Domestic Violence Injunction Defense Attorneys in Orlando, Florida
Those who are victims of domestic violence in Orlando may seek protection from the individual accused of committing acts of violence against them. In many instances, people who face allegations of domestic violence are also subject to criminal charges or are being investigated by police. Notwithstanding, some domestic violence allegations in Orlando may not have a criminal case associated with it, but instead, may be the subject of a domestic violence injunction, which is a civil, not criminal, matter.
Domestic violence is very serious, and all allegations associated therewith must be thoroughly investigated. However, there are instances where domestic violence injunctions are premised on facts that are false or misleading, which can have various negative consequences for the person subject to said injunction. Otherwise stated, when misleading or false claims result in a domestic violence injunction, a person’s rights are at stake. Although a domestic violence injunction does not amount to jail time or other forms of criminal penalties, violating one can result in criminal charges. Accordingly, all those who face domestic violence charges and/or a domestic violence injunction must act quickly to hire a skilled Orlando Domestic Violence Injunction Defense Attorney.
Musca Law serves clients in Orlando and throughout Florida who face a range of criminal charges as well as civil protective injunctions. Our nationally-recognized trial lawyers have offices all across Florida and can reach clients 24/7 to help them with their legal needs. To learn how the Orlando Domestic Violence Injunction Lawyers of Musca Law can help you, contact our office today by calling (888) 484-5057.
The Protective Injunction Process in Orlando, Florida
When facing the prospects of a domestic violence injunction, it is vital that you (i) understand what a protective injunction is, and (ii) what to expect after being served with a petition for an Orlando domestic violence injunction. Moreover, by knowing and preparing what to expect, those who are the subject of a domestic violence injunction will have the chance to develop the strongest defense strategy possible.
A protective injunction, such as a domestic violence injunction, is also known as a restraining order, injunction, or protective order. This is a civil court remedy that is that is aimed at protecting individuals from abuse and violence. In Florida, there are five types of injunctions that a person can seek, which include:
- Domestic Violence Injunctions;
- Dating Violence Injunctions;
- Sexual Violence Injunctions;
- Repeat Violence Injunctions; and
- Stalking Injunctions.
During a proceeding for an injunction, the individual seeking the protective order is known as the “petitioner,” while the one served with the injunction is known as the respondent. In order to pursue an injunction, the petitioner must submit to the court a petition (which is a court-approved form). In the petition, the petitioner must state the type of injunction being sought, the facts giving rise to the allegations of domestic violence, and any evidence that is available to support the petitioner’s allegations. Once the petition is filed, the judge will then examine it and determine whether to grant or deny the petition. If a judge approves the petition, then a temporary injunction will be ordered.
If a judge issues a temporary injunction, he or she will schedule a hearing where the petitioner and respondent will have the opportunity present their cases. Once the hearing is scheduled, the county sheriff’s office will serve the respondent with a copy of the petition, which will include the time and date of the hearing, along with the temporary injunction order. The hearing is then scheduled fifteen days after the issuance of the temporary injunction. Oftentimes, fifteen days is not a sufficient amount of time to prepare for the court hearing, which is why a respondent must act quickly to speak with a skilled Orlando Domestic Violence Injunction Defense Attorney.
With an attorney by his or her side, the respondent can request the court for a continuance by filing a certain motion in court. This allows the respondent and his or her attorney to fully prepare for the hearing. Having more time to investigate the allegations raised by the petitioner can give the respondent the best chance of mounting the strongest defense possible. At the hearing, both the petitioner and respondent can present evidence, witness testimony, as well as their side of the story. Unlike with a criminal case where a jury determines whether or not a defendant is guilty, in protective injunction hearings, a judge will render a decision after hearing and seeing all evidence submitted to the court.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge will enter an order either denying or approving a protective injunction. If a permanent injunction is issued, the judge can decide to make the petition last for weeks, months, years, or on a permanent basis.
What Occurs if a Judge Issues a Domestic Violence Injunction in Orange County?
Although civil injunction proceedings do not result in monetary penalties, jail time, and probation, there are instances where a respondent will face criminal charges or be subject to a criminal investigation. In other instances, a respondent may only face a potential domestic violence injunction. While the injunction itself does not result in criminal penalties, the violation of the injunction can lead to criminal charges. Accordingly, respondents must consider the fact that an injunction is like a criminal matter, even if no related criminal matter exists.
How is Domestic Violence Defined Under Florida Law?
A court can only issue a domestic violence injunction when the conduct alleged in the petition satisfies the definition of “domestic violence.” Under Florida Statute § 741.28, “domestic violence” is defined as follows:
“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.”
Individuals who qualify as a “family or household member” per Florida law includes the following:
“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.”
With the exception of those who have a child in common, the key factor that defines domestic violence is that the alleged abuser and victim currently reside with each other or did so in the past.
Requirements for Obtaining a Domestic Violence Injunction in Orlando, Florida
In addition to having a complete understanding of the protective injunction process in Orlando, those facing domestic violence injunctions should be aware of the specific requirements associated with seeking such an injunction under Florida law. One reason why it is important to be familiar with the injunction process is that a failure to meet the necessary requirements could be the basis of an approval of a domestic violence injunction in Orlando. Specifically, many respondents who represent themselves often do not understand or know how to raise certain defenses and refute the petitioner’s allegations. Having a skilled attorney will help the respondent meet all legal requirements, which can lead to a successful result.
