Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Lawyers in Tampa, Florida
It goes without saying that violent behavior, including assault, battery, stalking, and sexual crimes, are unlawful in the state of Florida. Even the threat of violent behavior can lead to criminal charges. In most cases, violent conduct that becomes known to law enforcement officials in Tampa will lead to criminal charges. However, in some cases, violent conduct may become the subject of a civil injunction, which often feels like a criminal matter even though an injunction itself does not result in jail time.
Injunctions are civil matters that often pertain to a variety of violent or potentially violent behavior. In Tampa, any person can pursue an injunction on behalf of him/herself and/or a minor child to prevent another individual from coming into close contact. The person pursuing an injunction must file a petition in court, and this person is called the “petitioner.” The person against whom an injunction is sought is called the “respondent.” When seeking an injunction, a petitioner can file one of five different types of injunctions, one of which is a “repeat violence” injunction. A repeat violence injunction is sought when a person has been the victim of more than one act of violence, one act of which happened within six (6) months from the time the petition is filed.
Many individuals pursuing repeat violence injunctions may rightfully feel as though their lives (or the lives of a minor child) are in danger. In such cases, seeking a repeat violence injunction can prevent imminent violent behavior that may lead to serious injury or death. However, it is not uncommon for an individual to seek such an injunction based on false or misleading information. Just like false or misleading accusations that can lead to criminal charges, false or misleading accusations that form the basis for an injunction can be detrimental to the accused person.
Any person facing a repeat violence injunction, or any other type of injunction, needs to consult with a qualified Tampa Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Lawyer right away, as the consequences can be disastrous for years to come. At Musca Law, our Tampa Repeat Violence Defense Lawyers routinely handle serious violent crimes as well as injunctions. The nationally-recognized trial attorneys at Musca Law are available immediately to assist clients in a time of great need. To speak with a member of our legal team, contact Musca Law 24/7 by calling (888) 484-5057.
Understanding the Different Types of Injunctions in Tampa, Florida
Anyone seeking an injunction in Tampa must file a petition in court using an approved form which asks the filer/petitioner to indicate (1) which type of injunction is being sought, and (2) what facts exist that substantiate the need for an injunction. The five types of injunctions available under Florida law include the following:
- Stalking Injunction;
- Domestic Violence Injunction;
- Sexual Violence Injunction;
- Dating Violence Injunction; and
- Repeat Violence Injunction.
Once a person files a petition in court seeking an injunction, the court will review the petition and decide whether to grant a temporary injunction or deny it. If granted, a hearing is scheduled fifteen (15) days later, at which time both the petitioner and respondent appear to argue the case. A respondent should be served immediately following the issuance of an injunction. The respondent must act quickly to seek legal counsel, as 15 days is not a lot of time to assess a situation and build a defense. As such, calling a qualified and reputable Tampa Injunction Defense Lawyer right away after being served with an injunction is critical to the likelihood of successfully defending the injunction in court.
Whether the injunction being sought in Tampa is for stalking, domestic violence, sexual violence, dating violence, or repeat violence, a respondent must retain a Tampa Injunction Defense Lawyer who can appear at the hearing and argue to the judge why an injunction should not continue permanently. While there is no way to guarantee a certain result, having a skilled attorney certainly increases the chances that a judge will see both sides of the situation and rule in favor of the respondent.
Tampa, Florida Repeat Violence Injunctions Laws
Under Florida Statute Section 784.046(1)(a), the definition of “violence” is “any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, or false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death, by a person or against any other person.” Additionally, Statute Section 784.056(b) defines “repeat violence” as “two incidents of violence or stalking committed by the respondent, one of which must have been within 6 months of the filing of the petition, which are directed against the petitioner or the petitioner’s immediate family member.”
The ramifications of being the subject of a repeat violence injunction are serious and long-lasting. Even if the respondent is not the subject of a criminal investigation or has been charged with a crime, the respondent will suffer criminal-like consequences from a Tampa repeat violence injunction. For example, the respondent may lose his or her right to possess firearms and ammunition. Moreover, the respondent may be required to undergo counseling and/or a mental health evaluation, among other requirements. Any violation of a repeat violence injunction is grounds for criminal charges. Therefore, a repeat violence injunction should be treated just as seriously as any criminal offense.
