Repeat Violence Protective Injunction Defense Lawyers in St. Petersburg, Florida
Injunctions to protect victims from stalking, repeat abuse, sexual violence, and domestic violence are a valuable tool in preventing or stopping violence and abuse. However well-intentioned, this valuable tool is often turned into an offensive weapon to get the upper-hand, and exact retribution in a relationship turned sour, a contentious divorce, among family members who were slighted, or a situation in which neighbors no longer get along. The person restrained or enjoined by a protective injunction must live with the potential long-term consequences of the injunction or face possible criminal charges and jail sentences along with hefty fines for violation of a protective injunctive order.
You must never try to represent yourself in defense of a repeat offender injunction. The stakes are too high, and the consequences are dire if you try to represent yourself. Many of your freedoms, like possessing a firearm and ammunition, parenting, and visiting locations you want to go are just a few of the rights you will lose if a judge orders an injunction for repeat violence against you in St. Petersburg, Florida. Act now to protect your inalienable rights by calling the St. Petersburg Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Attorneys from Musca Law. Our St. Petersburg criminal defense attorneys understand the consequences of being subject to a permanent injunction. Therefore, our skilled and high-experienced defense lawyers will do what is necessary to protect your rights. Call our firm today at (888) 484-5057 to find out what we can do for you.
Injunctions for Protection in St. Petersburg, Florida
Florida law authorizes five types of injunctions for protection. The appropriate injunction will depend upon the nature and circumstances of the situation presented to the court. Injunctions for protection, also called restraining orders and protective orders, which could be issued by a judge are:
- Repeat Violence Injunction;
- Stalking Injunction;
- Dating Violence Injunction;
- Sexual Violence Injunction; and
- Domestic Violence Injunction.
The Injunction Process in St. Petersburg, Florida
The person requesting the protective injunction from the court, no matter which injunction requested, is referred to as the petitioner. The petitioner files a petition in court, under the pains and penalties of perjury, asking the court to use its power to order another person — known as the respondent — to do something or to refrain from doing something. The petition must include identifying information about the petitioner and the respondent and also contain a recitation of the facts upon which the petitioner relies to seek the order for injunctive relief.
Once the petition has been completed, a judge will review the case. The judge must decide whether issuing a temporary injunction, sometimes referred to as a temporary restraining order, is appropriate. The judge has only the information submitted by the petitioner to consider. In theory, injunctions for protection should only be issued by a judge if the petitioner is in fear of imminent harm. Therefore, judges can order a temporary injunction for protection ex parte, or hearing from only one side, when the petition is first filed to prevent abuse before a full hearing could be conducted. Florida law prohibits judges from issuing permanent injunctions ex parte.
If the judge issues a temporary junction for protection, then the court will schedule a hearing on the question of whether the injunction should be permanent within fifteen (15) days. The fifteen-day time period allows time for the sheriff to serve the respondent with notice of the temporary injunction. Furthermore, the lengthy period between filing and final hearing allows the respondent time to hire counsel and strategize. Many of the respondent’s freedoms hang in the balance, depending on the judge’s final order. Therefore, the respondent should use all of the time allotted to plan a successful defense to the petition for a permanent injunction for protection.
The respondent should consider having a skilled and experienced Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Attorney represent him or her at the hearing. An attorney with experience and a keen understanding of the injunction process will formulate a viable defense strategy. Part of the strategy might include presenting the judge with evidence that rebuts or contradicts the petitioner’s sworn statement. The seasoned defense attorney might present witnesses or rely on razor-sharp cross-examination to unravel the petitioner’s statement.
Vigorously defending against injunctions is necessary to convince the court to deny the petition. Otherwise, the respondent will be subject to a life-altering and permanent injunction. Not only will the respondent be subject to obey the court’s order, but the respondent could also find himself or herself behind bars for violating the injunction. Although the process of obtaining an injunction against repeat violence in St. Petersburg is a “civil,” rather than a criminal matter, violating the court’s injunction is a crime. A conviction for violating an injunction for protection against repeat violence could subject the respondent to incarceration and fines.
Injunctions to Prevent Repeat Violence in St. Petersburg, Florida
Injunctions to prevent repeat violence are authorized by statute in Florida. Section 784.046(1)(a) of the Florida Statutes defines the term violence explicitly as an assault, whether simple or aggravated, battery, whether simple or aggravated, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, and aggravated stalking, and also includes kidnapping or false imprisonment. The term violence also includes any other criminal activity that could result in or cause physical injury or death committed by one person against another.
