PROTECT YOURSELF: Domestic Violence Injunctions
Relationships are hard and a break up can be intense both emotionally and physically. Sometimes these intense emotions can lead to physical violence and emotional harm. In these situations, where one partner is abusing the other partner, injunctions are available to protect the abused partner.
Injunctions for Protection, sometimes referred to as restraining orders, allow for an individual to seek protection from Domestic, Dating, Repeat or Sexual Violence when they feel that they are in “immediate and present danger” of violence. Florida Statute 784.046(1)(a) defines “violence” to mean “any assault, aggravated assault, battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, or false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death, by a person against another person.” Florida Statute also says that “repeat violence” means two incidents of violence or stalking within a six-month period prior to filing a petition of injunction.
To obtain an Injunction for Protection, you MUST file a petition with the Clerk of Court in your home county. Your Petition must state facts and instances where violence has occurred and importantly, your petition must show why you are in fear of “immediate and present danger.” Once filed, a Judge will review your petition and based solely on the facts and instances presented in the petition, will determine whether it is necessary to issue a temporary order of protection to be in effect until the date of the later injunction hearing, usually scheduled 10-15 days after reviewing the initial petition. This temporary restraining order is only good for a limited time, usually one to two weeks at most. Even if a Judge decides not to issue a temporary restraining order, the Court will schedule a hearing.
When the Court informs you of the date of your hearing, it is necessary that you show up. Failing to show up for this hearing will likely result in the Judge denying your petition. At the injunction hearing, a Judge will hear testimony and review evidence given. Based on the testimony and relevant evidence, a Judge may decide to issue an Order Granting Injunction for Protection for a set period. You can only introduce evidence and testimony of events alleged in your Petition for Injunction. The Judge will ask questions and it can feel overwhelming. During these hearings, it is important to have someone in your corner; to have someone to speak for you.
If you find yourself in a situation where you feel like you need protection, it is helpful to have an attorney as your advocate. An attorney can draft your Petition for Injunction to ensure that all facts and instances are presented in persuasive manner. An attorney can participate and guide you through the Injunction hearing. An attorney can present your case to a Judge and increase the likelihood of a Judge finding your claims credible and your need for protection legitimate.
If you find yourself in a position where you need to seek protection against domestic violence, you are encouraged to seek the advice of an experienced attorney who can walk you through the process while being sympathetic to your needs. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Kate Mesic, P.A., are available to speak with you about your situation. Please call our office at (904) 619-2510 to schedule a consultation.