Domestic Violence Injunction Defense Lawyers in Tallahassee, Florida
Domestic Violence Injunctions in Florida
Section 741.30 of the Florida Statutes provides a safe haven in Tallahassee’s circuit court for people victimized by domestic violence or threatened by an act of domestic violence. A victim of domestic violence or a person in fear of becoming a victim of violence could apply to the circuit court for an injunction to prevent domestic violence. An injunction to prevent domestic violence is a court order directed to the alleged perpetrator of a violent act committed in a domestic situation or who threatens violence in a domestic situation to refrain from abusing the alleged victim. The court’s order might contain other orders as well, depending on the type of situation facing the parties, including the surrender of all firearms and ammunition.
Regrettably, the court’s ability to issue orders from protection is occasionally abused. Family or household members who wish to seek revenge or retribution against another family or household member sometimes filed petitions for an injunction to prevent domestic violence when the person alleged to have committed or threatened an act of domestic violence is innocent. Injunctions to prevent domestic violence can be used to take access away from children, prevent the alleged violent person from returning home, or forcing that person to move out. If the person defending against the request for a protective injunction against domestic violence does not vigorously oppose the petition and prove the petitioner is lying, then the court might grant an injunction even if the petitioner committed a fraud on the court.
One thing is clear: violations of injunctions to prevent domestic violence are not tolerated. A judge has the discretion to hold the person who violated the court’s order in criminal or civil contempt. A person found in criminal contempt could be sent to jail, whereas the person found to be in civil contempt will be ordered to pay fines and satisfy certain conditions ordered by the judge. Moreover, the state attorney’s office could take out charges against the person for an alleged violation of an injunction to prevent domestic violence.
Additionally, the collateral consequences of living with an injunction to prevent domestic violence are significant. Domestic violence injunctions are public information. Anyone who looks at the information contained in the public record could conclude the person upon whom the court imposed the injunction is a violent person. Therefore, potential or current employers, educational institutions, mortgage companies, landlords, and others who review public records to determine the character and trustworthiness of an individual could use the existence of a domestic violence injunction as grounds to deny the person a job, continued employment, continued educational opportunities, denial of educational opportunities, denial of housing, or denial of a mortgage.
The best way to ensure that you are not subject to the loss of liberty and adverse consequences attendant with an injunction to prevent domestic violence is to speak with a law firm whose clients have enjoyed tremendous success defending against domestic violence injunctions in Tallahassee and throughout Florida. Musca Law is a domestic violence injunction and criminal defense law firm that provides its clients with aggressive representation of domestic violence allegations. Call Musca Law at 888-484-5057 today to speak with our domestic violence injunction and criminal defense lawyers who will provide you with the experience, skill, and dedication you need to defend against domestic violence injunctions and criminal charges in Tallahassee.
Categories of Injunctions Issued by Tallahassee Courts
Florida law allows judges to issue injunctions based upon the nature of the relationship between the parties and the type of danger presented. Florida courts can issue injunction protection to prevent:
- Domestic violence,
- Dating violence,
- Sexual violence, and
- Repeat violence.
The court orders issued for each of these injunctions will be similar to one another, with certain exceptions. The overarching principle of injunctions for protection in Florida commonly referred to as restraining orders as well as the protection and safeguarding of a person who is vulnerable to abuse.
The Legal Process to Apply for an Injunction Against Domestic Violence in Leon County
Understanding the application process and the legal mechanisms at work when a person files a request for an injunction against domestic violence is essential to developing a strong and successful defense. The law refers to the person who seeks the court’s protection as the petitioner, and the pleadings the petitioner files are known as a petition. The respondent is the person from whom the court’s protection is sought.
The petitioner completes a form under the pains and penalties of perjury that explains to the court who did what to whom. The petition used in Tallahassee is the same used in courts across the state. The petition is a simplified legal document and is designed to be understood by people with no legal training. The form guides the petitioner to supply the information the court needs to prepare the case. Additionally, the petition calls for the petitioner to explain the factual situation that justifies the petitioner’s request. The petitioner must file the petition and swear under the pains and penalties of perjury that the allegation and factual assertions are true.