The phrase “repeat violence” is defined by Section 784.056(b) of the Florida Statutes. Under Section 784.056(b), “repeat violence” consists of two acts of violence, at a minimum, perpetrated by the respondent, when one of the violent episodes was committed within the six months before the date the petitioner filed her or his petition. To qualify as a repeat violent offense for purposes of obtaining an injunction for protection, violent incidents must be directed at the petitioner or an immediate family member of the petitioner.
The petitioner must claim in the petition that she or he is in fear of another act of violence perpetrated by the respondent. The person completing the petition has standing, or the legal basis, to file a petition for protection against repeat violence in St. Petersburg personally and on behalf of the petitioner’s minor child if the child is the victim of repeat violence.
Florida law leaves little to chance if the court orders an injunction against the respondent. The respondent must surrender every one of his or her firearms and every round of ammunition to a local law enforcement agency if the court grants an injunction against repeat violence in St. Petersburg. Refusing to surrender firearms and ammunition is a violation of the injunction, which subjects the criminal sanctions, including incarceration. Any violation of the judge’s order will have the same result.
Who Can Petition the Court for an Injunction for Protection from Repeat Violence in St. Petersburg, Florida?
The petitioner does not have to have a special relationship with the respondent to obtain an injunction for protection against repeat violence. In reality, most petitions involve a person who is close to the petitioner, such as a family member, parent of a child in common, or someone in a romantic relationship. However, the law does not limit injunctions to prevent repeat violence to one type of relationship. Therefore, roommates, co-workers, employers and employees, neighbors, siblings, parents and children, or even friends are examples of relationships that could cause friction leading to a request for an injunction against repeat violence.
Florida law requires the petitioner seeking the court’s protection to allege acts of violence to obtain an injunction for protection from repeat violence. Merely claiming that the respondent has a temper, has anger issues, needs anger management, or has a reputation for violence is insufficient to justify obtaining an injunction.
The final hearing on the merits of the petition for a permanent injunction to prevent repeat violence is the only opportunity the respondent has to win the case. The petitioner, in essence, gets two chances to convince a judge that the court should order an injunction. The first instance occurs when the petitioner submits the petition to the court when first filed. Then, the petitioner has another opportunity to convince the judge that the injunction should be permanent at the final hearing. The respondent is at a disadvantage. Therefore, making a persuasive case at the final hearing is essential for the respondent to preserve his or her freedom. However, when aligned with a highly-skilled and accomplished Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Attorney, the respondent will have the best chance to convince a judge that ordering an injunction is not warranted and persuade the judge the issuing the injunction would impermissibly trample the respondent’s rights.
The Respondent Could Suffer Irreparable Harm if Subject to an Injunction to Prevent Repeat Violence in St. Petersburg, Florida
Failing to persuade a judge that the petitioner has not made a convincing case for the court to use its authority to issue an injunction will have severe consequences for the respondent. The potential consequences a respondent who loses the final injunction hearing might suffer include:
- Following the strict rules imposed by the order for an injunction, including remaining a certain distance away from the petitioner and all others, such as minor children, named in the court’s order for protection;
- Avoiding contact with the petitioner and others, in person, via electronic means like texting and social media, as well as contact through an intermediary or third-party;
- Criminal sanctions such as imprisonment, probation, fines for violating the injunction;
- Maintaining employment or obtaining new employment, renting or purchasing a home, or being accepted into an institution of higher learning because a public records search could uncover the existence of the injunction;
- Surrendering firearms, including rifles and shotguns, and ammo to local law enforcement authorities; and
- Undergoing a mental health examination and following a treatment plan if ordered by the judge as a component of the injunction at the sole expense of the respondent.
Complying with an injunction to prevent repeat violence in St. Petersburg is onerous, and the respondent could feel like the court placed him or her on probation without a conviction for a crime. These proceedings could best be described as “quasi-criminal.” While the order itself is civil, the sanctions for violating the injunction is criminal.
The ramifications of being subject to an injunction for the protection against repeat violence are too severe to try to tackle the problem personally. Defending against an injunction for the protection of repeat violence necessarily requires the attorney to defend the case as if it was a criminal case. Relying on the experience and judgment of a seasoned Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Lawyer with knowledge and resources to defend their clients’ rights is essential to the protection of individual liberty.
