Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Lawyers in Tallahassee, Florida
Suffering the threat of a violent crime or being victimized by violent crime in Tallahassee, Florida, allows the alleged victim to seek additional protection from the Florida courts. In Tallahassee, the victim could appear in the Leon County civil court to seek an injunction for protection against repeat violence if the alleged perpetrator of the violent act has a history of violence. The victim of crimes of violence such as a battery, assault, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, and other violent crimes, irrespective of the nature of the relationship between the two parties, could ask the court for an injunction to prevent repeat violence.
Judges in Tallahassee, Florida, are reluctant to deny petitions seeking an injunction against repeat violence. The judges are fearful that if they deny a petition asking for an injunction to prevent repeat violence and the person seeking the court’s protection becomes a victim of the violent crime he or she asked the court for protection, then the judge would be harshly, and perhaps unfairly criticized. Judges in Tallahassee routinely order injunctions, even in cases in which the evidence supporting the alleged victim’s request is weak, at best.
The person who must face the injunction in Tallahassee, Florida, has valuable rights, even if the judge might seem to ignore them. The only way that a person who must defend against an injunction can ensure that his or her rights are protected is to engage experienced, skilled, and aggressive repeat violent offender injunction and criminal defense lawyer from Tallahassee to jealously protect your rights from infringement by the government. Otherwise, you might be faced with living under the strict rules imposed by court order dictating where you go, with whom you speak — including your children and other family members —, and then lose the right to use your firearms in self-protection.
The Tallahassee repeat violent injunction, and criminal defense attorneys with Musca Law offer their clients the benefit of over 150 years of collective experience vigorously — and successfully — defending their clients’ rights in Tallahassee and across the state of Florida. Musca Law’s repeat violent injunction and criminal defense attorneys understand how the Florida court system works and can devise winning strategies designed to protect your rights and preserve your livelihood. Call Musca Law today at 888-484-5057 to discuss your rights and defenses if you have been served with an injunction against repeat violence.
Categories of Injunctions in Tallahassee, Florida
Florida’s legislative assembly passed a statute designed to offer victims of violent crimes additional protection for the alleged perpetrators of those crimes. Protective injunctions, which may also be referred to as restraining orders or orders for protection, provide the person who is legitimately afraid of suffering a physical attack launched by another the protection of the court. The court can issue orders that are necessary to protect the individual from future harm.
Courts in Tallahassee ensure compliance with an injunction by using its authority to compel a person to perform an act, or otherwise to refrain from acting, in a particular manner. The failure to comply with an injunction is enforced by the court’s inherent authority to hold someone in contempt. However, in the case of a protective injunction, the state attorney has the discretion to issue charges against the person who allegedly violated the court’s order.
The court’s order for an injunction is heard in Tallahassee’s civil court. However, any alleged violation of the injunction will authorize the local law enforcement agency to issue criminal charges and then arrest the person. A conviction for violating an injunction could land the convicted offender in jail for up to one year, depending on the type of violation alleged, pay a large fine, and receive a period of probation. The probationary period could entail compulsory attendance in mental health counseling, anger management courses, and other terms designed to rehabilitate the violent offender. The offender must pay for any services ordered by the court; they are not free merely because the court ordered them.
A judge sitting in a Tallahassee court has the authority to issue injunctions for protection such as:
- Repeat violence injunctions;
- Sexual violence injunctions;
- Domestic violence injunctions;
- Stalking injunctions; and
- Dating violence injunctions.
Each category of an injunction will address the nature of the relationship between the parties, if any, and the type of harm alleged. The ruling judge will make the orders contained in the injunction broad enough to prevent future harm. The orders must be specific; otherwise, the person bound to comply with the order will not have the required notice mandated by due process.
Procedure to Petition the Court for an Injunction Against Repeat Violence in Tallahassee
The person wishing to obtain an injunction for protection must file a petition in the Leon County civil court located in Tallahassee. The person who is asking the court for protection is referred to as the petitioner. The petitioner will complete the court pleadings, referred to as a petition, and submit the paperwork to the court for review. The clerk’s office in the court will provide the pleadings.
