Why seeking legal representation is imperative when fighting an Injunction

Why being represented by an Attorney is critical when dealing with an Injunction

An Injunction, more commonly known as a Restraining Order, is a court order restricting or limiting a person's contact with someone else, including physical and electronic communication. This means no direct or indirect contact through third parties can take place.When the Court states there is an Order for No Contact that means no telephone calls, no e-mails, no text messages, and no contact through social websites such as Facebook or Twitter.  There are many types of Injunctions, but the most commonly solicited ones are: 
  • Domestic Violence
  • Dating Violence
  • Repeat Violence
Domestic Violence ( §741.30):

This is the most common type of injunction filed in Circuit Court.  A domestic violence injunction can be filed by any person who is either the victim of domestic violence, as defined by s. 741.28, or has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence. 

Domestic violence means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.

Family or household members: means spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married. With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit.

Dating Violence (§784.046 (d)):

Means violence between individuals who have or have had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the consideration of the following factors:

  1. A dating relationship must have existed within the past 6 months;

  2. The nature of the relationship must have been characterized by the expectation of affection or sexual involvement between the parties; and
  3. The frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship must have included that the persons have been involved over time and on a continuous basis during the course of the relationship. 

The term does not include violence in a casual acquaintanceship or violence between individuals who only have engaged in ordinary fraternization in a business or social context.

Repeat Violence (§(§784.046 (b)):

Means two incidents of violence or stalking committed by the respondent, one of which must have been within 6 months of the filing of the petition, which are directed against the petitioner or the petitioner's immediate family member.

An Injunction can have a devastating effect on the life of the person who has been served with it. A court has a great deal of discretion when issuing an injunction.  It will minimally prohibit you from going near or communicating with the petitioner, but may also include other orders not limited to the following:
  • Award the petitioner exclusive use of property, even if jointly owned or in your name
  • Award the petitioner temporary custody or child support for minor children
  • Require you to undergo drug, alcohol, or anger management counseling
  • Require you to participate in a 29 week Certified Batterer's Intervention Program
  • Require you to surrender firearms or ammunition

Most damaging, an injunction can leave you vulnerable to a criminal arrest if the protected person claims you violated the terms and conditions of the injunction.

When an individual is served with the Temporary Injunction a hearing is set to determine whether there is reason for a permanent one to be ordered and from this point forward no communication can take place between either party. At this stage the individual who has filed the Injunction is referred to as the "Petitioner" and the individual who has been served with the injunction is referred to as the "Respondent."

For the purposes of the Injunction hearing no attorney will be appointed to the Respondent to aide them in their defense against the Injunction, but Petitioners often receive free representation to present their cases. It is extremely difficult for a Respondent to successfully convince a Judge that the Temporary Injunction should not become permanent without the representation of a competent and experienced attorney .

You may be wondering what the long term consequences of a permanent Injunction are, here are a few:

  1. If it is granted it remains on your record and can be accessed through background checks, which in turn can affect future employment and housing prospects.

  2. If you are currently in the midst of a Divorce what is said in the Injunction hearing and the outcome can be used against you in your Divorce and brought to light within the Family Law courtroom.

  3. If you currently have a criminal case where the Petitioner is involved as a victim what is said in the Injunction hearing and the outcome can be used against you as evidence for the Prosecutor and the State of Florida.

  4. You could lose communication and your rights as a parent to your child(ren)

  5. Potentially lose permanent access to your personal property such as your home and car and whatever other property may be kept within.

  6. If you are a student applying to colleges and graduate programs you will have to disclose the outcome and events surrounding this case.

  7. Violating the Injunction could potentially expose you to a criminal arrest and lead to you being prosecuted.

For these reason seeking the services of a well-qualified attorney such as Jeremy J. Buckmaster  is crucial when defending yourself in an Injunction hearing.