Terminating or Modifying a Permanent Injunction to Prevent Repeat Violence in St. Petersburg, Florida
Florida law allows modification or termination of permanent injunctions. Some judges will include an expiration date in the order. The injunction will come to an end one the termination date if the petitioner does not move to extend the order. However, if the judge does not include a termination date in the injunction, then the order is permanent. In that case, the respondent can move the court to terminate the injunction or modify the terms of the injunction. The respondent must file a document in court, called a “motion,” and set forth all of the reasons why the court should terminate or modify the injunction.
The court has the authority to modify or terminate the injunction if the moving party convinces the judge that the fact and circumstances which necessitated the injunction no longer exist, and, as a result, allowing the injunction to remain in place serves no legitimate purpose. The respondent is most commonly the moving party in these situations.
Danger lurks any time a person represents his or her interests before a court. A well-known and respected St. Petersburg Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Attorney understands how to persuade the judge to dissolve or modify an injunction and also knows how to protect the respondent’s rights.
Understanding the Process of Extending an Injunction Against Repeat Violence in St. Petersburg
The petitioner has the opportunity to extend the injunction against repeat violence if the court included an expiration date in the order. The petitioner must file the appropriate motion with the court before the expiration date to extend the order. Failing that, the order expires on the date noted by the judge. If the petitioner filed a timely motion, then the judge will review the motion to renew or extend the injunction, along with any opposition filed, the original order, and the respondent’s behavior while the injunction was in effect to determine whether extending the order is appropriate.
Defending Against Injunctions to Prevent Repeat Violence in Pinellas County, Florida
Successfully defending an injunction to prevent repeat violence in St. Petersburg, Florida, is utterly necessary to maintaining one’s freedom, liberty, and livelihood. Successfully defending against the petitioner’s allegations comes down to refuting the petitioner’s allegations. If the respondent shows that the petitioner cannot be believed, then the judge will not issue the injunction. However, that is easier said than accomplished.
Mounting a successful defense starts with consulting a qualified St. Petersburg Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Lawyer. Only a lawyer qualified to handle defending respondents facing injunctions to prevent repeat violence can devise the best strategy to discredit the petitioner and paint the respondent in the most favorable light before the court. Defense strategies often include an evaluation of the following factors:
- Demonstrating the adversarial nature of the relationship between the parties;
- The criminal history of either party, including the history of convictions;
- Whether the parties have children in common;
- Witnesses who could corroborate or contradict either side’s arguments;
- Documentary evidence such as medical records, text messages, or social media posts that confirm or refute the petitioner’s allegations;
- Whether a criminal charge issued as a result of the petitioner’s allegations; and
- The petitioner’s motive to pursue false allegations.
Every case is unique. Consequently, every defense strategy will be unique, as well. The best defense strategy, in one case, could involve only cross-examining the accuser because the case comes down to one person’s word versus the other’s. In contrast, the best strategy, in another case, might involve calling witnesses or presenting documentary evidence that impeaches the petitioner.
Some cases will be more difficult to defend than others. The most successful Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Lawyers in St. Petersburg knows how to expose the weakness in the strongest cases to defend the respondent.
Defending Oneself in Court is a Dangerous Strategy
Many people who wish to represent themselves in court do so because they believe that they know the facts better and can argue more forcefully than if represented by counsel. Respondents facing injunctions to prevent repeat violence have a right against self-incrimination. The right is guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. However, going to court alone and trying to argue in defense of an injunction could incriminate the respondent. If the respondent remains silent, then the court has no choice but to grant the injunction. Notwithstanding the respondent’s right against self-incrimination, a seasoned Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Lawyer will incorporate the respondent’s case in the presentation of evidence and in an argument in a manner that convinces the court to deny the petition while preserving the respondent’s rights against self-incrimination.
Musca Law’s St. Petersburg Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Attorneys Will Explain Your Rights
Call Musca Law today at (888) 484-5057 to speak with one of their highly experienced repeat violence injunction defense attorneys. Our lawyers work tirelessly to protect our client’s rights and preserve our clients’ freedoms. Going to court alone is a tremendous risk. Instead, rely on our dedicated St. Petersburg Defense Attorneys to protect your interests.