A petition is a form approved for use by the Florida Supreme Court. The petitioner must complete every entry on the petition and sign it under the pains and penalties of perjury. Swearing that all of the facts supplied by the petitioner to complete the form are true. At this time, however, the process is only one-sided or ex parte. Accordingly, the person whom the petitioner wishes to restrain, called the respondent under Florida law, has no change defend against allegations at the initial stage of the proceedings.
The judge will review the petition once completed by the petitioner. At that time, the judge could rule that the petitioner supplied sufficient information to warrant a temporary injunction or temporary restraining order. The judge has the discretion not to issue a temporary restraining order; however, most judges issue temporary orders to ensure that the victim receives protection until the final hearing.
The final hearing must be conducted within fifteen days from when the judge issued the temporary restraining order. During the interim, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, or other law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over the respondent’s residence, must deliver a true copy of the court’s temporary order, along with a formal notice of the date and time the final hearing will be litigated. Failing to provide the respondent with notice of the order as well as the date and time of the final hearing violates the respondent’s due process rights.
Judges in Tallahassee often issue temporary injunctions to prevent the respondent from harming the alleged victim before the final hearing. The temporary injunction may contain specific orders such as stay away from the alleged victim, have no contact with the petitioner, refrain from abusing the petitioner, and surrender all firearms and ammunition to the sheriff’s department or law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over the respondent’s residence.
The fifteen-day window exists as much for the respondent as it does the petitioner. The respondent should use the fifteen-day waiting period to align himself or herself with a Tallahassee repeat violent offender and criminal defense lawyer for representation. Doing so will protect the respondent’s rights. Attempting to litigate the case without a lawyer with the necessary qualifications could irreparably forfeit the respondent’s rights and cause greater harm.
The constitutional rights protecting the respondent are not idle legal theories that have no application in court. The respondent has an absolute right against self-incrimination, at all times, but especially when defending against repeat violent injunctions. Assuming the petitioner truthfully explained the facts warranting the court to issue a temporary order, then the respondent could face criminal charges. The petitioner is under no obligation to file criminal charges in this matter. Notwithstanding, the respondent could lawfully invoke his or her rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in addition to the Florida State Constitution.
A savvy and experienced injunction and criminal defense lawyer will know how to construct a defense that convinces the judge to deny the petitioner’s request while preserving the respondent’s rights. Otherwise, the respondent might make a statement contrary to their best legal interests, which could be used as evidence against the respondent in a future criminal prosecution involving the same criminal conduct alleged in the petition.
Sometimes fifteen days is an insufficient amount of time to establish a victorious defense. Therefore, a highly-experienced and successful repeat violent injunction and criminal defense lawyer will move for a continuance of the final hearing date if doing so helps the respondent. Judges can grant a continuance for “good cause shown,” which essentially means that there is a valid reason to continue the final hearing, and the petitioner is not prejudiced in any way. All temporary orders will remain intact until the final hearing if the judge grants the respondent’s motion to continue.
Final Hearing on the Merits of a Petition for an Injunction to Prevent Repeat Violence
Establishing a solid defense strategy stems from an understanding of the relevant statutory provisions. Every person served with a temporary restraining order to prevent repeat violence must have at least a fundamental understanding of the relevant laws to facilitate a frank and meaningful discussion with his or her attorney.
Florida Statutes §784.046(1)(a) defines the term “violence.” Under §784.046(1)(a), violence means any act that includes any physical act that has the potential to cause physical harm to someone or could kill another. Examples of violent acts under Florida law are:
- Aggravated Assault;
- Aggravated Battery;
- Aggravated Stalking;
- Sexual Assault;
- Sexual Battery;
- False Imprisonment; or
- The commission of any other act or criminal offense that could result in the death or physically harm another person.
The phrase “repeat violence” is also a so-called “term of art.” Florida law characterizes repeat violence as at least two or more violent acts or incidents of stalking directed toward the petitioner or a member of the petitioner’s family. The repeat violent act must have occurred within the six-month timeframe before the petitioner filed the petition, according to §784.056(b) of the Florida Statutes.
