Injunction to Prevent Sexual Violence
People who believe themselves to be victims of sexual violence can ask a court for an injunction against sexual violence. There are certain requirements that must be met to file a petition for an injunction against sexual violence, and not all situations warrant the filing of such a petition. If someone files an injunction to prevent sexual violence against you, you should retain a Tampa injunction attorney right away. In some cases, these injunctions can turn into criminal charges or affect a family law matter. At Hanlon Law, we provide knowledgeable counsel to people accused of sexual violence.Injunctions to Prevent Sexual Violence
Under Florida Statute section 784.046, someone who is subject to sexual violence can ask the court for a protective injunction. Sexual violence includes any forcible felony in which a sexual act is attempted or committed. It also includes any single event of sexual battery, a lascivious or lewd act perpetrated against someone younger than 16 years of age, luring or enticing a child, or a child's sexual performance. It is irrelevant whether the state attorney filed criminal charges based on the incident, or whether these charges were reduced or dismissed.
Someone who is a victim of sexual violence or who is parenting or provides guardianship to a minor child living at home who was a victim of sexual violence is empowered to submit to the court a sworn petition for an injunction for protection against sexual violence on their own behalf or on behalf of the child when the sexual violence has been reported to the police and either:
- The person reporting is cooperating in criminal proceedings against the perpetrator, irrespective of whether the state attorney filed, dismissed, or reduced the criminal charges; or
- The perpetrator was sentenced to state prison for the sexual violence, and the imprisonment term expired or was supposed to expire within 90 days after the date of the petition's filing.
The petition is supposed to describe any incidents of sexual violence, including particular facts and circumstances that form the reason for the injunction being requested. When the injunction is related to a child who lives at home, the parent asking for the injunction for the minor needs to meet one of the following criteria.
The first alternative is that the parent asking for the injunction must have directly eye-witnessed or have direct physical evidence or affidavits from eyewitnesses that constitute the reason that relief is being requested when the other parent, stepparent, or legal guardian of the minor is the person against whom the injunction is sought. In other words, if you are also a parent, step-parent, or legal guardian of the minor who was allegedly a victim of sexual violence, and the other parent seeks an injunction against you, they must have witnessed the sexual violence or have other direct evidence of particular facts and circumstances showing sexual violence.
This is an important standard because it means that the other parent cannot simply obtain this injunction based on a hunch. An experienced attorney can present your side of the story to the court in a persuasive way.
The other alternative basis for an injunction to prevent sexual violence brought on behalf of a minor child in such a situation is when the person bringing the petition has reasonable cause to believe that the minor is a victim of repeat sexual violence to form the basis upon which relief is sought when the party against whom a protective injunction is sought is someone other than a legal guardian, stepparent, or parent of the child.
For example, under this section, a stepbrother of the minor child could be accused by the minor child's parent. Similarly, a teacher could be accused under this section. However, the minor child's parent who is bringing the petition must show "reasonable cause." Again, an experienced defense attorney can aim to show the court that there is no reasonable cause.Consult an Experienced Injunction Attorney in the Tampa Area
You should take seriously an injunction to prevent sexual violence in Florida. The outcome of this process can significantly affect many aspects of your life, making it critical to seek legal counsel. Our founder, Will Hanlon, is committed to protecting the rights of the accused and has represented criminal defendants in the Tampa area since 1994. Call Hanlon Law at 813-228-7095 or use our online form to set up an appointment. He also can assist people who need a domestic violence lawyer to help them fight those types of charges.