Protective Injunction Defense Lawyers in Punta Gorda, Florida
Being subject to an injunction can feel like being charged with a crime. An injunction, also known as an order of protection or restraining order, is a civil court order that requires an individual to adhere to certain strict requirements as well as forego certain legal rights. If you have recently been served with an injunction in Punta Gorda, you are not alone. Thousands of individuals just like yourself face protective injunctions every day and are left not knowing where to turn next. Time is running out, so if you have been served with a protective injunction, it is critical that you immediately hire a skilled Punta Gorda Criminal and Protective Injunction Defense Attorney so that you are prepared to defend yourself and safeguard your legal rights.
Musca Law is a well-established law firm in Florida that focuses its practice exclusively on criminal law and civil injunctions. Our skilled team of Criminal and Protective Injunction Defense Lawyers is well aware of what is at stake when a client faces a civil protective injunction. That is why we fight tenaciously on behalf of our clients and work hard to develop the strongest defense strategy possible. We are just a phone call away, and are available 24/7. To talk with a member of our legal team, call Musa Law today at (888) 484-5057. We look forward to making a difference for you.
Punta Gorda Protective Injunctions
A protective injunction is a civil court order that is meant to protect an alleged victim from sustaining immediate harm. While those who are victims of violence deserve protection, people who are accused of committing violent acts are not given the same amount of due process as they are during a criminal proceeding. Accordingly, although a protective injunction, when issued, does not amount to jail time, the remedy itself can be followed by a criminal investigation and criminal charges if it is violated.
In Florida, the individual who seeks a protective injunction is identified as the “petitioner.” The person who is the alleged offender, or in other words, the one who is served with the injunction, is identified as the “respondent.”
The Five Types of Protective Injunctions in Florida
There are five different types of protective injunctions that an alleged victim can seek in Florida, which are as follows:
- Domestic violence injunctions;
- Dating violence injunctions;
- Stalking injunctions;
- Sexual violence injunctions; and
- Repeat violence injunctions.
Although each type of injunction is associated with different relationships and/or violent behavior, the process to seek and obtain an injunction is basically the same. This process is discussed more fully below.
Punta Gorda Dating Violence Injunctions
Under Florida Statute Section 784.046(d), “dating violence” means “violence between individuals who have or have had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.” Prior to having to prove that dating violence occurred, a person seeking a dating violence injunction must first establish that a dating relationship exists or existed by showing the following:
- The type of relationship was one where there was the expectation of sexual involvement and affection;
- The relationship between the petitioner and the respondent existed within the past six months before the petition for the dating violence injunction was filed; and
- The petitioner and the respondent “have been involved over time and on a continuous basis during the course of the relationship.”
A petitioner who does not prove that a dating relationship existed and that he or she was subject to dating violence will not be able to obtain a domestic violence injunction in Punta Gorda. Notwithstanding, a respondent who does not challenge the issuance of a dating violence injunction will not have the chance to raise legal defenses that could get the case dismissed. Accordingly, it is critical to have a skilled attorney by your side to develop the strongest defense strategy possible.
Punta Gorda Domestic Violence Injunctions
Domestic violence injunctions are very common in Punta Gorda. Akin to a dating violence injunction, a petitioner who seeks a domestic violence injunction must first prove the existence of a domestic relationship. Pursuant to Florida Statute Section 741.30(1), a petitioner can seek a domestic violence injunction on his or her own behalf or on behalf of a minor (a child under the age of eighteen). Under the law, a petitioner must establish that the parties to the matter are those who live together, used to live together, or have a child in common. If the parties have a child in common, they do not need to reside in the same dwelling for the court to find that a domestic violence injunction is warranted.
Domestic violence injunction cases often have a corresponding criminal case involved. Hence, when looking for a Punta Gorda Criminal and Protective Injunction Defense Attorney, a respondent must hire one that has experience handing both criminal law cases and civil protective injunction matters.
Punta Gorda Repeat Violence Injunctions
Under Florida Statute Section 784.46(b), a person can seek a repeat violence injunction if he or she has been subject to two or more violent acts or incidents of stalking. In order to obtain a repeat violence injunction, the law provides that one of the acts of violence must have occurred within the past six months from the time when the petition for a repeat violence injunction had been filed. There does not need to be a relationship between the parties for a repeat violence injunction to apply. Specifically, the parties can be co-workers, neighbors, former friends, or complete strangers.
Punta Gorda Sexual Violence Injunctions
Pursuant to Florida Statute Section 784.046(c), “sexual violence” is defined as one incident of sexual battery, a lewd or lascivious act “committed upon or in the presence of a person younger than 16 years of age,” luring or enticing a child, sexual performance by a child, or “any other forcible felony wherein a sexual act is committed or attempted, regardless of whether criminal charges based on the incident were filed, reduced, or dismissed by the state attorney.” The parties do not need to be involved in any type of relationship for a sexual violence injunction to be sought. Sexual violence injunctions often involve a corresponding criminal case however, this is not a requirement.
Punta Gorda Stalking Injunctions
Under Florida Statute Section 784.048(2), stalking is defined as “willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following, harassing, or cyberstalking another person.” The parties may not have even met each other for a stalking injunction to be issued, as quite often, the internet is used to cyberstalk a person.
The Process for Obtaining an Injunction in Punta Gorda
Step One – The Filing of the Petition
The entire injunction process begins with the filing of a court-approved form, known as a petition, in a Punta Gorda court. Each type of injunction has its own form. The petition is filed under oath, meaning that the petitioner is subject to penalty of perjury if he or she falsifies information on the form. Evidence is not required to be submitted with the petition at the time it is filed, although it can be helpful.
