Injunction and Restraining Order Defense Lawyers in St. Petersburg, Florida
Protective orders, injunctions, and restraining orders are all similar terms in Florida however, there are some differences between them. As for injunctions, they are civil court-issued orders that are meant to protect an individual from future harm. This type of injunction depends upon the nature of the underlying conduct. If an individual is in fear of imminent harm, he or she can file a petition in civil court seeking an injunction. This individual, known as the “petitioner,” must bring forth certain facts that demonstrate to the court that the person who is the subject of the petition, known as the “respondent,” is likely to cause him or her to be harmed.
The respondent must challenge the injunction as quickly as he or she can in order to ensure a fair process in court. This individual must establish to the court that the facts in the petition lack merit, and that the issuance of the injunction would unfairly harm and prejudice the respondent. Notwithstanding, to have the best chance of showing to the court that an injunction should not be granted, the respondent must work with a skilled attorney to advocate on his or her behalf at every stage of the case.
At Musca law, our dedicated St. Petersburg criminal defense attorneys work with clients to give them a fighting chance in courts located throughout the state of Florida. Regardless of the circumstances, a person facing an injunction must act quickly to preserve his or her legal rights. While an injunction case is not a criminal matter, it can certainly feel like one. If you are facing the prospects of an injunction in St. Petersburg, Florida, you should speak with an experienced attorney at Musca Law today. You can call us 24/7 at (888) 484-5057. We look forward to making a difference for you!
The First Step after the Issuance of an Injunction in St. Petersburg – Restraining the Respondent
In Florida, any individual can seek a petition for an injunction by filling out the requisite form provided by the court. The form also asks the petitioner to provide in detail the facts surrounding the underlying conduct in order to demonstrate to a judge that the petitioner’s safety is at risk. Once a petition is filed, the judge has the discretion to issue a temporary injunction that effectively “restrains” the respondent for at least fifteen days until the final hearing date where the merits of the petition are examined by the court. In essence, the final hearing exists to determine whether the facts support the need for a permanent injunction. The person facing the prospects of an injunction needs to attend the hearing to fight against it while working alongside a highly skilled St. Petersburg injunction defense lawyer.
Understanding the Different Types of Injunctions in St. Petersburg, Florida
As stated above, there are various types of injunctions that are meant to protect the petitioner from future harm. In St. Petersburg, an individual who is seeking an injunction can file a petition for any one of the following types:
- Domestic violence injunction
- Stalking injunction
- Repeat violence injunction
- Dating violence injunction
- Sexual violence injunction
- Stalking injunction
In some instances, a petitioner may allege that the facts support the issuance of more than one type of injunction. Regardless of the injunction that is pursued, the result will be the same – to stop the respondent from having any contact with the petitioner.
Domestic Violence Injunctions in St. Petersburg
In Florida, an individual can pursue a domestic violence injunction to stop allegedly harmful behavior from continuing. To qualify as “domestic violence,” a petitioner must establish the existence of a domestic relationship. This involves two people who share the same dwelling and/or who share a child in common. In Florida, domestic violence includes a variety of conduct, including, but not limited to, false imprisonment, battery, kidnapping, and assault. The mere threat of same may be sufficient to justify the need for a domestic violence injunction.
Dating Violence Injunctions in St. Petersburg
Dating violence is akin to domestic violence however, there is no requirement for the respondent and petitioner to live together and/or share a child. Rather, dating violence injunctions apply to those in intimate or romantic relationships. However, the underlying conduct warranting a dating violence injunction is basically the same as that of domestic violence. If the intimate or romantic relationship has ended, a judge can still grant a petition for a dating violence injunction if the relationship lasted at least six months prior to the time the petition for the injunction is filed.
Stalking Injunctions in St. Petersburg
In Florida, Statute Section 784.048(2) provides that an individual has probable cause to obtain a stalking injunction if the respondent “willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person.” Stalking is a first-degree misdemeanor, which means that the respondent will face a possible jail term of up to one year and a $1,000 monetary fine. An individual does not need to face criminal charges to be the subject of an injunction. Accordingly, an individual who believes that he or she is being stalked can seek an injunction, even in the absence of criminal charges against the respondent.
Repeat Violence Injunctions in St. Petersburg
Repeat violence occurs when the respondent commits more than one act of stalking or violence. In this instance, the petitioner can seek a repeat violence injunction in St. Petersburg. A judge may grant the injunction, at least temporarily, if one of the violent acts or stalking incidents happened within six months prior to the date the petition for a repeat violence injunction is submitted to the court.
Sexual Violence Injunctions in St. Petersburg
Sexual violence includes unwelcome sexual acts, lewdness against a child, and attempted unwelcome sexual acts. In many instances, sexual violence injunctions are sought when an open criminal matter is pending concerning the same conduct. Notwithstanding, even if no criminal matter is currently open, a victim of sexual violence can pursue an injunction to prevent further contact with the respondent.
Permanent Injunction Hearings in St. Petersburg and Why an Injunction Defense Attorney is Necessary
After an individual files a petition for an injunction in St. Petersburg, the judge will expeditiously decide to grant a temporary injunction or outright deny the petition from its inception. While the judge does not require the petitioner to fully prove his or her case when the petition is filed, he or she will want to hear the facts underlying the claims. If the judge does not believe that there is any merit to the allegations, he or she may seek to dismiss the matter altogether. However, judges tend to err on the side of caution when reviewing petitions for permanent injunctions Accordingly, judges often grant a temporary injunction until such time that the respondent can be present in court to challenge his or her case with a competent attorney by his or her side.
