Domestic Violence Injunctions, Tampa, Hillsborough

Any victim of domestic violence who has a reasonable cause to believe that it will happen again may file a Petition for Protection Against Domestic Violence (also called a Domestic Violence Injunction, or a restraining order).

A Petition for Protection Against Domestic Violence may be filed by a family member or a household member of the person who committed the violence. While it may sound simple, the legal definitions of a “family member” or “household member,” and even “domestic violence” are extremely technical.

Contact an experienced family law attorney who handles domestic violence injunctions to see if you are eligible for a Domestic Violence Injunction, or if you should seek a different type of injunction or restraining order.

The person that files for an injunction is called the Petitioner. The person that the injunction is against is called the Respondent.

After the petition for the injunction is filed by the Petitioner, it is reviewed by a judge and the judge either denies the petition or grants a temporary injunction until a hearing can be heard.

Once a temporary injunction is granted and is served upon the Respondent, a court hearing is set within two weeks. At the hearing, the Petitioner and the Respondent can have witnesses testify on their behalf and present evidence to the judge.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge decides whether or not to issue a permanent injunction, how long the injunction should last and what sanctions to order.

There are many factors the law allows the judge to consider in determining whether or not to grant an injunction. More importantly, there are many things the judge should know that are difficult to present in court due to the laws of evidence.

Because of this, you need an attorney who is experienced in handling domestic violence injunctions and has extensive trial experience in order to present the relevant facts to the judge consistent with Florida statutes and the laws of evidence. Mindi Lasley is an experienced trial attorney and has conducted hundreds of trials during her career as a prosecutor and family law attorney.

The judge has extremely broad discretion in deciding what sanctions to include in the injunction, which can include:

  • granting 100% custody (now called time-sharing) to the Petitioner
  • awarding child support
  • awarding the Petitioner exclusive use of the house
  • prohibiting the Respondent from coming into contact with the Petitioner, his/her place of employment, residence, cars, or the child(ren)’s school

The judge can also order the Respondent to:

  • participate in anger management and domestic violence programs at his/her own cost
  • relinquish possession of any weapons

Because of the long list of items the judge can order, domestic violence injunctions are often filed frivolously to obtain custody, child support and sole use of the house.

A domestic violence injunction can be extremely damaging in a divorce or custody case. If you are the victim of a frivolous injunction, you need to contact an experienced lawyer to ensure you are properly defended in court.

Injunctions for Protection Against Repeat Violence, Sexual Violence and Dating Violence

Similar to Domestic Violence Injunctions, there are also injunctions and restraining orders available for victims of:

  • repeat violence
  • sexual violence
  • dating violence

Like the terms “domestic violence” and “household member,” the definitions of “repeat violence,” “sexual violence” and “dating violence” are extremely technical, as are the specifications regarding who is eligible to file these injunctions.

To see if you qualify for an injunction against repeat violence, sexual violence or dating violence contact Tampa Family & Divorce Lawyer Mindi Lasley and schedule a consultation.

Violation of Injunctions

Any person that violates an injunction for protection against repeat violence, sexual violence and dating violence commits a first degree misdemeanor.

The court may enforce a violation of an injunction for protection against domestic violence through a civil or criminal contempt proceeding, in which the judge can order fines as well as other sanctions.

In the event a domestic violence injunction has been violated, the Petitioner must contact law enforcement and file an affidavit in support of the violation in order to proceed with the violation.

Extending a Domestic Violence Injunction

It’s important to note that in order to extend a domestic violence injunction, the Petitioner must file for an extension BEFORE the injunction expires. If the Petitioner waits until the injunction expires or dismisses the injunction, the injunction cannot be extended.

For more information on obtaining an extension of an injunction or a restraining order, please contact Tampa Family & Divorce Lawyer Mindi Lasley.