While domestic violence certain can cause harm to innocent victims, those accused of domestic violence deserve their day in court and to be represented by an experienced lawyer. In court, a person facing a domestic violence injunction will be afforded an opportunity to present his or her story. While this can be done on one’s own, it is highly recommended that a respondent hire an Orlando Domestic Violence Injunction Defense Attorney to handle their case.
The Repercussions of a Domestic Violence Injunction in Orlando, Florida
A domestic violence injunction can have serious legal repercussions, which can affect a respondent’s livelihood and reputation. Specifically, he or she can face social stigma, even when he or she has not been charged with a crime. Injunctions, although civil matters, will show up on a person’s public record. Additional repercussions include, but are not limited to, the following:
- A prohibition from being within a certain amount of feet of the petitioner;
- The surrendering of ammunition and firearms during the pendency of the domestic violence injunction;
- Being ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation;
- Attend mental health treatment at the respondent’s own expense; and
- The imposition of criminal penalties if the domestic violence injunction is violated.
It is essential to keep in mind that all domestic violence injunctions are unique to the individual case. Specifically, the facts and circumstances surrounding the domestic violence injunction matter are different in each case. Moreover, the defenses that are available are also unique to a respondent’s case. Keep in mind that the language of a domestic violence injunction is tailored to address the specific set of circumstances in one’s case. As such, a respondent in one matter may face different repercussions in another matter. This is why it is critical to work with a skilled Orlando Domestic Violence Injunction, who will fight hard for the respondent’s rights and interests in court.
Can a Domestic Violence Injunction Be Modified or Terminated in Orlando, Florida?
As with many civil orders, domestic violence injunctions in Orlando can be terminated or modified in certain cases. Given the fact that the parties involved in an injunction matter are family members or members of the same household, it isn’t unusual for them to make amends, especially when the petitioner and respondent share a child or children in common. If a petitioner seeks to terminate or modify a domestic violence injunction for any reason, he or she can pursue this by filing a motion in court. Likewise, a respondent can seek to modify or terminate a domestic violence injunction also by filing an appropriate motion in court. A judge will examine the motion and determine whether the evidence supports the reason why a domestic violence injunction should be modified or terminated.
Domestic violence injunctions often have a date when it is set to expire however, others can last forever, unless they are terminated or modified before the expiration date. In the event that a domestic violence injunction in Orlando contains a date upon which it is set to expire, the petitioner has the right to go back to court and seek to extend it. This is accomplished through a motion in court, which must be submitted at least 30 days before the domestic violence injunction is set to expire.
How a Domestic Violence Injunction Can be Violated in Orlando, Florida
Given the purpose and nature of protective injunctions, courts take violations of such injunctions very seriously. Accordingly, any violation of a protective injunction can result in harsh criminal penalties. Depending upon the specific language of a domestic violence injunction in Orlando, a respondent can violate it in several ways, even if the violation is unintentional. Instances when a respondent can violate a domestic violence injunction include the following:
- The respondent failed to maintain the requisite distance from the petitioner;
- The respondent committed another act of domestic violence;
- The respondent is either the subject of a criminal investigation concerning domestic violence accusations or the respondent is facing domestic violence charges;
- The respondent failed to surrender all ammunition and firearms pursuant to the terms of the underlying injunction;
- The respondent threatened the petitioner with physical harm; and
- The respondent failed to attend mental health treatment as required by the injunction.
Many respondents unintentionally violate domestic violence injunctions in Orlando because they fail to understand the severe nature of the consequences associated with a violation. Moreover, a respondent may, by accident, come into contact with the petitioner by being at the same store or gas station. In such instances, the respondent should not be charged with a crime. However, if a respondent is being accused of violating a domestic violence injunction, it is critical that he or she hire an attorney immediately rather than represent himself/herself in court.
Pursuant to Florida law, the criminal consequences of violating a domestic violence injunction in Orlando are as follows
- First violation – this is a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries with it a penalty of up to one year in prison and a monetary fine of up to $1,000.
- Second violation – this is also a first degree misdemeanor, punishable as provided directly above. However, in some cases, a respondent may be accused of violating multiple terms of a domestic violence injunction order all at once. In such event, the respondent could be convicted of more than one count of violating a domestic violence injunction, which carries with it a jail term of up to two years and a monetary fine of up to $2,000.
- Third violation – this is a third-degree felony, which carries with it a jail term of up to five years and a monetary fine of up to $5,000.
- Four violations or more – each subsequent violation constitutes a third-degree felony. Multiple violations can lead to multiple felony charges.
Why You Need an Attorney to Defend Your Rights in an Orlando Court
It is highly recommended to hire a highly experienced and competent Orlando Domestic Violence Injunction Defense Attorney after being served with a petition for a domestic violence injunction. A domestic violence injunction can result in both criminal and civil penalties, which is why a respondent needs aggressive legal representation in court so as to minimize the harsh nature of the consequences of a domestic violence injunction. Only an attorney is in the best position to develop the strongest defense strategy possible in light of the facts and circumstances of the case.
Contact the Orlando Domestic Violence Injunction Defense Lawyers of Musca Law Today
If you are facing domestic violence criminal charges and/or you have been served with a domestic violence injunction, your legal rights are on the line, and you need an attorney by your side to advocate on your behalf. At Musca Law, our Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyers work tirelessly to ensure their clients receive the best legal representation possible. To find out how Musca Law can help you with your legal matter, contact our office today by calling (888) 484-5057. Our legal team is available 24/7 to answer your questions, address your concerns, and provide you with the guidance you need to move forward.