Injunction Defense Lawyers in West Palm Beach, Florida
West Palm Beach Injunction Defense Overview
Injunctions for the protection against violence, also referred to in Florida as restraining orders, protective injunctions, or simply injunctions, enable an alleged victim, known as the petitioner, who is in fear of harm, to request the court’s protection. A West Palm Beach court has the discretion to approve an injunctive order issued against another individual, referred to as the respondent, in order to protect the petitioner from future harm.
Courts apply their contempt orders to influence offenders to comply with the injunction that has been issued against him or her. This means that a respondent must obey all of the terms of the court’s injunctive order or it will have him or her arrested and potentially sent to prison.
Circuit courts throughout the state of Florida handle thousands of injunction cases each year. While many cases are worthy of an injunction, there are also a number of matters involving a petitioner who is seeking to exact revenge or obtain leverage over another individual (this especially arises in family law proceedings involving child custody disputes).
The misuse of the legal system is a common occurrence in Florida and across the country in injunction cases. Not everyone harbors the notion that each person who comes before the court has a fair hearing. There are many people who go to court thinking that the truth will be proven however, they are often dead wrong. The problem is elevated when a person’s liberty is taken due to the strict terms of a protective injunction.
In particular, the judge who issues an injunction has the authority to take a respondent’s freedom away. In fact, if an injunction is approved, the respondent will face devastating consequences, including the prohibition from moving around freely, the inability to contact the petitioner (whether directly or indirectly such as through a third party), not being able to see one’s children, and a prohibition against having in one’s possession ammunition and firearms, which is a constitutionally protected right.
It is unquestionable that victims of violence have the right to be free from fear of harm. With this in mind, judges in West Palm Beach tend to favor the alleged victim rather than safeguarding the legal rights of the alleged offender. Notwithstanding, it is critical to have a skilled West Palm Beach Injunction and Criminal Defense attorney who can assist you in fighting for your legal rights, level the playing field, and develop the most aggressive defense strategy possible. When you contact Musca Law at 888-484-5057, you will have the chance to speak with one of our experienced West Palm Beach Injunction and Criminal Defense Attorneys who will evaluate and summarize your legal rights, interests, and options. Our team of legal advocates has over 150 collective years of experience handling injunction matters, which will offer you the benefit that only successful and reputable lawyers can provide you.
Categories of West Palm Beach Injunctions for Protection
Under Florida law, West Palm Beach judges are able to issue protective orders to prevent further harm exacted on the alleged victim. Each type of injunction in Florida requires a showing of a particular type of harm or a specific relationship between the petitioner and respondent. A West Palm Beach circuit court, if a valid showing is made, can issue an injunction for protection in favor of the petitioner.
Specifically, the Florida State Assembly passed statutes enabling courts to issue the following forms of injunctions:
- 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 of the above injunctions results in serious legal consequences. That is why it is imperative that you contact a skilled West Palm Beach Injunction and Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as you can. It is important to note that under certain circumstances, the petitioner may file more than one petition for an injunctive order of which depends upon the facts of his or her case.
Given the risks associated with having a protective order issued against a respondent, it is critical that he or she does not represent himself or herself, as they are held to the same standard as a skilled and experienced attorney. Call Musca Law now at 888-484-5057 to learn more about how we can safeguard your legal rights and fight aggressively to have the injunction denied.
Dating Violence Injunctions in West Palm Beach, Florida
Dating violence and domestic violence are often confused with one another. For instance, dating violence involves two people who were or who are currently in a romantic or intimate relationship. In order to obtain a dating violence injunction, the petitioner must state detailed facts that the parties were in the applicable relationship necessary for said injunction to be obtained. Keep in mind that even if the relationship no longer exists, the court looks back six months from the time that the petitioner submitted his or her petition to the court. Hence, if a petitioner was in a qualifying relationship with another person and broke up, he or she will still have the ability to obtain a dating violence injunction if the end of their relationship occurred less than six months before the petition was filed.
Even though the legal right to file a dating violence case is different than that of a domestic violence case, the types of crimes are nonetheless similar.
Domestic Violence Injunctions in West Palm Beach, Florida
Domestic violence injunctions involve acts of violence or threats of violence that occur between family or household members. Family members include those (i) who used to be married, (ii) who are currently married, and (iii) people related by blood, and (iv) hold themselves out as family members related by blood. Family members also include parents of a child or children, even they were never married and do not reside in the same dwelling. Household members are those who reside in the same home.
Stalking Injunctions in West Palm Beach, Florida
Stalking cases are prosecuted heavily in West Palm beach. Under Florida Statutes §784.048(2), it indicates that “stalking occurs when one person willfully or maliciously, follows some, harasses, or cyberstalks another without any legal justification.” Cyberstalking also has a certain definition under Florida law. Florida Statutes §784.048(1)(d) provides that “cyberstalking occurs when a person engages in 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 West Palm Beach, Florida
A West Palm Beach judge can issue an injunctive order in order to protect a petitioner from repeat acts of violence (meaning, two or more acts of violence). The petitioner must provide in detail the facts and circumstances giving rise to the violent acts; he or she cannot just simply state that the respondent is a violent individual. The court will allow the petitioner to move forward in his or her case if the most recent violent act happened within six months of the filing of the petition.
