Domestic Violence Injunction Defense Lawyers in Lakeland, Florida
Being accused of domestic violence in Lakeland, Florida can not only lead to criminal charges, it can also result in a domestic violence injunction, also referred to as protective orders or restraining orders. Facing allegations of domestic violence can have devastating consequences for the accused even before the claims are proven in a criminal proceeding.
In Florida, the law dictates that domestic violence victims can pursue a domestic violence injunction, which is a civil order, by filing a petition in a Lakeland court. If the domestic violence injunction is entered, it can significantly limit a person’s legal rights. Given that victims of domestic violence may truly be at risk, judges in Lakeland courts typically grant domestic violence injunctions. Notwithstanding, the accused will have the chance to defend himself or herself in a domestic violence injunction hearing.
While a domestic violence injunction is held in a civil court, an attorney who handles criminal cases is in the best position to handle an injunction case, as there is often an interplay between civil and criminal law. If you are the subject of a domestic violence injunction case in Lakeland, Florida, you must seek qualified legal counsel as soon as possible. There is not a lot of time afforded to those accused of domestic violence, so it is critical to hire a skilled Lakeland Criminal and Domestic Violence Injunction Defense Attorney.
At Musca Law, our team of experienced Lakeland Criminal and Domestic Violence Injunction Defense lawyers are well-known for providing the highest quality legal representation. We have an understanding of the ins and outs of the courtroom, are familiar with all judges involved in injunction cases, and we know the applicable law. To learn how Musca Law can help you fight a domestic violence injunction in Lakeland, contact our office 24/7 by calling (888) 484-5057.
An Overview of Protective Injunctions in Lakeland, Florida
Under Florida law, those who are alleged victims of domestic violence can pursue five different types of protective injunctions, which include the following:
- Domestic Violence Injunctions;
- Dating Violence Injunctions;
- Repeat Violence Injunctions;
- Sexual Violence Injunctions; and
- Stalking Injunctions.
Each of the above protective injunctions requires the alleged victim, referred to as the “petitioner,” to satisfy certain guidelines to seek an injunction. The failure to meet these guidelines may cause the case to be dismissed. While a petitioner may be the alleged victim of domestic violence, some cases involve a petitioner who is a minor child (meaning, under the age of eighteen). The alleged perpetrator is known as the “respondent” in the injunction case. Keep in mind that both parties have the opportunity to present their case to convince the judge to either approve or deny an injunction.
Domestic Violence Injunctions in Lakeland, Florida – Understanding the Process
The Definition of Domestic Violence Under Florida Law
Per Florida Statutes § 741.28, “domestic violence” is defined as “any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household members by another family or household matter.”
Those who are eligible to seek a domestic violence injunction pursuant to Florida law are “spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as a family or who have resided together in the past as a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married.” While claims of domestic violence in Lakeland should be taken seriously, a petitioner must satisfy certain legal requirements before he or she can obtain a domestic violence injunction. Additionally, a respondent has the opportunity to present his or her case to a judge, claiming that an injunction should not be issued. Unfortunately, allegations of domestic violence often brand a respondent as guilty before any facts come to light.
The Requirements to Obtain a Domestic Violence Injunction in Polk County, Florida
The first requirement to obtain a domestic violence injunction in Lakeland, as noted above, is to prove that a domestic violence relationship exists between the respondent and the petitioner. This means that the petitioner must claim that the alleged domestic violence was committed by a family or household member or another household or family member. Most claims of domestic violence involve people who reside in the same dwelling, however, it is critical to keep in mind that the “living” requirement is not applicable to those who are parents or guardians of a child in common.
Once a petitioner has demonstrated that a domestic relationship exists between the two parties (or between the petitioner’s minor child and the respondent), the petitioner must satisfy the following requirements per Florida Statute § 741.30:
- The petitioner or petitioner’s minor child is the victim of domestic violence; or
- The petitioner has a reasonable belief that he or she (or his/her minor child) is at imminent risk of becoming the victim of domestic violence.
