Injunction Defense Lawyers in Vero Beach, Florida
An Overview of Florida Injunction Laws
Injunctions for protection against violence, which are also known as restraining orders or protective injunctions, allow people who are in fear of becoming a victim of a violent act the opportunity to ask the court for additional safety. The Vero Beach court has the authority to issue injunctions designed to protect the person who claims to be in fear.
Courts use their contempt powers to coerce compliance. Courts coerce compliance with the threat of violence: obey the order of the court, or the court will order law enforcement officers to arrest and jail the person who does not comply.
Circuit Courts in Florida hear thousands of petitions for injunctive relief annually. To be sure, too many people are the victims of violence and need additional protection. Notwithstanding, some people abuse the system and use the threat of injunctions for protection to exact revenge, hurt, or get leverage over another person. Misuse and abuse of the system erode the confidence people who turn to the court for justice and mercy have in court rulings. Not everyone harbors the notion that every person who comes before a court has a fair hearing. Too many people have stood before a judge with the expectation that the truth will be the deciding factor, only to be disappointed. The problem is magnified when a person’s liberty is taken away.
The judge who issues an injunction to prevent violence takes away a person’s unfettered freedom. A person’s right to move about freely, to talk to whomever he or she wants, to raise a child, to work in certain locations, to live in certain places, or even to possess a firearm for personal protection, all of which are liberties recognized by the U.S. and Florida Constitutions, are limited when a judge issues a restraining order. Of course, every person has the right to be free to live their lives without being in fear of violence. Judges seem to favor the protection of the person who says she or he is a victim rather than protecting the rights of the individual accused of committing a crime. The person who commits a crime is presumed innocent. However, judges allow the presumption of innocence to decay in favor of impinging on a person’s rights without the benefit of a jury verdict.
The playing field can be leveled if you have the right lawyers working for you. Only an experienced, skilled, and knowledgeable Vero Beach injunction and criminal defense lawyer who is dedicated to preserving your rights and uphold the notion that a person is innocent until proven guilty can turn the tide in your favor and give you a fair chance to have your side of the story told.
When you contact Musca Law at 888-484-5057 to speak with our Vero Beach injunction and criminal defense lawyers, you are giving yourself the best opportunity to defeat the allegations of violence made against you. No one could precisely predict how a case will turn out, but when lawyers who have over 150 collective years of experience analyze your case, you will have the benefit of the foresight that only successful and reputable lawyers can provide you. Do not wait and see what could happen with your case. There is way too much riding on the outcome of the petition to be nonchalant. Before you know it, you could be living under the thumb of the court for the remainder of your life if you do not act swiftly.
Categories of Vero Beach Injunctions for Protection
Florida law allows judges in Vero Beach to issue orders for the protection of people who seek refuge in the court. Each category of injunction requires either a specific relationship or a specific form of harm to be alleged.
A judge in the Vero Beach circuit court receives the authority from Florida statutes to issue injunctions for protection. The Florida state assembly passed laws enabling courts to issue injunctions for:
- Prevention of Domestic Violence, §741.30 of the Florida Statutes,
- Prevention of Stalking, §784.0485 of the Florida Statutes,
- Prevention of Dating Violence, §784.046 of the Florida Statutes,
- Prevention of Sexual Violence, §784.046 of the Florida Statutes, and
- Prevention of Repeat Violence, §784.046 of the Florida Statutes.
Each type of injunction carries with it the potential to lose your freedom unless you consult an aggressive and accomplished injunction defense and criminal defense lawyer from Vero Beach.
On some occasions, the petitioner might qualify for more than one injunction. The court will not hold the unrepresented petitioner to the same standard as a practicing lawyer. Public policy in Florida demands the victims of violent crime receive the protection they need. A petition is simply a form that allows the petitioner to plainly ask the court for help while putting the respondent on notice of the allegations made by the petitioner with sufficient detail so that the respondent understands that of which he or she stands accused.
Dating Violence Injunctions in Vero Beach, Florida
Dating violence and domestic violence are often confused with each other. Dating violence occurs between two people who are or were in a romantic or intimate relationship of some lasting duration. To qualify for a Vero Beach dating violence injunction, the petitioner must prove the parties were in a substantial relationship, even if the relationship has now ended. The court looks back six months from the date of the petitioner filed the petition for a dating injunction in Vero Beach to determine the nature of the relationship between the parties. Even though dating violence injunctions and domestic violence injunctions have different requirements for “standing,” that is the legal right to file a case, the type of crimes alleged or threatened will be similar.