The legal standard to apply for an injunction to prevent domestic violence in delineated in §741.30 of the Florida Statutes. Section 741.30 indicates that a person who was victimized by domestic violence or had “reasonable cause” to believe she or he is in imminent danger of suffering an act of domestic violence has “standing” to file a petition seeking a domestic violence injunction. Injunctions to prevent domestic violence can only be filed by family or household members against other family or household members, except that the statute allows the petition to be filed even if the alleged perpetrator has left the residence. A person with legal standing is the person who has the right to ask the court to adjudicate a legal issue because she or he is the real party in interest and not another person.
Section 741.30 refers to §741.28 of the Florida Statutes for definitions of domestic violence as well as the definition of family or household members. Under §741.28, domestic violence refers to a broad spectrum of violent crimes allegedly perpetrated by a family or household member against another family or household member that include, but are not limited to, assault, battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, aggravated stalking, and any other criminal offense in which the victim could suffer severe personal injuries or be killed.
The petitioner must provide information about the acts allegedly committed by the respondent that place the petitioner in imminent fear of becoming a victim of domestic violence.
The form suggests grounds for the petitioner experiencing fear such as:
- The respondent previously made threats, stalked, harassed, or abuse the petitioner physically,
- The respondent attempted to harm the petitioner, family members of the petitioner, or other people who are close with the petitioner,
- The respondent threatened to harm or attempted to harm, kidnap, or conceal the children born of the petitioner and respondent,
- The respondent intentionally killed or harmed a family pet,
- The respondent threatened the petitioner with a firearm, knife, or another deadly weapon,
- The respondent retained the petitioner from leaving the home or from contacting law enforcement,
- The respondent has a criminal history of violence,
- The respondent is subject to a previous or current order of protection,
- The respondent destroyed property belonging to the petitioner such as telephone, communication devices, clothing, or other items of personal property belonging to the petitioner, and
- The respondent committed another act that gives the petitioner reasonable ground to file the petition out of fear of becoming a victim of domestic violence.
Family or household member encompasses a wide range of relationships. Family or household member under §741.28 means spouses, people related by blood or by marriage, people who currently live together, people who have a child together even if they never lived together, former spouses, and people who lived together as a family in the past. With the exception of people who have a child together, the individuals must have lived together in the same residential unit to be considered a family or household member.
The petitioner has the opportunity to specify the relief sought. The petitioner could ask the judge to impose an injunction that restrains the respondent from committing acts of domestic violence, award the petitioner custody of the children with an appropriate parenting plan, establish child support, award use of the family home, as well any other provision which could protect the petitioner from future violence.
The clerk of courts will bring the petition to the sitting judge for review of the petition. At that time, the judge may grant an ex parte hearing if the petitioner is seeking a temporary restraining order immediately. Unless the respondent is present in court or could be available to appear in court in a reasonable time after the petition was filed, the court will only review the swarm bleeding and affidavits filed by the petitioner and will not receive any other evidence.
A judge has the authority to deny an ex parte petition for a temporary restraining order. The judge must state the legal reasons for denying the petition. However, if the judge denies the petition for a temporary restraining order because the judge believes there is no immediate or present threat of domestic violence, then the court must make its findings in writing and set a date for the final hearing as soon as possible. The petitioner can amend the petition to include information concerning the immediacy of the threat.
The temporary restraining order is only valid for fifteen days. At the end of the fifteen-day interval, the court will conduct the final hearing on the merits of the case. The judge has the discretion to continue the case at either party’s request, provided that the terms of the temporary injunction remain in effect. The judge will assess whether the request for the continuance is based on good cause, which could include more time required to serve the respondent with the papers.
Section 741.30 expressly states that the clerk of the court must give the temporary restraining order, notice of final hearing, and all other documents filed to the sheriff or local law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over the respondent’s residence, whether temporary or permanent, within 24 hours. The sheriff or law enforcement agents must serve the papers as soon as possible. The Sheriff’s Department or law enforcement agency has 24 hours to return the service of process to the court clerk.
