Domestic Violence Injunctions in Northeast Florida
The Jacksonville Law Firm of Elrod & Elrod Can Help
Whether you have been wrongfully served with a restraining order for domestic violence or need to protect yourself against domestic violence, an experienced Florida domestic violence attorney at Elrod & Elrod can help.
People seek a Florida domestic violence injunction for a variety of reasons. Sometimes a domestic violence injunction is the opening shot of a divorce where the person filing is seeking to gain the upper hand. Other times they are important tools to keep people safe.
A domestic violence hearing is unusual in that there is no discovery before the hearing and no prior disclosure of witnesses. People are often caught off guard at the hearing. Successful litigants must be well prepared and ready for all possibilities. As with all litigation, it is best to have an experienced Florida domestic violence attorney to help you through the process so that you can get the results you need.
Florida Recognizes Four Types of Domestic Violence Injunctions
A Florida domestic violence injunction is a court order that prohibits one person from taking certain actions that usually involve being with a certain distance from another person. If a person violates a domestic violence injunction, the court can enforce the injunction by issuing criminal charges or making changes to child custody determinations.
Florida courts recognize four different types of domestic violence injunctions, including:
- Repeat Violence Injunction. If there have been two or more incidents of violence or stalking, one of which occurred within six months of filing the petition for the injunction, a party can request a Repeat Violence Injunction. To obtain a Repeat Violence Injunction the parties do not need to have lived together or been married.
- Sexual Violence Injunction. A person may seek a sexual violence injunction when behavior that would constitute a criminal sexual act has occurred.
- Dating Violence Injunction. A Dating Violence Injunction is intended to protect people who are or were in a continuing romantic relationship from domestic violence.
- Stalking Injunction. A Stalking Injunction protects people from physical stalking, cyberstalking, and other similar acts.
Who Can Apply for a Domestic Violence Injunction
A family or household member can apply for a Florida domestic violence injunction if they are the victim of domestic violence or have reasonable cause to believe that they are in imminent danger of becoming the victim of domestic violence. This includes people who are or were spouses, people related by blood or marriage, people who lived together as if they were family, and people who have a child in common.
The person seeking a Florida domestic violence injunction must describe the nature of the relationship between the parties, and why the person seeking the injunction has reasonable cause to believe that he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence.
Domestic violence injunctions are easy to acquire and can be obtained from either the county where the petitioner (the person seeking the injunction) lives, or where the domestic violence occurred.
Once the injunction is filed, the court will determine whether there is an immediate and present danger of domestic violence and, if so, will issue an ex parte order. This means that the court will issue the order having only heard one side of the case.
Regardless of whether the court issues an ex parte order, the judge will schedule a full hearing to determine whether an injunction should be entered. Both the petitioner (person seeking the injunction) and the respondent will be present. The court will listen to both sides to determine whether the injunction should be issued. The court can issue orders:
- Telling the respondent not to engage in acts of domestic violence
- Giving the petitioner use and possession of the marital residence
- Changing a parenting plan or awarding 100% of time-sharing to the petitioner
- Establishing a temporary child support award
- Ordering the respondent to treatment such as a batterer’s intervention program, counseling services, or other similar treatment
- Referring the petitioner to a certified domestic violence center, or
- Any other relief that the court deems necessary to protect the petitioner.
Defending People Accused of Domestic Violence
If you have been wrongly accused of domestic violence, it's important to work with an experienced Florida domestic violence injunction attorney. Domestic violence injunctions are challenging to defend, but it is possible to defeat them.
A skilled Florida lawyer can limit the damages to a person accused of domestic violence by casting doubt on the credibility of the person making the accusations, presenting witnesses and evidence to the court to rebut the charges, or persuading the court to reduce the time and effect of a domestic violence injunction.
Penalties for Violating a Florida Domestic Violence Injunction
Violating a domestic violence order is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in county jail. Repeat violations can be considered felonies and carry stiffer penalties.
People who are found in violation of a domestic violence order risk changes to shared parenting plans and, in some cases, can lose their visitation rights altogether.
If you have been served with a domestic violence order it is important that you understand the terms and conditions of the order. Violating the order can carry significant consequences, including your ability to stay in your home, see your children, and your freedom of movement.
Elrod & Elrod – Serving Northeast Florida Since 1966
If you have questions about a domestic violence injunction in Florida, contact the Jacksonville law firm of Elrod & Elrod today.
Elrod & Elrod has been serving the Jacksonville, Florida metropolitan area since 1966, and proudly represents people throughout northeast Florida in Baker, Bradford, Citrus, Clay, Columbia, Duval, Flagler, Hamilton, Marion, Nassau, Putnam, St.Johns, Sumter, Suwannee, and Union counties.
Call 904-356-1282, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or complete our online form.