Injunctions for Protection Against Domestic or Repeat Violence under Florida Law
When the individual fills out the petition for an injunction for protection against domestic violence or repeat violence in Hillsborough County, Pinellas County or Pasco County, the petitioner will be asked to describe in the petition the actual incidents of any of the following:
- injuries from physical abuse;
- mental abuse;
- threats of violence;
- battery or aggravated battery;
- assault or aggravated assault;
- false imprisonment;
- stalking, or
A Judge Will Review the Petition without Hearing from the Other Side
The judge assigned to the case will review the petition that day. If the judge finds that the allegations are sufficient, then the judge will issue a Temporary Injunction against domestic or repeat violence that will be valid for 15 days unless further continued by the Court. A Florida law enforcement officer must attempt to serve a copy to the respondent (person accused of violence) before the hearing.
The petitioner will be warned that the time between the time that the injunction paperwork is served in the respondent and the time of the hearing is the most dangerous time for the petitioner and the petitioner's children.
Show the Court that You are Not a Threat - Do Not Violate the Injunction
In many of these cases involving an individual who is truly committing acts of domestic violence the "loss of control" that follows finding out about the injunction can lead to more violent acts. The fact that the respondent follows the letter and spirit of the order prior to the hearing is also an indication that the respondent is able to conform his or her behavior to the law.
Remember to follow the letter and spirit of the court's order because failing to do so may result in an injunction being issued (even if the facts used to support the petition were originally false or exaggerated). Additionally, violating the injunction prior to the hearing could result in the court ordering you to take domestic violence classes or undergo a psychological evaluation.
The Return Hearing
After the temporary injunction is granted, a Return Hearing is held before a judge within 15 days of the Temporary Injunction. Both parties have the right to appear. The petitioner must appear or the injunction may be dismissed. The petitioner will be required to speak directly to the judge about why the petitioner fears for his or her safety.
The respondent also has the chance to address the court. However, if the respondent has criminal charges pending, the respondent should speak with a criminal defense attorney before making any statements. Anything the respondent says about the facts of the case can be used against the respondent during the criminal case. Often, the attorney for the respondent can help plan the strategy for the hearing on the injunction for protection.
Presenting Relevant Evidence for the Court's Consideration
In many cases, the court will allow the Respondent's attorney (the attorney for the person served with the injunction) more time to prepare. In order to issue subpoenas, order 911 records or obtain other evidence that will contract false or exaggerated allegations a continuance is often necessary.
At the return hearing, either the petitioner or the respondent can present photos, witnesses, and recorded messages to be used as evidence. Witnesses can subpoena police officers who have relevant information about prior difficulties between the parties or accusations made by the petitioner.
Contact an experienced attorney at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss any petition for injunction against domestic violence or repeat violence filed against you in Dade City or New Port Richey in Pasco County, Tampa or Plant City, Hillsborough County, Clearwater or St. Petersburg in Pinellas County.