Sexual Violence Injunction Defense Attorneys in Naples, Florida
Defending Against Sexual Violence Protective Orders
The attorneys at Musca Law can help you defend against a pending Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Sexual Violence in Naples, Florida. We can also assist you in working to modify or dissolve an existing injunction against you. Contact our office today at (888) 484-5057 to find out more about our services and to see how we can help you protect your rights.
Naples Restraining Orders Against Violence
Under Florida law, an injunction against violence is a court order that prohibits a person from certain conduct. Injunctions against violence in Naples are also commonly called orders of protection or restraining orders. If a person is seeking an injunction for protection against violence, he or she will file a petition in court that alleges certain acts of violence or threats of violence and asks the court to enjoin (prohibit) the respondent from contact with him or her and from conduct directed toward him or her.
Florida allows for injunctions in cases involving five different types of violence:
- Sexual Violence
- Dating Violence
- Repeat Violence
- Domestic violence
The processes for these injunctions are similar in many ways, but sexual violence injunctions in Naples also have some unique characteristics.
Similarities Between the Five Injunctions Against Violence
Below are some of the ways the five injunctions against violence are the same in Florida:
- Parties – In the proceedings for all five injunctions, the person seeking the injunction is referred to as the “petitioner,” and the person defending against the injunction is referred to as the “respondent.”
- Sworn Document – With all five injunction types, the petition for the injunction is a sworn document, meaning the petitioner will need to sign it in front of a notary public or the Clerk of Court.
- Temporary Injunction – After a petition for any of the five injunctions is filed, the judge overseeing the case has the discretion to enter a temporary injunction that will last until the judge makes a final decision as to a final injunction. This injunction will typically be entered without the parties present.
- Service of Process – The county sheriff’s office will typically serve the petition, the temporary injunction order (if one has been entered), and notice of a hearing. In Naples, this would be the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.
- Hearing – When a court receives a petition for any one of the five injunctions, the judge will set a date for a hearing that both parties will attend. This is the case even if no temporary order was entered. The hearing is usually set for a time within 15 days of the petition’s filing.
- Evidence – The petitioner and the respondent are allowed to present evidence during the hearing on all five types of injunctions. This can include witness testimony and documents, like cell phone records, emails, etc.
- Final Order – Following the hearing, the judge will decide whether to enter a final injunction. If the judge decides to deny the injunction, he or she will also lift the temporary injunction, if one is in place. If the judge enters a final injunction, the respondent will have to comply with its terms for as long as the injunction is in place. The judge might set a timeframe for the injunction or might have it run indefinitely.
- Penalties for Violations – If the respondent violates a final injunction against violence, he or she will be subject to civil and/or criminal penalties, including an order of contempt, fines, criminal charges, and jail time.
Florida’s Definition of ‘Sexual Violence’
Statute § 784.046 defines “sexual violence” as an act of sexual battery; a forcible felony that involves a sexual act or attempted sexual act; a lewd/lascivious act involving a child under the age of 16 or committed in front of a child under the age of 16; enticing or luring a child; or sexual performance by a child. It does not matter if criminal charges are or were filed relating to the described sexual violence, nor does it matter what became of those charges.
Persons Eligible to Seek Sexual Violence Injunctions in Naples
In Naples, a person may petition for a sexual violence injunction if he or she is the victim of sexual violence or if he or she is the parent or guardian of a child living at home who is the victim of sexual violence. In order for a sexual violence injunction to be granted, the petitioner must have contacted authorities regarding the incident(s) of sexual violence and must be cooperating with any criminal proceedings stemming therefrom.
A person can also file for a sexual violence junction against someone who is serving a prison sentence for sexual violence against him or her or his or her child and who is scheduled to be released from prison in the next 90 days.
Modifying a Sexual Violence Injunction
Either one of the parties can move for a sexual violence injunction to be modified or dissolved at any time. The person seeking the modification or dissolution must demonstrate to the court that the injunction is no longer necessary, that the circumstances justifying the original order no longer exist. Sometimes, the parties will agree to changing a sexual violence injunction, or will agree to eliminating it. Even in these cases, the court has to approve of the changes or dissolution of the injunction.
Process for Obtaining a Sexual Violence Injunction in Collier County, Florida
When a person seeks an injunction for protection against sexual violence in Naples, he or she will first file a Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Sexual Violence in circuit court. The judge will quickly review the petition and any supporting documents the petitioner submitted along with the petition. Based on the petitioner’s filing, the judge will decide whether a temporary injunction is necessary in the case. Notice, the judge does this upon review of the petitioner’s filing alone, not based on any type of response filed by the respondent.
Next, the judge will set a hearing date. This is generally set within 15 days, during which time any temporary injunction will remain in effect. The respondent will then receive service of process to include a copy of the petition for the injunction, a notice of the hearing date, and a copy of any temporary order issued by the judge. If the petitioner and respondent share a home, the respondent will probably be ordered to vacate. A sheriff’s officer will likely be serving the documents and will ensure that the respondent leaves the premises.
At the hearing, both parties will be allowed to present evidence and argue their cases. They might call witnesses and introduce certain documents and records that tend to prove or disprove instances of sexual violence. The parties themselves may also testify. When the hearing concludes, the judge will determine whether a final injunction is necessary, given all the evidence. The judge will then enter the order of the court.
If a final injunction is denied, the case is over, and any temporary injunction will be lifted. If a final injunction is granted, the respondent will immediately need to comply with its terms and continue complying as long as the injunction remains in effect.