The Requirements for Filing a Repeat Violence Injunction in Tampa, Florida
Tampa injunction matters typically involve family or household members, such as spouses, ex-spouses, significant others, parents, and children. However, in some cases, injunctions may involve two co-workers, friends, neighbors, or even two complete strangers in the case of stalking or cyberstalking. Repeat violence injunctions can be sought, regardless of the nature of the relationship between the petitioner and the respondent. All the petitioner must prove when seeking a repeat violence injunction in Tampa is that the respondent committed two acts of violence, one of which took place within six (6) months prior to the date the petition for the injunction was filed.
Judges in Tampa are more likely to be cautious when deciding whether to grant or deny a petition seeking a repeat violence injunction on a temporary basis. At the time the petition is filed, a petitioner does not necessarily need to produce a stack of evidence (although such evidence would certainly help a petitioner’s case). The hearing regarding a repeat violence injunction is the time when the judge will look deeply into the evidence.
Because the health and safety of Tampa residents are paramount, judges often choose to grant repeat violence injunctions, giving petitioners the benefit of the doubt. While such a decision can be harmful to an innocent respondent (as civil injunctions are matters of public record), judges weigh the costs and benefits, ultimately deciding that a person’s safety should be a priority over an innocent person’s tarnished reputation. This is not to say that Tampa judges will always grant repeat violence injunctions, as numerous petitions are filed that are based on false accusations. As such, judges will want petitioners to bring enough evidence to show that, more likely than not, the petitioner will be at risk unless a repeat violence injunction is issued and a hearing to decide whether the injunction should be permanent is scheduled.
The Repeat Violence Injunction Hearing in Tampa, Florida
If a Tampa judge grants a temporary repeat violence injunction, the respondent will have a chance to refute and/or explain the allegations supporting the petition for repeat violence injunction. A respondent’s attorney can present any evidence that shows the allegations underlying the petition may be false, misleading, or that they simply do not meet the requirements under Florida law to warrant a repeat violence injunction. Evidence may include text messages, emails, letters/notes, diary/journal entries, voicemails, social media postings, social media messaging, a petitioner’s prior criminal history, among others.
Facing a Permanent Repeat Violence Injunction in Tampa, Florida
If a respondent loses at the injunction hearing, and the judge decides to issue a permanent repeat violence injunction – which would be a worst-case-scenario situation – the respondent will suffer a host of negative consequences. Depending on the nature of the injunction matter, a Tampa judge can shape the order to include specific criteria, such as, among others, a requirement to undergo a mental health evaluation and/or seek counseling (at the respondent’s expense). The following consequences are additional examples of what a respondent faces if a judge issues a repeat violence injunction:
- The requirement to stay away from the petitioner within a certain vicinity;
- The risk of facing criminal consequences if any portion of the repeat violence injunction is violated;
- The stigma of being considered a violent person even if a respondent has never faced any criminal charges for violent crimes;
- The loss of some rights to possess firearms and ammunition; and
- The knowledge that repeat violence injunctions in Tampa are matters of public record.
The strict confines of a Tampa repeat violence injunction can make a respondent feel as though all freedom has been lost. In the public’s eye, the respondent is a dangerous person, but the respondent has not fully had the opportunity to defend himself/herself beyond a civil court matter. Because the stakes are high when facing a repeat violence injunction in Tampa, respondents must understand that time is of the essence and that a prompt search for the right Tampa Repeat Violence Injunction Defense Lawyer is paramount to protecting their legal rights in court.
How to Terminate or Modify a Repeat Violence Injunction in Hillsborough County, Florida
Repeat violence injunctions in Tampa may or may not have expiration dates. However, either a petitioner and/or a respondent can seek to have a repeat violence injunction terminated or modified. When doing so, a judge will review a motion filed by either the petitioner or the respondent, or both jointly, and determine whether grounds exist to terminate or modify the repeat violence injunction as requested.
