Sarasota, Bradenton, and Venice Domestic Violence Injunctions
The procedure for a Florida domestic violence injunction is the same whether you are looking to be protected or are defending against false allegations, but if you are the defending party, called the "Respondent", you won't have notice that a Petition has been filed against you until the Court has already set a hearing on the matter.
Domestic Violence Injunctions are time-sensitive. From the date of the Court's temporary Order, parties only have two weeks to prepare and present evidence to support, or defend against an injunction.
The person requesting the protection first files a "Petition for Injunction for Protection against Domestic Violence". This is the formal name for a request for a restraining Order, so don't be confused as they're often referred to by both names.
These forms are provided by the Clerk with instructions, and most Petitions are handwritten and filed right at the Clerk's counter.
The Judge will recieve the Petition the same day, and, based only on what is written in the Petition, will decide whether or not to issue a Temporary Injunction for Protection against Domestic Violence". Sometimes the Court denies the Petition outright, and no further action is taken, or required. When a Temporary Injunction is granted, Florida Law requires that the person being accused of violence be allowed to present his or her evidence within two weeks. This is because the original Order was entered without notice to the accused, and the law requires that they have an opportunity to defend themselves.
At the hearing, the Court will listen to testimony, look at photographs, phone records, or any other evidence that the parties present, and will then make a decision. The Florida Rules of Evidence apply at these hearings, so things like hearsay, or unsupported out of court documents can, and typically are excluded. This is why proper preparation of your testimony and your evidence is crucial.
Florida law provides broad protections for victims of domestic violence, but those protections can be abused, and false, or grossly exaggerated Injunctions (or restraining orders) can result in long-term or permanent consequences if not propertly defended. If an injunction is granted against you, you may be restricted from certain employment, and you will not be allowed to possess a firearm, even temporarily for hunting or recreational shooting.
If you're the victim of domestic violence, you risk losing the protection of an injunction if your evidence and argument is not presented to the Court correctly, so it is important to begin your preparations as soon as possible.
As former prosecuting attorneys with 11 years of trial experience, we help our clients gather and prepare the evidence that is crucial for success. Contact us here, or call our office to schedule a free consultation at (941) 404-8908.