With the assistance of a Lakeland Criminal and Domestic Violence Injunction Defense Attorney, a respondent has the chance to present certain defenses should the petitioner fail to provide sufficient evidence to prove that (i) the domestic relationship exists between the respondent and petitioner (or the petitioner’s minor child), and (ii) that an act of domestic violence has happened or will imminently occur. Legal defenses that present counterevidence disproving a petitioner’s claims will help to prevent the approval of a domestic violence injunction. Notwithstanding, it is critical to seek the assistance of a Lakeland Criminal and Domestic Violence Injunction Defense Attorney who has handled countless injunction matters.
From Petition to the Final Domestic Violence Injunction in Lakeland – What You Should Know
- Petition – a person who is seeking a domestic violence injunction must submit to the court a petition using a court-approved form. The petitioner must comply with all of the court rules regarding the submission of a petition.
- Petition Review – after a petition is filed, a judge will examine it to ascertain whether the document meets all of the statutory requirements associated with a domestic violence injunction.
- Temporary Injunction – after the judge reviews the petition for a domestic violence injunction, he or she will decide whether the petition sets forth allegations, if true, are grounds for the issuance of an injunction pursuant to Florida law. Unless the allegations appear to be patently false or misleading, the presiding judge will grant the petitioner a temporary injunction which will last for at least fifteen days until the final hearing in the matter.
- The Judge Schedules the Domestic Violence Injunction Hearing – after a judge issues a temporary domestic violence injunction, he or she will schedule a hearing fifteen days later. This time period enables the respondent to obtain experienced legal counsel in order to prepare a defense strategy that will be brought forth during the hearing. Keep in mind that a skilled Lakeland Criminal and Domestic Violence Injunction Defense Attorney will likely request a continuance, or the postponing, of the hearing in order to have more time to investigate the petitioner’s allegations and prepare his or her client’s defense.
- Service of Process on the Respondent - once the judge decides to issue a temporary injunction, the respondent is then served by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Specifically, the respondent will be served with a copy of the petition, the temporary injunction order, and a document noting the time and date of the final injunction hearing. It is critical at this stage for the respondent to hire a seasoned Lakeland Criminal and Domestic Violence Injunction Defense Attorney
- Appearance at the Domestic Violence Injunction Hearing – at this stage, the petitioner and the respondent appear before the presiding judge that issued the temporary injunction. In some matters, the petitioner may not have hired a lawyer to assist him or her with his or her case, which may be beneficial to the respondent. Both parties will have the opportunity to submit evidence to the court supporting or refusing the allegations that a domestic relationship exists between the parties and/or than an act of domestic violence will imminently happen or already occurred. Evidence submitted to the court may be in the form of witness testimony or may be in the form of documents, such as text messages, photographs, social media direct messages, and any other form of communication, most of which is electronic.
- The Judge’s Final Decision to Either Deny or Grant a Permanent Domestic Violence Injunction – at this stage, a judge will issue his or her final ruling, which will either be to deny or grant a domestic violence injunction.
The Consequences of a Long-Term Domestic Violence Injunction in Lakeland, Florida
A long term domestic violence injunction seriously limits a respondent’s legal rights while the injunction is in place. In some instances, a domestic violence injunction may last permanently, however, in the majority of cases, the injunction has an expiration date. There are several consequences associated with a domestic violence injunction in Lakeland. These include the following:
- The requirement to avoid contact with the petitioner (or the petitioner’s minor child);
- The requirement to surrender all firearms and ammunition;
- The requirement to undergo a mental health evaluation paid for by the respondent;
- The requirement to attend counseling or educational courses pertaining to violent behavior and possibly pertaining to alcohol or drug abuse; and
- The exposure of potential criminal liability if the respondent violates the domestic violence injunction.
Due to the fact that all domestic violence injunction cases in Lakeland are unique, the repercussions of said injunction are tailored to the specific facts of the domestic violence injunction matter.