The reasons why a party may wish to terminate or modify a repeat violence injunction in Tampa depend on a variety of factors, such as the nature of the relationship between the parties. Spouses, ex-spouses, or blood-relatives may wish to make amends, or perhaps one party is moving out of the city or state and believes the injunction is no longer relevant. Whatever the reason may be for seeking termination or modification of a repeat violence injunction in Tampa, both parties will have an opportunity to present their case, either supporting or opposing a motion to terminate or modify the injunction.
Seeking to Extend the Duration of a Repeat Violence Injunction in Tampa, Florida
If a repeat violence injunction in Tampa has an expiration date, a petitioner wishing to extend the duration of the injunction must seek the court’s relief in doing so. The process for seeking to extend a repeat violence injunction in Tampa is similar to the process for seeking termination or modification of the injunction. The petitioner must file a motion seeking to extend a repeat violence injunction in Tampa before the injunction expires. If the petitioner does not meet this deadline, a judge will likely deny the motion, and a petitioner would need to file a new petition seeking an injunction. The judge will review a petitioner’s arguments and evidence to determine whether grounds exist to extend the duration of a repeat violence injunction in Tampa.
Successfully Defending Against a Repeat Violence Injunction in Tampa, Florida
All legal matters can be challenging and stressful but having the best attorney for the job can make the process much less daunting. However, when choosing an attorney, many individuals may not realize just how important it is to find an attorney who specializes in criminal law and injunction matters. Even with a very good attorney, a Tampa judge may rule against a respondent in a repeat violence injunction matter. But, the odds of successfully defending against a repeat violence injunction in Tampa substantially increase when respondents are represented by an attorney not only with the right experience, but also with a reputation that is respected by the legal community, including from fellow attorneys and judges.
The right attorney will thoroughly investigate a petitioner’s allegations to determine their truthfulness and whether the allegations, if true, fit the requirements necessary to obtain a repeat violence injunction in Tampa. The right attorney will also have a thorough understanding of the crimes and conduct being alleged in the petition seeking the repeat violence injunction. When the consequences of a repeat violence injunction are severe, a qualified attorney will understand what is at stake, and what steps should be taken to convince a judge that an injunction should not be entered. The right attorney will also have a track record of success in helping respondents fight repeat violence injunctions in Tampa. Prior results are a strong indicator of future success when addressing the same type of legal matter.
The Risks of Defending Yourself Against a Repeat Violence Injunction in Tampa, Florida
All individuals have the right to represent themselves in court, whether the matter is civil or criminal in nature. Some matters can be easily handled without an attorney, such as pursuing a claim in a small claim’s court. However, criminal matters and civil injunctions are far too serious to risk losing by representing yourself. Even if you are an attorney facing a repeat violence injunction in Tampa, you should still allow an attorney who handles such matters regularly to represent you. While representing yourself would certainly cut down on expenses, the consequences of facing a repeat violence injunction could be much costlier.
Additionally, Tampa Repeat Violence Injunction Lawyers have the resources that respondents may not have, such as knowledge of the specific law at issue, the experience, the manpower, the funds, and knowledge of how judges behave. Such resources are immensely helpful when seeking to successfully defend against a repeat violence injunction in Tampa. Being familiar with a courtroom, a judge, and opposing counsel (if a petitioner has an attorney), as well as other attorneys in the Tampa area, are all attributes that contribute to a successful defense.
Knowing what to expect from a judge can help shape a respondent’s defense. The bottom line is that there may be a time and place to represent yourself in court for a minor or minuscule matter (such as a traffic ticket), but serious matters that have harsh consequences should never be dealt with alone.
Contact the Tampa, Florida Repeat Violence Injunction Lawyers of Musca Law Today
Facing a repeat violence injunction in Tampa is a very serious matter. Therefore, if you have found yourself in this situation, you must act fast to seek the advice and guidance of a superior Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyer. Musca Law has been serving Florida residents for decades, providing them with outstanding legal representation for all criminal matters as well as civil injunction matters. Our lawyers serve not only the Tampa area but all other portions of the state. We also represent clients from outside of Florida who may be facing criminal charges or an injunction within this state. To find out how the Tampa Repeat Violence Defense Lawyers of Musca Law can help you, contact our office today by calling (888) 484-5057.