back to living without the burden of a restraining order. A judge will not credit you for abiding by a court order; that’s what you are supposed to do. To successfully terminate or amend a permanent injunction against repeat violence in Jacksonville, you must set out facts that show the judge that circumstances have changed substantially and that you are suffering extreme prejudice from the order. In other words, the respondent must prove that the reasons for making the order in the first place no longer exist.
Extending an Order for Protection Against Repeat Violence
Some judges enter expiration dates on injunctive orders. The petitioner could reapply to extend the order and ask for a permanent injunction or another interval of protection. The petitioner must file another motion and do so before the current order expires. The judge will review the parties’ actions during the relevant timeframe to determine if the order should be extended, and if so, for what period.
Mounting a Defense Against Injunctions Against Repeat Violence in Jacksonville, Florida
Successfully defending against a petition against repeat violence is essential to maintaining a productive life and preserving your rights to possess firearms and ammunition, to associate freely, to move about freely, and most importantly, to be a parent. Establishing a sound defense strategy and executing that strategy in court will give you the best chance to defeat the petitioner’s allegations against you.
A qualified Jacksonville Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Lawyer from Musca Law will thoroughly review your case and protect your rights and interests immediately. Musca Law’s attorneys have the resources, reputation, and dedication to protecting their clients’ rights to defend against an injunction for a protective order against repeat violence.
Successful defenses begin with establishing facts that clearly show the judge:
- An accurate representation of the type of relationship between the petitioner and respondent;
- The nature of the crimes for which either party may have been convicted or adjudication deferred;
- Discussing the familial ties between the respondent and petitioner such as children in common;
- Presenting witnesses that cast doubt of the veracity of the petitioner’s claims or bolster the respondent’s claims;
- Demonstrate the nature of the communication between the parties whether directly such as in person or over the telephone, or through electronic means like text messages, social media messages, and posts, or emails;
- Discussing the nature of the petitioner’s injuries or highlighting that the lack of medical treatment sought by the petitioner is inconsistent with allegations of a violent attack;
- The status of any pending criminal cases; and
- A motive for the petitioner to lie or exaggerate claims.
The most successful defense strategy is individualized to the client’s unique circumstances. A cut-and-paste strategy does not work because every legal situation, although guided by general principles of law, is unique. For example, one case might turn on the credibility of the witnesses called to testify. In contrast, the decision in another case might depend on the credibility of either party or how well they testify.
Each case will have its negative points too. Perhaps the alleged victim has photographs of injuries she or he claims were inflicted by the respondent at a particular time and place. The judge could evaluate the petitioner’s claims based on the physical evidence depicted in photos. However, nailing down the time and place that the injuries allegedly occurred is significant because the respondent might have an alibi. A criminal defense lawyer who also defends injunctions could help identify the legal issue and will understand how to present the evidence persuasively.
All lawyers practicing in Florida have the same legal credentials and all, theoretically, could go to court with you to represent you. Maybe a member of your family or a close personal friend is a lawyer in the Jacksonville area who practices personal injury or estate planning. Those attorneys might be excellent lawyers in their chosen areas of practice. Still, they will not be able to understand the nuances and complexities of the defending against injunctions for protection against repeat violence unless they practice in that area of law like the lawyers from Musca Law.
Musca Law is Ready to Fight for You and Your Rights
Facing court orders is daunting, and trying to litigate the matters yourself or with an inexperienced attorney could cause you further harm. Call Musca Law today at 888-484-5057 to learn how they could protect your rights if you face a Jacksonville injunction for protection against repeat violence.