Sexual Violence Injunction Defense Lawyers in Leon County, Florida
Victims of sexual assaults in Tallahassee, Florida, can ask a judge for additional protections from sexual violence. Although Florida law is quite clear that sexual assaults are violent and heinous crimes that must be severely punished, Florida’s legislature allowed victims to seek an injunction from the court for additional safeguards.
Judges in Leon County, Florida, have the authority to issue an injunction against sexual violence to protect those victims who come forward and report incidents of sexual violence. The injunction, if allowed by the judge, will order the person from whom the victim seeks the court’s protection to stay away, have no contact, surrender all firearms and ammunition, and refrain from abusing the victim.
Failing to follow the order of injunction will result in criminal charges. If convicted of violating an injunctive order of the court, the convicted offender could be sentenced to jail, ordered to pay a large fine, and will be placed on probation. The terms of the probation order could include counseling, testing, and any other order which helps guarantee the safety of the petitioner. The terms of probation are also designed to help the offender rehabilitate.
When a person comes forward claiming he or she was the victim of sexual violence in Tallahassee, the presumption is that the alleged victim is telling the truth. One would hope any person who makes such damaging allegations against another like claiming to be the victim of sexual assault could only be made if true. Unfortunately, people come forward and claim to be crime victims for many different reasons, even if they are not victims of a crime. Some people are looking for attention, while others are looking to exact revenge on the person who slighted them.
The individual who claims to be a victim of sexual assault will receive the full protection of the court as well as the state attorney’s office and any law enforcement officer assigned to investigate. The rights of the suspect play a diminished role during the investigation into an alleged sexual assault. Accordingly, the individual who learns that he or she is a suspect in a sexual assault must seek representation from a highly-skilled and aggressive sexual violence injunction and criminal defense attorney from Tallahassee, Florida, to ensure that his or her rights are fully protected.
People reflexively assume that an individual charged with sexual assault is automatically guilty. With the understanding that sexual assault charges are particularly heinous, the nature of the charges does not weaken the constitutional protections afforded to the accused. Indeed, the constitutional protections must be unwavering so that the accused is afforded a fair trial, and all processes due guaranteed by the United States Constitution as well as the state constitution of Florida. Consistent with those unyielding constitutional provisions, the prosecution always holds the burden of proof, and the alleged offender is presumed innocent. The rules do not change simply because the charges a person faces are unpopular or appear on their face to be gross and disgusting.
Defending against an injunction to prevent sexual violence is a profoundly serious legal matter. The person accused of sexual offenses must not try to represent himself or herself. Although every individual has the right to self-representation, the person could easily forfeit his or her valuable constitutional rights without knowing it. Additionally, a person defending against a sexual violence injunction in Tallahassee, Florida, has the right against self-incrimination, and therefore, should not speak for themselves, but should seek the representation of an aggressive defense attorney who can speak for him or her.
Musca Law’s clients charged with sexual assault claims or suspected of committing a sexual assault have benefitted from the firm’s 150 years of collective criminal trial experience. Allowing criminal defense lawyers with such extensive experience represent you if you are facing allegations concerning a sexual assault in Tallahassee, Florida, even if no charges have issued, could help you devise a strong defense designed to give you the best chance to defeat the allegations and preserve your life. Call Musca Law today at 888-484-5057 to schedule a confidential consultation with our sexual violence injunction and criminal defense attorneys. The criminal and injunction defense lawyers with Musca Law will provide you with the defense you deserve.
Categories of Injunctions Litigated in Tallahassee, Florida
Florida’s legislative assembly enacted laws that allow victims of crimes to come forward and ask the court for additional protection. Each category of injunction authorized by the Florida legislature reflects the seriousness of the alleged violence as well as takes into consideration specific relationships between the two parties embroiled in the litigation.
The five categories of injunctions authorized for use in Tallahassee, Florida, are:
- Sexual Violence injunctions;
- Stalking Violence injunctions;
- Repeat Violence injunctions;
- Dating Violence injunctions; and
- Domestic Violence injunctions.