Violation of a Sexual Violence Injunction in Naples
If the respondent behaves contrary to the injunction, he or she has committed a violation of the court’s order. Behavior that might be considered a violation of a Naples sexual violence injunction could include:
- Direct or indirect contact with the petitioner;
- Presenting within 500 feet of the petitioner’s home;
- Presenting within 500 feet of the petitioner’s school or place of employment;
- Failing to surrender firearms and/or ammunition, if doing so was a term of the order;
- Obtaining additional ammunition or firearms; or
- Any act of violence against the petitioner carried out or orchestrated by the respondent.
While sexual violence injunctions are ordered at the civil level, violations of them can result in serious criminal charges. Violations can result in first-degree misdemeanor charges in Naples, carrying the possibility of one year of jail time and a $1,000 fine. After two or more convictions for violation of a sexual violence injunction, any subsequent violations will be charged as third-degree felonies. A conviction for a third-degree felony in Naples can result in five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Defending Against a Naples Sexual Violence Injunction
If a petition for a sexual violence injunction has been filed against you, it is important to hire experienced counsel, like the attorneys at Musca Law, to defend you. You might have very little time before the hearing when you receive service of the petition, so one of the first things your lawyer can do for you is request a continuance of the hearing. If a temporary injunction has already been ordered, a hearing continuance will extend that injunction, but it will also give you appropriate time to prepare. The judge will allow a continuance on a showing of good cause.
At the hearing, your attorney will present a thorough defense that establishes why a final injunction should not be ordered. This might include presentation of evidence that no acts of sexual violence have occurred, that the alleged acts of sexual violence were not reported to law enforcement, or that the petitioner is not cooperating with a criminal investigation related to the allegations. Your defense will primarily cast doubt on the petitioner’s case, as it is the petitioner’s responsibility to meet the burden of proof.
Available defenses will vary in every case, as well as the means by which those defenses are raised. You and your attorney will work together to build the best defense for your unique circumstances.
FAQs on Sexual Violence Injunctions in Naples
When we speak to clients with pending injunctions against them in Naples, they usually have a lot of questions for us. Below are some of the questions we hear most often, along with our answers. If you have questions you do not see here or are looking for an experienced sexual violence injunction defense lawyer in Naples, contact our office today.
What happens after someone has filed for a sexual violence injunction against me in Naples?
In the time right after someone files for a sexual violence injunction in Naples, the court will review the filed documents and will decide if a temporary injunction should be ordered. The court will then set a hearing date, and you will be served with process. You will need to comply with any temporary injunction and appear at the hearing.
What will happen if I don’t challenge the petition?
If you do not attend the hearing and do not otherwise challenge the petition against you, the court will make a decision based on the petitioner’s evidence alone. It is far more likely that the judge will grant a final injunction if you do not present any type of defense. We always recommend defending against a sexual violence injunction because of the consequences of such an injunction against you.
What do I need to do if the court grants a final injunction against me?
If the court enters a sexual violence injunction against you, you will need to understand and comply with each of its terms. Typically, this means moving to a new house (if you share a home with the petitioner), surrendering firearms and ammunition, and abstaining from contact with the petitioner. You will also likely need to stay away from the petitioner’s home, workplace, school, and/or any places he or she regularly visits.
How long will the injunction be in effect?
The injunction order will state its duration. It can run for a fixed period of time or have no date of expiration. If it does have an end date, the petitioner is allowed to request that the court extend the injunction.
What types of conduct will be considered violations of a sexual violence injunction in Naples?
Any conduct against the terms of the injunction order will be considered a violation. Courts generally do not want any ambiguity in these orders, so they make it clear what conduct is prohibited. Violations usually consist of contact with the petitioner, threats made against the petitioner, failure to surrender firearms, or showing up near the petitioner’s home or place of employment.
What will happen if I am found in violation of a sexual violence injunction?
If you have violated a sexual violence injunction in place against you, you could be facing serious criminal penalties. Depending on the circumstances, you might be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor or a third-degree felony. You could be looking at jail time and a large fine.
Are sexual violence injunctions matters of public record?
Yes, sexual violence injunctions entered in Naples are part of the public record. They will show up in a background check, which means you could have trouble finding jobs or housing when such an injunction has been entered against you.
Do I need to hire an attorney if someone is seeking a sexual violence injunction against me in Naples?
If someone is seeking a sexual violence injunction against you in Naples, you are not required by law to have an attorney represent you. That said, we always advise clients to hire lawyers in these situations. Not only will a sexual violence injunction restrict your behavior and activities, but it will also likely have serious social, professional, and financial consequences to you. You need to give yourself every opportunity to avoid the ramifications of a permanent injunction, and hiring an experienced lawyer is the best way to accomplish that.
Your lawyer will be able to build an individualized defense that addresses the specific allegations against you while protecting your rights. Contact Musca Law if you are facing a sexual violence injunction in Naples or anywhere else in Florida.
What are the effects of a sexual violence injunction if one is granted against me?
A sexual violence injunction will have numerous negative effects in your life, including the following:
- Surrender of firearms and ammunition – Many sexual violence injunction orders in Naples include terms related to firearms and ammunition. You could be ordered to surrender any firearms and ammunition in your current possession and could be prohibited from obtaining other firearms or ammunition for the duration of the injunction.
- Restricted movement and conduct – You will almost certainly need to stay away from the petitioner and abstain from contacting him or her directly or indirectly. This can be extremely burdensome, especially if you have children with the petitioner. The injunction will also limit where you can go, which can greatly interfere with your life.
- Lost opportunities – A sexual violence injunction is a matter of public record that cannot be expunged. Anytime you are the subject of a background check, the injunction will come up. This can result in many lost opportunities, including employment, loans, and housing.
Contact Musca Law Today to Protect Your Liberties!
If someone has filed a petition for a sexual violence injunction against you in Naples, Florida, call Musca Law’s Naples criminal defense attorneys today. You can schedule a free consultation now when you call (888) 484-5057.