Repeat Violent Offender Injunction Defense Lawyers in Lakeland, Florida
An Overview of Florida Criminal Laws, Penalties, and Legal Defenses
Victims of violent acts can ask a court in Lakeland, Florida, to offer additional protection through an injunction. Injunctions for protection against repeat violence in Lakeland carry the potential to severely harm the person living subject to the order rather than affording the alleged victim greater protections. Therefore, if you received notice that you are subject to an injunction against violence in Lakeland, Florida, you must contact a skilled and knowledgeable attorney immediately who will help you defend your rights and preserve your freedom.
The state of Florida favors a public policy that protects victims of crime while attempting to preserve the rights of the individual subject to the order. The due process clause of the Fifth Amendment to United States Constitution along with the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution as well as the Constitution of the State of Florida mandate each person who is subject to a court order receive a fair hearing and to receive notice so that they have an opportunity to object to the court order.
Unfortunately, the well-meaning process established by the Florida legislature is subject to abuse. Scorned lovers, jilted family members, or jealous friends and neighbors use the injunction process set out in §784.046 of the Florida Statutes as a way to exact revenge against someone who hurt them. Sadly, many legitimate pleas for help made by people who were injured by another and needed the help of the court get thrown into the bin with other people who have dubious claims for protection. Florida judges are called on to sift through the barrage of legitimate claims coupled with illegitimate claims an arrive at a decision that is consonant with justice.
The only way to avoid becoming entangled in the morass of injunctions pending in a Lakeland court is to avoid situations that could arise and lend themselves to becoming subject to an injunctive order. Life does not always work out that way. Consequently, if you are subject to an injunction against repeat violence in Lakeland, Florida, you will need the assistance of a vigorous advocate who will help you maintain your freedom. A repeat violent injunction and criminal defense attorney from Lakeland, Florida, who has vast experience defending the rights of people wrongfully accused, will help you develop the strongest defense strategy to avoid living subject to an injunction to prevent repeat violence.
Musca Law’s repeat violent offender injunction and criminal defense lawyers understand how people can get mixed up in situations that land them in court through no fault of their own. Our injunction and criminal defense lawyers have over 150 years of collective experience upon which you can rely to help you out of a tough situation and avoid the harsh consequences of an injunction against repeat violence in Lakeland, Florida. Call Musca Law at 888-484-5057 right now. We remain ready to fight for you.
Types of Injunctions in Florida
Section 784.046 of the Florida Statutes establishes a comprehensive legal scheme that protects individuals who claim they are victims of abuse and want further protection from the court. The law provides for the protection of victims on two bases: the nature of the relationship between the person seeking protection from the court and the alleged perpetrator and the nature of the violence or criminal act alleged.
Judges in Lakeland have the authority to issue injunctions for protection, sometimes called protective orders or restraining orders, in five situations. They are:
- Repeat Violence Injunctions;
- Stalking Injunctions;
- Sexual Violence Injunctions;
- Dating Violence Injunctions; and
- Domestic Violence Injunctions.
Courts compel obedience with their orders through the violence of their own. A person can be arrested and charged with violating a restraining order or injunction for protection. Typically, a violation of an injunction for protection is a first-degree misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida is no more than one year in jail, $1000 fine, one-year probation, along with numerous terms of probation.
Commencing the Repeat Violence Injunction Process
The victim of repeat violence, or any person who might qualify for protection under §784.046, must first file a petition, under the pains and penalties of perjury, in court. The petitioner, or the person who asks the court for protection, must set out all the reasons she or he wishes to have the protection of the court in writing. The clerk’s office of the court will supply forms approved by the Supreme Court of Florida. The form guides the petitioner so that he or she can include all of the relevant information necessary to complete the form. As with every filing in court, the petitioner must provide only truthful information.
When the petitioner completes the form, the judge to whom the case is assigned will review the pleadings. The judge must decide whether the court should issue a temporary injunction, often referred to as a temporary restraining order. A temporary restraining order allows the court to preserve the status quo while the respondent, or the person against whom the restraining order is filed, has an opportunity to be served and then respond to the temporary injunction.