Every one of these categories of injunctions is premised on allegations made by the person seeking protection that a crime was committed. Therefore, there exists the need to have representation by an attorney who has the experience defending criminal allegations as well as defending against injunctions. Injunctions for protection, also known as restraining orders or protective orders, are a civil remedy offered by the courts. However, a violation of the civil order will result in criminal prosecution. Therefore, injunctions to prevent violence are extremely important and must be taken seriously.
Filing a Petition in Tallahassee, Florida, for an Injunction to Prevent Sexual Violence
The person requesting an order from the court is known as the petitioner. The individual from whom the person asks the court for protection is identified as the respondent. The petitioner must complete the necessary pleadings and submit them to the clerk’s office for filing. The pleadings, referred to as a petition for injunctive relief, are available at the clerk’s office.
The petitioner has an obligation to complete the petition thoroughly and truthfully. The petitioner must sign the petition under the pains and penalties of perjury. That means the petitioner promises that all factual allegations he or she made in the petition are truthful and accurate. Filing a false petition could subject the petitioner to facing criminal charges. However, upon the initial filing of the petition, the personnel in the clerk’s office does not inquire into the truth of the matter’s asserted. They take the allegations on their face as truthful and submit the petition to the judge for review.
At that time, the judge will review the petition closely for compliance with Florida’s procedural requirements and statutory requirements. The judge has the authority to issue a temporary injunction, also known as a temporary restraining order, on an ex parte basis. The respondent has no right to object to the filing at this time.
Florida Statutes §784.06(c) sets forth the parties who have “standing,” or the legal right, to file a petition for an injunction seeking protection from sexual violence. The petitioner could be an adult victim of sexual violence or is an adult parent or guardian of a minor child who is the victim of sexual violence and is living with the parent or guardian in the family home. The judge must dismiss the petition for lack of standing if the wrong person files the case.
The judge must also review the petition to determine if one or two conditions precedent are met before allowing a temporary injunction. First, the petitioner must report the allegations of sexual abuse to the local law enforcement agency and cooperate with that agency in any subsequent investigation or prosecution brought by the state attorney. Secondly, the victim seeking an injunction against sexual violence could petition the court within 90 days before the expiration of the offender’s committed sentence or at any time once the offender’s sentence has expired.
The reviewing judge has the authority to issue a temporary restraining order to preserve the status quo until a final hearing could be heard. The judge can extend the temporary order for up to fifteen days before the court must hold the final hearing. Notwithstanding the fifteen-day interval, the respondent can ask the judge to delay the final hearing to allow him or her to prepare. The respondent must demonstrate to the court that he or she possesses “good cause” to continue the final hearing until another date. The judge will keep the temporary order in place if the motion to continue is allowed.
The Sheriff’s office or law enforcement department that has jurisdiction over the respondent’s residence must serve the respondent with notice of the filings, court orders, along with the formal notice of the date and time for the final hearing. The respondent must comply with all terms of the order upon service. The respondent must take this matter seriously. Failing to do so could lead to decades in prison. Therefore, you must contact the dedicated and successful sexual violence injunction and criminal defense lawyers from Musca Law immediately to protect your rights. The sooner you engage Musca Law, the sooner you could begin mounting a defense against allegations of sexual violence in Tallahassee, Florida.
The final hearing will resemble a trial, with the notable exception that no jury will preside over the matter. In this instance, there is no right to a trial by jury. Conversely, every person facing criminal charges has the absolute right to a trial by jury.
The petitioner always has a considerable burden of proof at the final hearing on the petition for an injunction. The petitioner, who could hire counsel, must testify and present evidence, if any, to support the allegations contained in the petition. In addition to testimony, evidence could take the form of documents, photos, copies of text messages, emails, social media communications, medical records, and any other evidence relevant to the petitioner’s claims.
The respondent can also counter with evidence as well. The respondent will have the right to cross-examine the petitioner, and any witness the petitioner calls to testify. A skilled and dynamic criminal defense attorney will know how to lock the petitioner into certain statements that might benefit the respondent if there is a criminal trial. It is nearly impossible to back away from statements made under oath at a later date. Presumably, all statements to which every witness testifies was made truthfully, and there should be no inconsistencies between the two. However, inconsistent statements are frequently made by witnesses who fumble with the truth or are trying to cover their tracks because they see flaws in their testimony. Thorough preparation will enable the respondent to cross-examine the petitioner and any witnesses called to testify vigorously.
