If you have just been served with a Temporary Order and Petition for Protective Order from Domestic Violence or Repeat Violence in the Tampa Bay area, including Tampa in Hillsborough County, Clearwater or St. Petersburg, in Pinellas County, or Dade City or New Port Richey in Pasco County, Florida, you probably have a lot of questions.
- First, read the paperwork carefully.
- Second, be sure to follow the letter and spirit of the order by not contacting the petitioner either directly or indirectly. No contact means no contact of any kind.
- Finally, educate yourself about your rights and how this process works before your return hearing on the petition in Tampa or Plant City in Hillsborough County, St. Petersburg in Pinellas County or New Port Richey or Dade City in Pasco County, Florida.
Injunctions for Protection - A Serious Remedy
A protective order against domestic violence or repeat violence is a drastic remedy that should be reserved for only the most serious cases. The consequences for the petitioner and the entire family can often be devastating and last a lifetime. An attorney can take action to protect your rights to make sure that the final result is just and fair for all individuals involved.
Often the accusations made by the petitioner are false or exaggerated. Read more about protecting your rights during a hearing on domestic violence or repeat violence injunction hearing.
Avoid a Hearing by Ambush
In many ways, the hearing on the petition for protection from domestic violence or repeat violence is an emergency hearing. Often the hearing is schedule less than two weeks after the petitioner files for the temporary protective order. By the time the respondent is served with paperwork, the respondent may have less than a week to prepare. Often finding an attorney within that time period is nearly impossible. Many describe the process as "hearing by ambush."
Protect Your Rights to a Fair Hearing and a Just Result
For attorneys that represent respondents at hearings on the petition for protection, several important procedural rights apply that make the hearing much more fair.
First the respondent can request a continuance to have additional time to prepare for the hearing in order to do the following:
- Subpoena the Petitioner to provide sworn testify during a deposition in which the Respondent's attorney can ask questions to find out more about whether the allegations are false or exaggerated;
- Order a transcript of that testimony which can be typed up and used to impeach the petitioner if the petitioner later offers testimony that is different from the testimony presented at the deposition;
- Order a copy of 911 calls related to the alleged incident;
- Order records related to previous calls for emergency services at the house;
- Order a copy of any previous petitioner for injunction filed by the petitioner against any other individual;
- Subpoena other witnesses including law enforcement officers to testify during a deposition or at a hearing on the petition for an injunction or protective order (often called a restraining order).
Pasco County Domestic Violence Injunction Hearing Information Center
Read more - Pasco County Injunctions for Protection - Watch educational and informational videos prepared by the judges that may hear your case.
Read more - Criminal Defense Attorneys for Domestic Violence Cases in Pasco County - Many of these cases also involve a criminal accusations. Read more about how injunction hearings that involve a criminal case need to be handled differently.