Step Two – The Court’s Examination of the Petition
Due to the urgent nature of protective injunction matters, the assigned judge will review the petition and determine if a temporary injunction is warranted. Judges often grant temporary injunctions if the petition provides information sufficient to establish that one is necessary. If the judge issues a temporary injunction, it will be in effect for fifteen days. On the fifteenth day, a final hearing will take place where the presiding judge will decide whether to issue a permanent injunction.
Step Three – Service of Process on the Respondent
Once the presiding judge decides to issue a protective injunction, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Department will serve the respondent with a copy of the temporary injunction order, the petition, and a notice indicating the time and date of the final hearing.
Step Four – Hiring a Skilled Punta Gorda Criminal and Protective Injunction Defense Attorney
Preparing for a final hearing is both challenging and quite involved. This is why it is critical to hire a skilled Punta Gorda Criminal and Injunction Defense Lawyer who will thoroughly prepare for the hearing and fight to safeguard the respondent’s legal rights. Once a qualified lawyer is retained, he or she will likely seek to continue, or postpone, the hearing date in order to fully prepare for the case.
Step Five – The Final Hearing
Both the respondent and petitioner are required to appear at the final hearing. During the hearing, the parties will have the chance to present evidence and having witnesses testify on their behalves. Evidence that is typically submitted to the court includes handwritten documentation such as notes and letters, emails, text messages, phone logs, social media postings, and photos. A jury does not preside over the case, as only a judge hears and decides the matter.
Step Six – The Court’s Final Order
Once the final hearing has been held, the presiding judge will consider the evidence submitted to the court in rendering his or her final decision. The judge can either choose to dismiss the matter in its entirety or side with the petitioner and issue a protective injunction, which could last indefinitely. If a permanent injunction is issued, the respondent must immediately adhere to its terms or else he or she could face serious penalties, including jail time.
The Repercussions Associated with a Punta Gorda Protective Injunction
As noted above, a protective injunction may seriously limit the legal rights of a respondent. Keep in mind that each injunction depends upon the facts and circumstances of one’s case. Notwithstanding, a protective injunction is associated with various repercussions, and can lead a person subject to same to feel like he or she has been convicted of a crime. Such repercussions of a protective injunction are, among others, as follows:
- The requirement to submit to a mental health evaluation, paid exclusively by the respondent;
- The requirement to stay at a certain distance away from the petitioner and/or his or her child;
- The requirement to submit to mental health counseling such as substance abuse treatment and anger management at the respondent’s own expense;
- The requirement to turn ammunition and firearms into law enforcement;
- The requirement to submit to random drug testing; and
- Harm to one’s reputation since protective injunctions are part of the public record, making it challenging to obtain/maintain employment, obtain a bank loan, or attend an institution of higher learning.
Given the magnitude of consequences associated with a protective injunction in Punta Gorda, it is critical to hire a skilled Punta Gorda Criminal and Protective Injunction Defense Lawyer immediately to safeguard your legal rights and develop the strongest defense strategy possible.
The Criminal Consequences of Violating a Protective Injunction in Punta Gorda
It is considered a crime in Florida to violate the terms of a protective injunction. Under Florida law, the following penalties are associated with a violation of a protective injunction:
- First Violation – this constitutes a first-degree misdemeanor, which is associated with a jail term of up to one year and a monetary fine of up to $1,000.
- Second Violation – this also constitutes a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable as provided directly above.
- Third Violation – this constitutes a third-degree felony, which is associated with a jail term of up to five years and a monetary fine of up to $5,000.
- Fourth and Subsequent Violations – these each constitute a third-degree felony, punishable as provided directly above.
The penalties associated with a conviction for violating a protective injunction can add up if a respondent is convicted over more than one crime. Accordingly, the monetary fines and resulting jail time associated with numerous convictions for violating a protective injunction are combined. What this means is that an individual can be faced with a $7,000 monetary fine and be placed in jail for up to seven years for three violations of a protective injunction.
The Modification or Termination of a Punta Gorda Protective Injunction
A protective injunction can be terminated or modified by a Florida court. To pursue a termination or modification of a protective injunction, the moving party must file a motion with the court and establish why the injunction should be terminated or modified. Such a process is very difficult to establish, as a judge will need to be sufficiently convinced that a termination or modification is warranted. In other words, the judge needs to be satisfied that the petitioner, or his or her minor child, is not in danger for future harm. If you are seeking to modify or terminate a protective injunction in Punta Gorda, it is critical to contact a skilled Punta Gorda Criminal and Protective Injunction Defense Attorney to help you.
Extending the Term of a Punta Gorda Protective Injunction
Some protective injunctions are set by the judge to last indefinitely, while others include an expiration date. If a protective injunction is set to expire, the petitioner can return to the court to seek to extend it at least thirty days before its expiration date.
Contact the Punta Gorda Criminal and Protective Injunction Defense Attorneys at Musca Law Now!
If you are facing a permanent injunction matter in Punta Gorda, it is critical to understand that your legal rights are at stake. Our skilled team of Punta Gorda Criminal and Permanent Injunction Defense Lawyers has over 150 collective years of legal experience representing clients in all types of criminal matters and civil injunction cases. Musca Law has a stellar legal representation for successfully representing clients located in Punta Gorda and throughout the state of Florida. We work diligently and tenaciously when representing clients. If you would like to speak with one of our Punta Gorda Criminal Defense Lawyers, contact us now by calling (888) 484-5057. We look forward to making a difference for you.