Domestic Violence Injunction Process

Tampa Attorney Fighting for the Rights of the Criminally Accused

An injunction is a court order that stops one person from taking specified actions. A domestic violence injunction is usually used to prohibit a spouse or family member who has perpetrated or has been accused of perpetrating domestic violence from taking specific actions against an alleged victim of domestic violence. The court is empowered to enforce the order if the alleged perpetrator violates it. Violating a protective injunction can result in further criminal charges, and it could also affect family law matters. If you have been accused of domestic violence and are concerned about the domestic violence injunction process, Tampa domestic violence lawyer Will Hanlon at Hanlon Law may be able to address your questions and provide knowledgeable representation.

The Domestic Violence Injunction Process

Florida statutes sections 741.2902 and 741.30 address domestic violence and injunctions for protection against domestic violence. Specifically, anyone who has been a victim of domestic violence or has a reasonable basis to believe that they are in imminent danger of becoming a domestic violence victim has standing in court to file a sworn petition to obtain an injunction for protection against domestic violence.

Domestic violence is any criminal offense that results in physical harm or death to a family or household member when the person who allegedly perpetrated it is another family or household member (or a person in a dating relationship). It can include assault, battery, aggravated assault or battery, sexual assault or battery, rape, stalking or aggravated stalking, kidnapping, or false imprisonment.

A reasonable basis to believe that one is imminently going to be a victim of domestic violence can be shown by the victim pointing to past episodes of violence, threats, weapons use, harassment or stalking, attempts to harm, intentional injuries or death to a family pet, physical restraints placed on the victim, and more. However, people who petition for these injunctions may not tell the whole story to the court. It is important to have somebody on your side who understands your version of what happened and any mitigating factors.

Any family or household member can ask for a domestic violence injunction, and nobody is prevented from getting an injunction based on not being the spouse of the alleged perpetrator of the violence. A person who believes that they are a victim can seek out this injunction even if there is no formal crime charged, but if a charge is pending, the victim is supposed to state that in the petition. An alleged victim's right to petition for an injunction is not affected adversely by their leaving home to avoid the domestic battery or other domestic violence.

Under section 741.2902, a court faced with a first appearance in a domestic violence case is supposed to consider the alleged victim's safety, the safety of the victim's children, and the safety of anyone else who might be endangered by the defendant’s release. This means that the court is supposed to be particularly careful about releasing the defendant. An injunction for protection against domestic violence can be issued.

In issuing the injunction, the court is supposed to recognize that the alleged victim's safety could require the defendant to be immediately removed from a shared home and that there may be an essential danger in permitting the defendant to have occasional or partial access to the shared home. The court is supposed to make sure that both of the people involved clearly understand the injunction's terms, the potential penalties for noncompliance, and the fact that they cannot modify the injunction's terms through a conversation, by writing, or through an invitation by the alleged victim. The court is also supposed to make sure that both people know their legal rights related to visitation, support, getting their belongings, counseling, and modifying or enforcing the injunction.

Other potential areas of concern are temporary child support, supervised or withheld visitation, and enforcement of the injunction through civil or criminal contempt proceedings. The court may require you to complete a batterers' intervention program that meets certain requirements.

An alleged victim of domestic violence does not automatically get an injunction. However, your chances of defeating a request for an injunction are greater if you have the help of a knowledgeable attorney. In some cases, the victim may be vindictive or trying to gain the upper hand in a custody dispute. It is important to retain a skillful attorney so that you understand your options and put together a solid defense.

Consult a Skillful Injunction Attorney in the Tampa Area

You should take the domestic violence injunction process seriously. Early intervention by a skillful criminal defense attorney with a strong reputation may change the situation for the better. The outcome of this process can significantly affect your life. Our founder, injunction lawyer Will Hanlon, is committed to protecting the rights of the accused and has represented criminal defendants in Tampa and beyond since 1994. Call Hanlon Law at 813-228-7095 or use our online form to set up an appointment.