The judge can issue a temporary restraining order that lasts for fifteen days. The order is not valid until a law enforcement officer, such as the Sheriff who has jurisdiction over the community in which the respondent resides, serves the respondent with formal notice of the proceedings. The formal notice of the proceedings must include a copy of all temporary orders as well as notice of the date and time of the final hearing. Although service has not been perfected until the respondent received notice, any attempts by the respondent to avoid receiving service will be construed by the court as service was made, and therefore, the respondent will be bound by the terms of the temporary orders even if there was no actual service.
Anyone who receives notice of a temporary restraining order pending against him or her must contact experienced and knowledgeable counsel immediately to help formulate a defense. Waiting to see what happens or if the situation blows over is a recipe for disaster. Contacting lawyers with extensive trial and courtroom experience like those from Musca Law will be able to guide you through the process and speak on your behalf. Lawyers who have a keen understanding of the process know that a judge would entertain a motion to continue with final hearing if the respondent shows good cause why it should be continued. The respondent would continue to be subject to the terms of the temporary order until the new hearing date.
The final hearing on the merits of the case will proceed in a manner that resembles a trial. The only difference is that there will be a judge who decides the case rather than a jury. At the final hearing, witnesses can testify, and those who do will be subject to cross-examination. Additionally, both parties can offer evidence to support their position. The evidence could take the form of documents, copies of statements made by either party in writing such as text messages or emails, photographs, medical records, and any other documents or other tangible exhibits that the parties believe will help prove their case.
The petitioner has the burden to persuade the judge that a restraining order or injunction for protection against repeat violence is necessary. The petitioner cannot rely on the respondent’s alleged reputation for violence to prove his or her case. Instead, Florida law requires that the petitioner persuade the judge with facts based on events that occurred rather than reputation evidence.
The respondent has an opportunity to contradict the evidence offered by the petitioner. The petitioner may feel a strong compulsion to testify. However, since the factual allegations will most likely set out a case that a crime was committed, the respondent has a Fifth Amendment right not to testify. Having a highly-skilled and accomplished injunction and criminal defense attorney by your side at a final injunction hearing will know how to present evidence and argue your case persuasively while protecting your right against self-incrimination.
The judge will rule on the petition when the evidence closes. The judge could find in favor of the respondent and terminate the temporary order. Alternatively, if the judge finds that the petitioner made a persuasive case, then the judge will issue a permanent injunction against repeat violence.
The terms of the injunction will contain conditions that should ensure the protection of the alleged victim provided that the respondent abides by its terms. The injunction will contain orders such as refrain from abusing the alleged victim, stay away from the alleged victim, avoid contacting the alleged victim, and staying away from the individual’s school or work. Additionally, all individuals subject to injunctive orders in Florida must surrender their firearms and ammunition to the local law enforcement authority.
Living subject to an injunction against repeat violence has serious implications. There is a substantial likelihood that justice will not be done if you do not contact aggressive repeat injunction and criminal defense attorneys in Lakeland, Florida, now. Not only will the person have to live by the terms set out above, but the consequences could be life-altering.
Injunctions for protection of another are public record. Therefore, the respondent could lose the opportunity for a new job, obtain new housing, or mortgage, or miss out on educational opportunities because of the existence of the order in a public records search. Additionally, the court could place substantial restrictions on where you live, with whom you live, and when you could see or even speak to your children and other family members. Moreover, even the slightest violation of any term of the order may result in the state attorney or the local police opening a prosecution against you. If convicted, you might end up in jail, paying a large fine or serving time on probation.
Injunctions Against Repeat Offenders in Polk County, Florida
Florida Statutes §784.046(b) defines the phrase repeat violence as two or more acts of violence or stalking. The violent acts must be directed toward the petitioner or a member of the petitioner’s family. To qualify for relief, one of the acts of violence or stalking must have occurred within the six months before the petitioner seeks an injunction. Violence, on the other hand, means the commission of a violent crime, irrespective of whether the crime is a misdemeanor or felony. Therefore, violent acts such as assault, battery, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, sexual battery, stalking, sexual assault, aggravated stalking, or any other crime that could cause physical injury or kill another person satisfies the statutory definition of violence.