Domestic Violence Injunctions in Vero Beach, Florida
Domestic violence injunctions involve acts or threats of violence that occur between family members or household members. Family members are people who are married, were married, hold themselves out as a family while living together, or once lived together, people related by blood or marriage, all who live in the same residential unit. Family member also encompasses people who have a child together, even if the parents of that child never lived together in the same residence.
Stalking Injunctions in Vero Beach, Florida
Stalking is an unnerving and upsetting criminal offense. Florida Statutes §784.048(2) indicates that stalking occurs when one person willfully or maliciously, follows some, harasses, or cyberstalks another without any legal justification. Cyberstalking also has a particular definition under Florida law. Florida Statutes §784.048(1)(d) indicates that cyberstalking occurs when a person engages a course of conduct designed to communicate, individually or through a third-party words, pictures, language, or images through any medium of electronic communication, including but not limited to text messages, social media posts, or emails directed at another. Cyberstalking also occurs when another unlawfully accesses or attempts to access any online or internet-based personal accounts connected to a person without permission from that person and which causes the victim substantial emotional distress.
Repeat Violence Injunctions in Vero Beach, Florida
A Vero Beach judge can order an injunction to prevent repeat violence if the petitioner alleges that the respondent committed at least two acts of violence directed toward the petitioner or the petitioner’s family members. The petitioner must allege specific acts of violence instead of relying upon a conclusory statement that a respondent is a violent person. The court will allow the petitioner to proceed if the most recent act of violence happened within six months of the petition.
Sexual Violence Injunction in Vero Beach, Florida
Sexual violence under Florida law pertains to sexual assault, sexual battery, lewd and lascivious conduct, or any other sexually violent crime. The petitioner must cooperate with the law enforcement investigation to obtain the protection of the court. There is no requirement that the respondent must be convicted or even charged for the judge to order an injunction. However, the petitioner has the option of applying for an injunction against sexual violence within 90 days of the perpetrator’s release from prison.
The Procedure to Obtain a Protective Injunction in Indian River County
The person who presents to the court asking for a restraining order is the petitioner. The petitioner completes a form at the clerk’s office to submit to the court. The form is referred to as a petition for an injunction. The form used in Vero Beach is a unified form used in every court in Florida.
The petitioner must fill out the petition fully and honestly. The petitioner must sign the document under the pains and penalties of perjury, thereby swearing that the contents of the pleading are true and accurate. The petition calls on the petitioner to supply information such as the name, address, telephone number, and possible location of the person from whom protection is sought. The person from whom protection is sought is called the respondent.
The petitioner must also explain why he or she needs the protection of the court. The pleadings ask the petitioner to indicate the factual support for the request. The exact pleading filed will depend on the specific allegations made, but all forms are essentially the same.
The pleadings contain “boilerplate” language that essentially repeats the statutory language verbatim and asks the petitioner to check the appropriate box. The petitioner does not need to go into a thorough explanation of the facts and circumstances that bring the petitioner to the court. Rather, the forms are simplified and contain language that is easy to understand so that everyone who needs the assistance of the court has access to it.
Once filed, the clerk’s office must bring the petition to the sitting judge for examination. The petitioner has the option of requesting an ex parte hearing to determine if the petitioner is in an immediate threat of harm or danger from the respondent requiring the judge to issue a term parry injunction, which is also known as a temporary restraining order. An ex parte hearing is a hearing in which only one side is present. The judge is constrained to look at the pleadings and cannot look outside of the pleadings for evidence to justify allowing a temporary restraining order. The judge can deny the request for a temporary restraining order.
A temporary restraining order is only valid for fifteen days. The court must hold a final hearing on or before the fifteenth day to adjudicate the merits of the petition. The fifteen-day interval allows the sheriff’s office or police department with jurisdiction over the place where the respondent may be found to serve the respondent with the pleadings along with any temporary restraining orders announced by the judge.
Service of process is vital to preserving the due process rights of the respondent. Under the U.S. and Florida Constitutions, the respondent cannot be held liable for violating court orders the respondent never received. Therefore, the sheriff’s office or local law enforcement agency must serve the respondent with all of the pleadings, notices, and orders generated by the court. Otherwise, the respondent is not liable for failing to abide by orders of which the respondent had no knowledge. Conversely, willfully avoiding service of process might allow a judge to rule that the respondent received “constructive notice.” In that instance, the respondent will be held to answer for any violation of the temporary restraining order.