In St. Petersburg, a hearing for an injunction will be set for fifteen days following the issuance of the temporary injunction. Given the serious repercussions associated with an injunction, any person who is served with a petition for an injunction should quickly contact a St. Petersburg injunction defense attorney. Fifteen days between the filing of the petition and the injunction hearing is not a significant amount of time to prepare a defense and fight a permanent injunction. A respondent who appears in court at the injunction hearing without having an attorney by his or her side risks losing the case and becoming subject to a permanent injunction. With a diligent and hard-working attorney, a respondent has the best chance of successfully challenging the petition and convincing the presiding judge that a permanent injunction is not necessary.
The Repercussions Associated with a Permanent Injunction in St. Petersburg, Florida
In the event that a judge issues a permanent injunction against the respondent, he or she will have to comply with all the terms of the injunction. The first requirement is to, of course, stay away from the petitioner. Next, the respondent may be forced to surrender his or her firearms and ammunition during the injunction period, which undoubtedly abridges that person’s second amendment rights. A judge may also force the respondent to attend mental health treatment and has the discretion to impose additional requirements on the respondent as he or she sees fit. While injunctions are typically permanent, they may be modified or dissolved by a judge upon a motion for good cause shown, whether by the petitioner, the respondent, or both.
It is important to realize that injunctions are a matter of public record, which means that a person can access information on one’s injunction by conducting a background check on the respondent. Just like a bankruptcy or divorce case is available to the public, injunctions are issued by a St. Petersburg court, which are civil orders that can be viewed by the public. Such a harsh consequence does not seem to fit the conduct in question if it has not been proven by a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. In essence, being labelled as a violent person in a civil matter is just as damaging as any conviction in a criminal case.
There are additional consequences associated with an injunction that go above and beyond having certain restrictions in contacting the petitioner. They include harm to the respondent’s reputation and he or she may lose his or her job. The respondent may also lose the support of family members and friends who are prone to believing every word that is stated within the confines of the underlying petition.
In St. Petersburg, it is difficult to balance the needs to protect victims of violence and the well-being of the accused. Judges have a tough call because although they want to protect victims of violence, they do not want to cause a person to sustain harm due to false allegations. Keep in mind however, that judges may side with the petitioner if the respondent does not challenge the petition or has not presented a clear case to defend himself or herself in court. In essence, even if a judge does not necessary believe the allegations raised by the petitioner, he or she may be left with no choice but to issue a permanent injunction if the respondent does not adequately refute his or her case.
Accordingly, it is crucial that any individual facing a permanent injunction understands (i) the severe nature of a permanent injunction, and (ii) how having the right attorney can make a huge difference in fighting against a permanent injunction. While hiring an attorney does cost money, it is worth having one given the severe consequences discussed above that are associated with a permanent injunction. Unfortunately, many individuals do not appreciate the severe nature of a permanent injunction until they find themselves embroiled in this situation.
The Serious Repercussions Associated with Violating a St. Petersburg Injunction
Whether an injunction issued by a judge in St. Petersburg is for repeat violence, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking, a respondent who is found in violation of an injunction, in any way, will face serious criminal penalties. If the respondent comes in close contact with the petitioner following the issuance of an injunction, he or she may face criminal penalties, which can range from minor to severe, depending upon the nature of the violation. If a violation is intentional, or willful, a respondent will face serious criminal repercussions, which could result in prison time and monetary fines. As such, it is critical for the respondent to comply with ALL of the terms of the injunction and to contact a skilled attorney as soon as possible in the event that he or she is accused of violating an injunction. When legal rights are potentially on the line, there is no room for the respondent to work with incompetent/inexperienced counsel.
How a Pinellas County Injunction Defense Lawyer Can Help
The best way in which to approach an injunction is to treat it as if it were a criminal matter. If you were served with a temporary injunction and have a court date that has been scheduled, you must seek strong legal representation, as a permanent injunction can drastically affect your life for years to come. Once you hire a skilled St Petersburg injunction defense lawyer, he or she will immediately start gathering all necessary documents and statements made pertaining to the petition for an injunction. Your attorney will then begin to build a solid defense on your behalf, which includes gathering documentation and even witnesses to help explain or refute the petitioner’s claims.
A competent and knowledgeable attorney knows what to expect from judges who handle injunction cases. Having knowledge as to how a judge typically rules in a given case is essential in shaping a strong defense. While all judges follow the applicable law when reaching decisions, they have the broad discretion to make a determination that they believe is just. It is important to keep in mind that two judges may reach two different conclusions in the same case. Hence, the stronger and more knowledgeable your attorney is, the better chance you have in refuting the allegations raised against you in the petition. Without question, you need to work with an attorney who has proven results in St. Petersburg and throughout the state of Florida.
Protect Your Rights – Contact the St. Petersburg Injunction Defense Lawyers of Musca Law Now
Injunctions can lead to severe legal and personal consequences for a person in St. Petersburg, Florida. While injunctions are civil matters, the aftermath of one can feel much like a criminal case. If you have been served with a temporary injunction, you must act immediately to speak with a St. Petersburg defense attorney. At Musca Law, our award-winning St. Petersburg criminal defense and injunction defense lawyers have successfully helped other clients overcome the injunction process. To find out how Musca Law may be able to help you or a loved one, contact our office today by calling (888) 484-5057. We are available 24/7 to provide you with the guidance and legal advice you need to move forward.