The respondent must also determine whether testifying in defense of the allegations is a sound legal strategy. Every person accused of a crime has the right against self-incrimination. If the petition to prevent sexual violence gets to a final hearing stage, then the petitioner will have set out enough facts to warrant a court to believe that crime was committed. Therefore the respondent has the absolute right not to take the witness stand. Only a seasoned and successful injunction and criminal defense attorney has the capability of arguing the respondent’s point persuasively while protecting the respondents from saying something that could be used against him or her later in a criminal prosecution.
The judge must determine the credibility of every witness who testifies to ascertain the truth of the matter. The judge will issue an order to protect the victim against additional violence, provided that the victim or petitioner proved the case.
The judge must also apply the law to the facts of the case, as found by the hearing judge. Section 784.06 of the Florida Statutes indicates that the court in Tallahassee, Florida, can order an injunction against the respondent to prevent crimes of sexual violence such as a sexual battery, lewd and lascivious acts when the alleged victim is sixteen years of age or younger, or alleged perpetrator committed a lewd and lascivious act in the presence of someone aged sixteen or younger, the alleged perpetrator tried to lure a child, or engaged a child in a sexual act, or committed any forcible felony that includes the commission of a sexual act or the attempt to commit a sexual act.
The judge could order the responded to refrain from contacting, whether directly or indirectly, the victim or any witnesses, attend counseling, remain a certain distance away from the petitioner, and any witnesses, as well as the surrender of firearms and ammunition to the Sheriff’s Office. Additionally, the judge can order the Sheriff’s Office or local Police Department to aid the respondent and enforce the petition.
The judge has the authority to issue an injunction under the statute even if the prosecution dismissed the charge, never brought charges, or is prosecuting reduced charges.
Extending, Modifying, or Terminating an Injunction to Prevent Sexual Abuse in Tallahassee
The court will determine how long the order should last at the final hearing. The judge could include a termination date in the order. If so, then the order will terminate according to the date specified by the judge. If the judge does not include a termination date in the order, then the litigants must consider the order to be permanent.
A petitioner who wishes to extend an order preventing sexual violence in Tallahassee must file a written motion within 30 days of the expiration date specified in the order. Failing to do so could result in a dismissal of the injunction. The respondent has the absolute right to appear and contest any extension of the order.
Either or both parties can also file a motion to modify the terms of an injunction. The party seeking modification of the order must file a written motion and specify the reasons why the party wants modification. Again, the respondent has a right to be represented at this stage and every stage of the proceedings.
The respondent can file a motion to terminate or dissolve the injunction. The respondent must engage counsel to assist in this process because there are still valuable rights at stake. The respondent must demonstrate that there is no longer a need for the injunction to exist because of reasons that ensure the petitioner’s safety.
Take Every Precaution if You Receive Notice of an Injunction Pending Against You
If you receive notice that you are under investigation for allegedly committing a sexually motivated crime or are subject to an injunction to prevent sexual violence, you must contact a reputable, knowledgeable, and seasoned sexual violence injunction and criminal defense attorney. Failing to do so could seriously jeopardize your rights and put you at a disadvantage if the state attorney’s office seeks criminal charges against you. Moreover, you must not speak to anyone except your attorney about the allegations contained in the petition for an injunction to prevent sexual violence in Tallahassee. Otherwise, investigators could find out to whom you spoke about the case and use those statements you made against you. The only person who can be trusted at this point in time is your attorney.
Additionally, trying to resolve the matter personally without relying on the courts or counsel is fraught with danger. You must comply with all of the orders contained within the injunction set forth by the judge. Doing so is the only way you can protect your rights.
Musca Law: Protecting Our Client´s Freedom
Musca Law’s sexual violence injunction and criminal defense lawyers have the best interests of their clients at heart. You could rely on them to protect your rights and safeguard your freedom if you are facing allegations of sexual abuse. They understand that not every allegation of sexual violence is true. That is why Musca Law’s Tallahassee criminal defense attorneys use their considerable resources and knowledge to devise a case strategy that gives their clients the best chance of success. Musca Law is available immediately at 888-484-5057 to discuss your defenses and protect your rights. Make Musca Law your first call.