Florida Domestic Violence, Restraining Orders and Orders of Protection
Broward County, Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade County
If you are accused of domestic violence, you could face serious criminal charges as well as civil domestic charges. Do not go to court alone and seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Remember that anything you say and do can be used against you. Therefore, do not speak to anyone about your case until you have consulted with an attorney.
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. Victims of domestic violence can apply for an injunction against domestic violence
Order of Protection or Restraining Order in Florida
An injunction for protection against domestic violence (sometimes called an order of protection or a restraining order) is a court document that orders the abuser to stop engaging in certain conductsuch as abusing the victim, contacting victim or going near the victim and makes the abuser do other things such as leaving the home and paying the victim temporary child support. It can also give victims certain rights such as temporary custody of children.
If you are accused of violating a restraining order, the police can arrest you and hold you in jail until your hearing.
When deciding if a victim is in immediate danger and in need of an order of protection, the judge will look at the following factors:
- The history between the victim and the respondent, including threats, harassment, stalking, and physical abuse;
- If the respondent has attempted to harm the victim or family members or individuals closely associated with the victim;
- If the respondent has threatened to conceal, kidnap, or harm the victim’s child;
- If the respondent has intentionally injured or killed a family pet;
- If the respondent has used, or has threatened to use, any weapons such as guns or knives against the victim;
- If the respondent has physically restrained the victim from leaving the home or calling law enforcement;
- If the respondent has a criminal history involving violence or the threat of violence;
- If there was a prior order of protection issued against the respondent;
- If the respondent has destroyed personal property of the victims (i.e., telephone, clothing, or other personal belongings);
- Whether the respondent has behaved in any other way that leads the victim to reasonably believe that they are in immediate danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence.
The legal system is divided into two areas: civil law and criminal law. Separate courts control these two areas of the law.
One of the most confusing and complex areas of law to understand is the difference between civil cases and criminal cases as they pertain to domestic violence. In cases of domestic violence, there may be both civil and criminal cases occurring at the same time as a result of the same incident.
In a civil domestic violence action, the victim is asking the court to protect them from their abuser. The victim is not asking the court to send the abuser to jail for committing a crime. However, if the abuser violates the order of protection or restraining order, they may be sent to jail for the violation. In a civil case, the victim is the person bringing the case against the abuser and has the right to drop the case if you want to. An order of protection or restraining order is requested in civil court.
The criminal law system handles all cases that involve violations of criminal law such as harassment, assault, murder, theft, etc. A criminal complaint involves your abuser being charged with a crime. In a criminal case, the state’s attorney is the one who decides whether the case against the abuser continues or not. It is the state who has brought the case against the abuser, not the victim. Additionally, the prosecutor may continue to prosecute the abuser even if the victim wants the case dropped. The prosecutor has the power to issue a victim a subpoena to force them to testify at the trial.
If you need help, contact Arnesen Law, P.A. at 954.703.5050 immediately. Don’t delay as time is not on your side.