Modifying and Terminating a Domestic Violence Injunction in Lakeland, Florida
Modifying and terminating a domestic violence injunction in Lakeland requires a motion to be filed in court. The party seeking the modification or termination of a domestic violence injunction should seek the assistance of a Lakeland Criminal and Domestic Violence Injunction Defense Attorney as soon as possible. There are several reasons why a party to an injunction case may seek a modification or termination of the domestic violence injunction. For instance, if a respondent has moved out of Lakeland, or even out of Florida, a domestic violence injunction may not be necessary moving forward. Notwithstanding, a judge is not likely to grant a modification or termination of a domestic violence injunction without substantial evidence supporting said request.
Given the fact that most domestic violence injunctions have an expiration date, a petitioner wishing to extend the duration of a domestic violence injunction must seek the court’s approval no later than 30 days prior to the expiration date of the injunction. If a request for an extension of the domestic violence injunction is not pursued after this deadline, said injunction will not be in effect once the date of expiration occurs.
The Consequences of Violating a Domestic Violence Injunction in Lakeland, Florida
The violation of a domestic violence injunction in Lakeland may be grounds for severe criminal charges. Violating a domestic violence injunction may range from a misdemeanor to a felony, as provided below:
The First Violation – violating a domestic violence injunction for the first time constitutes a misdemeanor in the first degree, which is associated with a one-year jail term and a maximum fine of $1,000.
The Second Violation – a second violation of a domestic violence injunction constitutes a misdemeanor in the first degree, which carries with it a jail term of one year and a monetary fine not to exceed $1,000.
The Third Violation – violating a domestic violence injunction for the third time constitutes a felony in the third degree, which is associated with a jail term of up to five years and a maximum fine of $5,000.
Four or More Violations – a fourth or subsequent violation of a domestic violence injunction constitutes a third-degree felony, which is associated with a prison term of up to five years and a monetary fine not to exceed $5,000.
For many individuals who are facing the prospects of a domestic violence injunction in Lakeland, it may be surprising to learn that violating a civil domestic violence injunction can result in criminal charges. As such, it is critical that any individual who is facing criminal charges for alleged domestic violence and/or is served with a domestic violence injunction to work with an attorney who is adept at handling both matters.
Choosing the Right Lakeland Domestic Violence Injunction Defense Lawyer
Being subject to a domestic violence injunction can have serious legal repercussions and could irreparably change a person’s life. If there is a chance that a domestic violence injunction can be successfully challenged, such a result is not likely to occur unless a skilled Lakeland Criminal and Domestic Violence Injunction Defense Lawyer handles the case. While a respondent can appear in court and represent himself or herself, the likelihood of success is significantly low. Accordingly, the right lawyer is well worth the time, money, and effort to ensure that the respondent takes all necessary steps to safeguard his or her legal rights.
It cannot be emphasized enough about how essential it is for a respondent to hire an attorney who handles injunction and criminal cases. A lawyer who does not have much experience representing clients in criminal matters may not be the right choice to defend a person facing a domestic violence injunction in Lakeland. Any attorney can be present at the final injunction hearing and present his or her client’s case to the presiding judge. However, a respondent is in a much more favorable position to achieve a successful result when his or her lawyer truly understands the criminal nature of the underlying allegations of domestic violence. Without a thorough understanding of criminal law in Lakeland, a lawyer may not have the skills necessary to represent clients in civil injunction matters.
Contact the Lakeland Domestic Violence Injunction Defense Lawyers of Musca Law Today
Facing a domestic violence injunction in Lakeland can feel like you have been charged with a crime, even if that is not the case. Because of the significant impact on your legal rights following the issuance of a domestic violence injunction, you need to retain the right Lakeland Criminal Defense Lawyer for the job. At Musca Law, we take pride in ensuring our clients are receiving the best legal representation possible, regardless of whether a legal matter involves criminal charges or domestic violence injunctions. To speak with one of our Lakeland Domestic Violence Injunction Defense Lawyers, contact Musca Law today by calling (888) 484-5057. We are standing by 24/7 to meet the needs of all clients in Lakeland, Florida.