Domestic Violence Injunctions
Injunctions for Protection Against Domestic Violence in Florida
Florida law clearly specifies the reasons they will consider ordering a Protection Against Domestic Violence. These state statutes clearly and carefully govern what judges may or may not do. Some things are left to a judge’s discretion and other matters are not.
In most cases, Injunctions for Protection are put in place to protect women (or men) who are afraid of a violent partner, but this is not always the case. Sometimes persons are afraid of stalkers who won’t leave them alone. Some parents or other relatives may be in fear of an irrational person and are afraid for their lives.
The process of applying for an injunction does not require a lawyer, and is designed for anyone to complete the petition for injunction at your local court house.
There are two types of protection that a judge can grant, temporary and final. The Judge will decide which type is appropriate for an individual case
Temporary Injunctions are also known as ‘ex parte,’ Latin for "from (by or for) [the/a] party." This kind of decision allows a judge in the greater St. Petersburg area to grant the injunction without everyone involved being present. Normally the individual seeking the injunction will go the court house and complete form requsting the injunction for protection. A judge on duty that day will review the petition and decide if a temporary injunction should be issued, without takikng testimony, and will base his decision solely on what is written in the petition.
A Temporary Injunction is important if one party is in fear for their safety. Because of this extraordinary step of being ordered to remain away from a person and certain areas without the right of representation or telling their side of the story, these orders are temporary. They are generally permitted to last no longer than 15 days.
This type of order can help the a victim of domestic violence time to secure other living or work arrangements in peace. The person seeking the injunction does not need to take the stand and testify. For this reason, it is critical for the petition for a Temporary Injunction to throughly state sufficient facts for the judge to consider. The temporary order takes effect as soon as the judge signs it. A hearing will be set, known as a "Return hearing" normally within 15 days, at which time the parties will appear before the court and present live testimony for the court to determine whether to make the temporary injunction permanent.
Before a final hearing may take place, the respondent (person you are seeking protection from) must be served with the petition, and a return of service filed with the Court. Normally the Sheriff will serve the respondent.
A return hearing will take place within 15 days so long as the respondent has been served. If the respondent is not served in time for the final hearing, the court will simply continue the temporary injunction until the respondent is served. A the return hearing, a final Injunction may be ordered and may give the aggrieved party a longer period of protection.
The final orders usually last for some set period, such as six months, a year, or may be indefinite (permanent). The return hearing is an adversarial (contested) hearing before a Circuit Court Judge. At this hearing you have a right to be represented by a lawyer, and the Court will require all parties to comply with the Florida Rules of court, Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, and Florida Rules of Evidence. Having an experienced lawyer with you at the return hearing my be of benefit to you when appearing in court.
Either party to an injunction may petition the court to modify, or end it, at any time after the court has issued a final injunction. At a modification hearing the court will need to be presented with credible testimony and evidence as to why the injunction should be modified or terminated. It may be a benefit to you to have an experienced family law attoreny with you at a modification hearing.
Consult with a family law attorney immediately if you are in fear. There are steps the law can take to help protect you. If you are concerned for your safety due to the threat of physical harm from someone, call Scott and Fenderson today to discuss your options.