The law allows victims of domestic violence to file for restraining orders, also known as injunctions, to protect them from their abusers. An injunction is a legal document that contains certain terms that the alleged abuser must comply with. For example, an injunction may order the abuser to avoid contact with the victim and move out of the home they share with the victim.
If an injunction has been issued against you, it’s important to comply with its terms in order to avoid legal consequences. But unfortunately, the terms of an injunction can completely disrupt your life. This is why it’s in your best interest to work with a Tampa domestic violence attorney to fight an injunction if you are wrongly accused of domestic violence. Keep reading to learn how you can protect your rights and fight domestic violence injunctions in Florida.
When Are Domestic Violence Injunctions Issued?
Domestic violence victims must follow certain steps in order to get an injunction. First, they must file a petition with the clerk of the circuit court. They must submit certain paperwork with this petition. Some of the information they will be asked to provide includes:
- The offender’s contact information
- A list of court cases involving the victim and offender
- The relationship between the victim and the offender
- A description of the domestic violence
Once these forms have been submitted, a judge will immediately review the petition. If the judge believes there is an immediate threat to the victim or the victim’s family, the judge will issue a temporary ex parte injunction. This injunction will only remain in effect for 15 days. To get a final injunction, you must attend a hearing, which will be scheduled at the time the temporary injunction is issued.
A temporary ex parte injunction will not take effect until a copy of the order has been served to the offender. This must be done to ensure that the offender is aware of the terms that they must comply with.
The offender will also receive information about the date and time of the court hearing that will take place to discuss a final, permanent injunction.
What to Expect During the Final Injunction Court Hearing
If you want to fight a domestic violence injunction, it’s imperative that you attend the court hearing where the judge will decide if a final injunction should be issued. If you do not show up to this hearing, the judge may issue a final injunction without hearing your side of this story. But do not attend this hearing alone—hire an attorney to protect your best interests in court.
You and the victim will both be present during this court hearing. The judge will ask the victim to testify regarding the alleged acts of domestic violence. It is up to the victim to prove that a final injunction is necessary because they or their family are in immediate danger.
After the victim has finished presenting their case, the judge will give you an opportunity to testify and/or present evidence in your defense. This is your chance to prove that the allegations that were made against you are false.
The judge will carefully consider the arguments presented by both sides before deciding how to rule. If the judge believes the victim, they may issue a final injunction. A final injunction will either last indefinitely or expire on a certain date, depending on the nature of the case. It could also contain more restrictive or additional terms compared to the temporary ex parte injunction.
If there is no end date on the final injunction, you or the victim can ask the court to change the terms or dissolve the injunction at any time. However, there’s no guarantee the court will grant your request to change or end the injunction.
What Evidence Can You Use to Fight A Restraining Order?
You must work with an attorney who will prepare a strong case backed by evidence in your injunction hearing. Some of the many different types of evidence that an attorney can use to fight a restraining order include:
- Testimony: You can testify on your own behalf. You can also call other witnesses to testify as well.
- Expert witnesses: It may be appropriate to call an expert witness to testify in your case. An expert witness is an independent third party who is considered an expert on a certain subject matter.
- Physical evidence: Any physical evidence that supports your case may also be introduced during this hearing.
- Documents: Letters, emails, photographs, screenshots of texts, and other documents can be used to prove that the allegations that were made against you are false.
- Demonstrative: Sometimes, presenting a chart or illustration is necessary to prove your case. For example, you may need to present an illustration that shows what happened on the night of the alleged domestic violence incident. This illustration can show where you and the victim were positioned and be used to prove that you were acting in self-defense.
Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation into the alleged incident to gather the evidence they need to support your case. The more evidence your attorney can present during this hearing, the stronger your case will be.
Seek Legal Representation From An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
If an injunction for protection from domestic violence has been filed against you, it’s in your best interest to contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett as soon as possible. Let us guide you through the process of fighting both the injunction and the domestic violence charges that have been filed against you. Our team of attorneys has over 125 years of combined legal experience, so we understand what it takes to help our clients beat their charges.
Take the first step toward reaching the best possible outcome in your case by contacting our law office to schedule a free consultation today.