The petitioner could only file the petition if he or she has standing, or the legal right, to file a petition. Florida law grants a person standing who is personally the victim of repeat violence or the parent or guardian of a minor child still residing in the same home as the petitioner. The petitioner does not have a legal requirement to allege a particular relationship with the respondent to qualify for the protection of a repeat violence injunction. The respondent could have no formal relationship with the petitioner or be a member of the petitioners’ family, a household member, spouse, friend, acquaintance, co-worker, employer or employee, or roommate. In contrast to at least one other category of Tallahassee injunctions, the petitioner has no obligation to assist law enforcement with any concurrent investigation into the allegations giving rise to the injunction.
The respondent could plot a defense strategy with a solid understanding of the law underpinning the petitioner’s request for a repeat violence injunction. The gravamen of the case is the truth of the factual allegations contained in the petition. Procedural defenses, like objecting to lack of standing, must never be waived. However, the respondent must focus on persuading the judge that the petitioner’s claims are wrong. Accordingly, the respondent could attack the credibility of the petitioner with evidence of lies, misstatements, exaggeration, or fantasies conjured by the petitioner.
Both litigants will have the opportunity to present evidence to the judge at the final hearing. Evidence could be testimony, but it also could include photos, documents, medical records, and transcripts of text messages, emails, or social media posts. Either party can offer testimony from other witnesses, if the judge allows, which might include an alibi defense. Every witness who testifies could be subject to cross-examination.
The judge will decide the case after all evidence has been received by the court. If the petitioner has satisfied the burden of proof and persuasion, then the judge will grant the injunction. If not, the judge must deny the petition, and the respondent will no longer be bound by the terms of the temporary restraining order if the judge ordered one initially.
Difficulties Living Under the Terms of an Injunction to Prevent Repeat Violence in Tallahassee
There are substantial consequences from living with restraints placed on you by the court. The judge’s order must be specific; vague orders cannot be enforced.
However, the court is highly likely to impose orders such as:
- Stay away from the petitioner and the petitioner’s family,
- Have no direct contact or indirect contact with the petitioner and the petitioner’s family,
- Do not abuse the petitioner or anyone in the petitioner’s family,
- Attend counseling at the respondent’s sole expense, and
- Surrender all firearms to the local law enforcement authority.
These provisions could be highly onerous. However, collateral consequences of living subject to an order for injunction exist as well. Injunctions to prevent repeat violence are matters of public record. Therefore, anyone who searches the background of the respondent would locate the injunction and the allegations supporting that injunction, leading to grave consequences.
Some of the unforeseen consequences of living restrained by order of the court are:
- Severely damaged reputation in the community,
- Loss of job,
- Loss of employment prospects,
- Loss of education or educational prospects,
- Loss of housing, and
- Denial of loans or mortgages based on a historical review of the respondent’s criminal record.
Extending, Modifying, or Terminating an Injunction Against Repeat Violence in Tallahassee
Injunctions preventing repeat violence are usually permanent court orders. In some instances, however, the judge might include a termination date in the order. The order will expire on the date specified unless the petitioner files a motion seeking an extension of the order within 30 days of the termination date. Failing to comply with the procedural requirements could result in the dismissal of the order. The respondent has the right to argue in opposition to the petitioner’s motion to extend the order. The respondent must secure representation from competent and qualified legal counsel instead of attempting to argue in opposition to the petitioner’s motion to extend personally.
Either litigant has the right to file a motion to modify the court’s order. The moving party must file their request along with the reasons supporting the party’s request in writing. The court will grant an oral argument on the motion if necessary. The respondent retains the same rights when arguing for or against a motion to modify. Therefore, the respondent must be represented by counsel.
Terminating the order before the expiration date or terminating a permanent order may be done by written motion. The motion should explain, in writing, why the court should dissolve the injunction. Grounds for the court to dissolve an injunction must be persuasive and guarantee the safety of the petitioner, such as the petitioner, moved out of state.
Musca Law Provides Aggressive Defense Against Injunctions for Repeat Violence in Tallahassee, Florida
Musca Law’s experienced, determined, and skillful counsel are but a phone call away. Call 888-484-5057 right now to speak with Musca Law’s Tallahassee Defense Lawyers today. Remember that petitions for injunction often accompany or are proceeded by criminal charges, and your very freedom hangs in the balance. We are available 24/7 to represent your invaluable legal interests and to plan a case-specific defense strategy for you.