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Tampa Domestic Violence Lawyer
Separate and apart from any potential criminal penalties that may result from acts of domestic violence, Florida recognizes the existence of a civil action for an injunction for protection against domestic violence. A petition for an injunction for protection against domestic violence may be sought by or on behalf of person who has been the victim of violence committed by a “family or household member” or has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim. If issued, the injunction generally will prohibit the perpetrator from contacting the victim, coming within a specified distance of the victim’s home or place of employment. In some cases, the victim will be entitled to exclusive use of a shared residence, and a change in the perpetrator’s rights to spend time with the parties’ child in common.
Florida Domestic Violence Law
A domestic violence injunction is available only when the violence is committed (or is imminent) against a “family or household member,” which may include:
- Current or former spouses;
- Persons related by blood or marriage, who are currently live together or have lived together in the past;
- Persons living together as a family or who previously lived together as a family, whether married or not;
- Persons who are parents of a child in common, regardless of whether they are married, and regardless of whether they live together;
In order to justify a domestic violence injunction, the type of conduct that must be committed, or that a person reasonably believes to be imminent, must include one or more of the following:
- assault, aggravated assault,
- battery, aggravated battery,
- sexual assault, sexual battery,
- stalking, aggravated stalking,
- kidnapping, false imprisonment,
- any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member
Injunctions Available to Non Family or Household Members
A domestic violence injunction is available only to “family or household members” of the alleged perpetrator, as explained above. Florida law recognizes three other other types of civil injunctions for victims of violence who are not members of the perpetrator’s family or household:
- Sexual Violence Injunction
- Dating Violence Injunction
- Repeat Violence Injunction
Procedure for Obtaining A Domestic Violence Injunction
In order to obtain a domestic violence injunction, a victim must file a sworn petition attesting to the facts that constitute domestic violence or the reasonable fear that domestic violence will be imminent. If the facts set forth in the petition demonstrate to a judge that the petitioner is a victim of domestic violence or is in imminent danger of becoming a victim, the judge may immediately issue a temporary injunction without notice to the other party. The temporary injunction will last for 15 days, or until the judge can conduct a full “return hearing” to determine whether the petition should remain in effect. (The procedures for a sexual violence injunction, dating violence injunction, and repeat violence injunction are similar.)
Tampa Domestic Violence Lawyers
The Tampa domestic violence lawyers at Older Lundy Koch & Martino are experienced in representing victims of domestic violence, counseling them concerning their right to seek a petition, assisting them with the drafting of the petition, and representing them at the “return hearing,” where the parties present evidence and argument to the judge as to whether an extended domestic violence injunction is warranted. Our attorneys also represent persons against whom domestic violence injunctions are sought, defending them at the hearings with success when the evidence demonstrates that the allegations are untrue and that the petitioner had some ulterior motive in filing the petition (in some cases, as leverage in a pending or contemplated divorce action). We vigorously represent victims of domestic violence, as well as persons who are unjustly alleged to be perpetrators of domestic violence.