The fifteen-day continuance period also allows the respondent to locate and consult competent counsel. Not every lawyer is fit to represent a person facing an injunction for protection. Theoretically, any attorney who passed the Florida bar could represent the respondent. However, choosing a Vero Beach attorney who understands the interaction between an injunction for protection as well as the possibility that the respondent could be charged with a crime will better enable the respondent to formulate a defense to the petition for injunctive relief and any criminal charges that might arise. The petitioner has no obligation to cooperate with police to obtain an injunction for protection except when applying for protection against sexual violence.
At the final hearing, the presiding justice will listen to the testimony of the petitioner, and possibly the respondent. It is critical to understand that the respondent has a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and, therefore, cannot be compelled to testify. The respondent, through counsel, may cross-examine the witnesses who testify. Either party can admit documentary, photographic, or medical evidence at the hearing as well. Common exhibits admitted at a final hearing for an injunction are photos, emails, text messages, social media posts, social media messages, medical records, and any other physical evidence the judge deems relevant and material.
Through counsel, the respondent could argue complementary defenses that convince a judge that the injunction is unnecessary or unjust. Counsel could make similar arguments at the conclusion of a criminal trial such as self-defense, mistaken identity, alibi, mutual combat, unclean hands, or another defense. Additionally, the defense could show that the petitioner has a motive to lie about the facts of the case because the person has a bias toward the respondent or the petitioner has something to gain by obtaining an injunction for protection against the respondent. Additionally, either party could ask for a continuance of the final hearing for good cause. Sometimes the best strategy to employ is one which gives the petitioner time to cool off and perhaps have second thoughts about pursuing an injunction. All temporary orders entered will remain in effect.
The judge will rule on the petition after the final hearing. The court must determine which party was telling the truth and assess the relative strength of the petitioner’s case. The court is fully within its discretion to deny the petition. If the judge denies the petition, then any temporary restraining orders issued by the court will be dissolved.
The Harsh Consequences of Losing an Injunction
There are severe consequences associated with losing an injunction for protection in Vero Beach, Florida. Depending on the nature of the injunction issued, the court could order the respondent to stay away from the petitioner, have no contact with the petitioner or the petitioner’s family, enter batterers’ counseling, substance abuse counseling, have no contact with the party’s children, move out of the family home, avoid certain locations, and surrender all firearms and ammunition to the local law enforcement authorities.
There are consequences of living subject to a restraining order, which people sometimes do not realize exist until they are saddled with one. Being subject to an injunction for protection is a public record. Therefore, any time a background check is run on the respondent, the injunction will be included in the person’s history. The respondent could lose out on opportunities such as finding a new job, a new home, getting a mortgage, engaging in educational opportunities, or finding a residence because the existence of an injunction to prevent violence invites the inference the respondent is an evil and violent person who cannot be trusted.
You can avoid the harsh and unforeseen consequences of an injunction to prevent violence by consulting Musca Law’s Vero Beach injunction defense and criminal defense attorneys.
Extending, Modifying, or Terminating a Vero Beach Injunction for Protection
The judge can order the injunction to be permanent or can enter an expiration date on the order. The petitioner must file a motion within 30 days of the expiration date to schedule a hearing to extend the order. The respondent has the right to appear at the extension hearing and to have counsel represent him or her. The respondent continues to have valuable rights that require protection at an extension hearing.
Either party could move the court to terminate the injunction as well. Either party can file a motion explaining to the court why the injunction should be terminated. The court could grant a hearing on the motion or rule on the pleadings. The moving party must explain to the court why the injunction no longer protects the petitioner or that the petitioner no longer requires protection.
The respondent and the petitioner have the right to ask the court to modify the order as well. The parties could file a motion and ask the judge to modify the order because of changed circumstances, or the order causes an undue hardship that is unjust.
Rely on Musca Law to Defend Your Rights
Musca Law’s Vero Beach criminal defense attorneys understand that sometimes relationships deteriorate, and people become jaded, frustrated, or vindictive. The courts are not to be used to settle personal scores, but the sheer volume of cases judges need to hear leads to complacency from the bench. Do not allow your case to be ushered aside and lumped in with other cases. Call Musca Law today at 888-484-5057 to pursue a vigorous defense against an injunction for protection as well as any criminal charges that arise. Do not allow your case to be lumped in with all of the others. Musca Law’s injunction and criminal defense lawyers prove themselves on fighting for individualized justice in your case.