Standing to File a Petition for Protection Against Repeat Violence
To receive the protection of a repeat violence injunction in Lakeland, Florida, the petitioner must have standing. Legal standing means that the petitioner is a party who was aggrieved by another person. Additionally, the parent or guardian of a child who has not reached the age of majority and still resides in the family home can petition the court on behalf of the minor child for a repeat offender injunction
Florida law does not require the petitioner to allege a specific relationship to qualify for the protection of a repeat violent offender injunction. A person seeking protection from repeat violence in Lakeland, Florida, can ask for protection from another roommate, employer or employee, friend or ex-friend, neighbor, co-workers, household members, or a family member or spouse. Conversely, injunctions such as domestic violence injunctions or dating violence injunctions require the petitioner to allege any specific relationship to qualify for the protection of the court hearing
As alluded to above, the reputation of the respondent is not the sole issue before the court. The petitioner has the burden of proof. Therefore, the petitioner must set out a factual basis to qualify for a repeat offense. That means, the petitioner must describe two or more events violent acts perpetrated by the respondent with specificity. Merely alleging that the respondent has a violent temper or has violent propensity is insufficient to qualify for an injunction.
Why You Should Avoid Representing Yourself
Self-representation is a legal right. Exercising that right is not always in a person’s best interest. The allure of self-representation is strong, especially when a person believes that no one can argue the case as fervently as a person involved or as a means to save money. The ramifications are too significant to allow yourself to get wrapped up in an emotional presentation. The acts alleged by the petitioner, if believed by the judge, make out a crime. Any mistake when representing yourself could be held against you at a criminal trial. However, if you engage the highly-reputable and skilled repeat offender injunction and criminal defense attorneys from Musca Law, you will have experienced advocates fighting vigorously and emotionally for you while protecting your best interests. The money you save is not worth the consequences of self-representation.
Consequences of an Injunction Against Repeat Violence in Lakeland, Florida
The consequences of living subject to an injunction in Florida are significant. The individual subject to an injunction must:
- live by the strict rules set forth by the judge,
- face potential incarceration, fines, probation, and other ramifications for a conviction for violating a restraining order or injunction,
- suffer a damaged reputation in the community because the order is a matter of public record that could impair your occupational, educational, and housing opportunities,
- surrender all firearms, shotguns, rifles, along with all of your ammunition to the local Sheriff’s Department, and
- Attend mental health counseling, anger management counseling, or substance abuse counseling, at your own expense if ordered by the judge.
Terminating, Modifying, or Extending an Injunction Against Repeat Violence
An injunction against repeat violence is often made permanent by the judge. That means the order stays in effect forever unless and until one party successfully moves to terminate or vacate the order. To terminate the order, they responded must file pleadings with the court that explains why the injunction is no longer necessary. However, if the judge included an expiration date in the order, then the order will expire on the date.
The petitioner has an obligation to file emotion to extend the order within 30 days of the expiration date. If the petitioner misses the filing deadline, then the judge could deny the motion for failure to comply with the procedural rules. The order will expire by its terms in that instance. The respondent has a chance to argue against extending the injunction if the petitioner files the motion timely.
Modifying an injunction requires filing the appropriate pleadings with the court. The parties can file a joint motion, or one party may file, and the other party has a chance to respond. The judge will modify the order if the moving party persuades the judge that modification is required, given the facts and circumstances of the case.
Establishing a Strong Defense Against Injunctions for Repeat Violence in Lakeland, Florida
A skilled advocate will assess all of the factors involved to determine the best defense strategy for your case. A skilled and well-trained attorney will assess the type of relationship between the parties, the criminal history of the people involved, the availability of witnesses who could support or refute the petitioner’s claims, advancing an alibi defense, the petitioner’s propensity for lying under oath, and the availability of documentary evidence before deciding on the best strategy to defend your case.
Only a thorough discussion with the highly-experienced injunction and criminal defense attorney will provide the insight necessary to create the best opportunity to defeat the allegations. In some cases, the best strategy might be attacking the credibility of the petitioner through cross-examination, while in other cases, the best strategy might be a combination of cross-examination and going on the offensive by calling witnesses to support the respondent’s claims. Each case is different, and the strategy that works in one case may not apply to another. That is why a frank discussion with a qualified repeat violent offender junction and criminal defense attorney will yield the best results for you.
Musca Law: Advocates for the Accused
Count on Musca Law’s Lakeland criminal defense attorneys for aggressive representation. They will defend your rights and preserve your freedoms from governmental intrusion based on scurrilous or false claims. Call Musca Law immediately at 888-484-5057 if you have been served with an injunction against repeat violence in Lakeland, Florida. Your liberty is at stake.