Final Hearing on Injunction to Prevent Domestic Violence
Although it is not required under the statute, the respondent can choose to have a lawyer represent him or her at the final hearing. Having a lawyer with you during this tumultuous time can help protect your rights. Every person Who could be charged with a crime, such as a crime of domestic violence, has the right against self-incrimination. Some people think it is advantageous and efficient to represent oneself when defending against an injunction for domestic violence. Most often, the outcome is unfavorable. A person who represents himself or herself runs the risk of waving his or her right against self-incrimination and making a statement that could be used to prosecute a crime against him or her at a later date. Conversely, having an experienced, skilled, and phenomenally successful Tallahassee injunction defense and criminal defense attorney represent you can protect your rights and vigorously argue on your behalf.
The final hearing will proceed in a manner similar to that of a trial, with the notable exception that there is no jury. The judge will decide the facts of the case, the credibility of the parties in any witnesses called, as well as determine what evidence should be admitted. Neither party has the chance to submit evidence. Evidence can take the form of photographs, text messages, emails, social media post copies, correspondence, documents, and medical records.
Choosing the right lawyer to represent you in these circumstances can give you an advantage in court. A lawyer with significant trial experience will understand how to develop a defense strategy that can expose the weaknesses of the petitioner’s case by showing that the petitioner exaggerates the claims she or he makes, his lying, has a bias or prejudice toward the respondent, or has an ulterior motive for filing a petition For an injunction against domestic violence. Additionally, the right lawyer will help you present defenses such as self-defense, alibi, mutual combat, and other defense is suggested by the facts of the case as seen through the eyes of an attorney who has vast criminal trial experience. Your attorney has to defend you against an injunction as well as anticipate the possibility that the state’s attorney could file domestic violence charges against you. Therefore it is critical to your freedom to contact Musca Law immediately upon receipt of a temporary injunction. Waiting to see what happens or attempting to resolve these matters without an attorney could jeopardize your defense in the injunction case as well as any criminal case that could arise out of this situation.
If you lose and become subject to an injunction to prevent domestic violence, the judge will enter orders prohibiting you from possessing firearms and ammunition, leaving is subject to arrest for violation of any terms of the order, can order you to pay child support, relinquish your custody rights to your children, relinquish your home, and order you to stay away from having no contact with your family, among other provisions the judge believes will keep the petitioner safe from domestic violence. The judge may order the respondent to attend the batterers’ intervention program. However, the judge must order the respondent to enter and complete a batterers’ intervention program if the respondent intentionally violated the temporary injunction, the respondent admitted to or was found guilty of a crime of violence in Florida or another state, or the respondent was previously subject to an injunction to prevent violence after a full hearing unless the judge finds that condition to be inappropriate. These conditions can be extremely difficult to live with and will infringe upon your liberty.
Modifying or Terminating an Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence
You must remember that you must observe in obey all of the provisions of an injunction without fail. Otherwise, you could be charged with a crime and sentenced to jail. Although it is extremely difficult at times to obey the judge’s ruling, it is in your best legal interest to do so.
Section 741.30 allows either party to petition the court to modify or dissolve the injunction at any time. An injunction to prevent domestic violence is permanent. However, neither party needs any legal grounds to file a request to terminate or modify the injunction. Notwithstanding, every time you go to court to oppose a petition or file a petition, you must have expert legal counsel by your side who was ready to fight for you. The privilege against self-incrimination and all other constitutionally provided rights do not lapse because the judge issued a permanent injunction. You still run the risk making statements that are against your penal interest. Moreover, having a knowledgeable domestic violence injunction defense attorney with you can help you persuade the judge to dissolve or modify the injunction so that you can resume your normal way of life.
Call Musca Law for Aggressive Defense Against Tallahassee Domestic Violence Injunctions
Call a Tallahassee criminal defense lawyer anytime, 24/7, to discuss your rights if you were served with an injunction against domestic violence. Remember that you might also be under investigation for a crime. Therefore you must do everything you can to protect yourself. Start by calling 888-484-5057 right now and initiate a defense strategy that will give you the best chance to preserve your freedom.