Sexual Violence Injunction in West Palm Beach, Florida
Sexual violence cases are prosecuted heavily in Florida. Sexual violence includes sexual assault, sexual battery, lewd and lascivious behavior, and any other sexually violent offense. In stalking injunction cases, the petitioner must cooperate with law enforcement’s investigation of the matter in order for him or her to obtain a sexual violence protective order from the court. However, the petitioner may apply for an injunction against sexual violence within 90 days of the offender’s release from jail.
The Procedure to Obtain a Protective Injunction in West Palm Beach
As noted above, the individual who seeks the injunction is known as the petitioner, and the one who may be subject to its terms is known as the respondent. The petitioner must fill out a court-approved form known as a petition for an injunction. This must be submitted to the clerk’s office. This form is used in every court throughout the state of Florida.
The petitioner cannot lie when filling out the petition. The petition is a sworn document, which means that the petitioner swears that the contents of the document are true and completely accurate. The petition requires the petitioner to provide detailed facts as to the name, address, telephone number, and location of the respondent. The petitioner must also provide detailed information in the petition to support a potential finding that an injunctive order is necessary.
Once the petition is filed, the clerk’s office delivers it to the presiding judge for his or her examination. The petitioner may request an ex parte hearing to determine whether a temporary restraining order is necessary. The judge has the sole discretion to approve or deny a temporary injunction based upon the facts presented on the face of the petition. During the hearing, only the petitioner (and his or her attorney, if applicable) will be present.
If a temporary restraining order is issued, it is typically valid for only fifteen days. During the fifteen-day time period, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office will serve the respondent with the petition, the temporary restraining order, and a notice indicating the time and date of the final hearing. Service of process is critical in safeguarding the constitutional rights of the respondent. Specifically, the respondent cannot be held responsible for violating an order that he or she never received. Therefore, the sheriff’s office will serve the respondent with all of the documentation necessary to protect the respondent’s due process rights under the United States and Florida Constitutions. However, if a respondent avoids service of process, he or she will be assumed to have constructive notice of the judge’s order. In this instance, if the respondent violates the court’s order, he or she can still be held legally responsible.
The attorney for the respondent has the right to request a continuance of the hearing date, which means that it is seeking to postpone the final hearing date. This provides the respondent with enough time to prepare a strong defense strategy.
At the final hearing, the judge will hear the petitioner’s testimony and possibly the testimony of the respondent (although this is not recommended in many cases since whatever he or she says can be used against him or her in a separate criminal proceeding). It is important to understand that the respondent has a Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself or herself. This means that the respondent cannot be forced to testify during the injunction hearing. Keep in mind that the respondent, through his or her attorney, may cross-examine the petitioner and any witnesses that take the stand. Both parties can submit evidence to the court such as medical evidence, documentation, and photographs. 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 to the case.
Through legal counsel, the respondent can avail himself or herself of a defense strategy that could convince the presiding judge that an injunction is unnecessary or unjust. Counsel could also make an argument that is similar in a criminal case such as self-defense, mistaken identify, the existence of an alibi, mutual combat, and unclean hands, to name a few. Additionally, the defense may also attempt to establish during the final hearing that the petitioner falsified his or her allegations in the petition because he or she has something to gain by having a protective order approved by the court.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the presiding judge will ascertain whether or not an injunction is warranted. In so doing, the judge must determine whether the evidence is credible whether the parties were truthful in presenting their respective cases, as well as assess the strengths or weaknesses of the petitioner’s case. If the judge denies the injunction, then any temporary restraining order that was effect during the fifteen day time period is dissolved and no longer applies to the case. If the judge decides to issue an injunction, then the respondent is bound by its terms and must fully comply thereto.
The Serious Repercussions of Losing an Injunction Case in Palm Beach County; Violating an Injunction
There are serious consequences if a respondent does not prevail in an injunction matter in West Palm Beach. While the terms of the injunction are individually tailored to each case, the court could order the respondent to have no further contact with the petitioner, the petitioner’s family members, and friends, to stay away from the petitioner, to seek mental health counseling, to have no further contact with the parties’ child or children, to move out of a shared residence, to surrender all ammunition and firearms to police, and to avoid certain areas where the petitioner frequencies, such a place of work, school, or house of worship. Moreover, the respondent could also face difficulties in finding gainful employment and housing, and may also be unable to obtain a bank loan. Moreover, respondent violates the injunction, he or she could be held in contempt of court and be sent to jail. The penalties increase with subsequent violations of the order.
Extending, Modifying, or Terminating a West Palm Beach Injunction for Protection
The presiding judge can require the injunction to be in effect permanently or can include an expiration date on the order. Accordingly, the petitioner has the right to file a motion to extend the order within 30 days before it is set to expire. The respondent may attend the hearing and be represented by an attorney to challenge said extension.
The parties can each seek a termination of the injunction by filing a motion explaining to the court why the injunction should be terminated. The party who moves to have the order terminated must explain to the court why the injunction no longer protects the petitioner or that the petitioner no longer requires protection.
The parties also may request that the court to modify the order, which is done through filing a motion to modify the order due to the existence of undue hardship that is unjust or due to changed circumstances.
Rely on Musca Law to Defend Your Legal Rights
Musca Law’s West Palm 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 West Palm Beach Injunction and Criminal Defense Lawyers prove themselves on fighting for individualized justice in your case.