We have previously written about Violation of Injunction orders (see here) and the different types of injunctions available. In this blog, we are going to continue the discussion on how to actually file for an injunction…
Information on filing an injunction in Pinellas County is not difficult to find. To began, you must first file a petition. This is usually free to do. The Petitioner can file this in the county that he/she resides, where the incident took place or where the Respondent lives. A Petition that is filled out must contain the Respondent’s first and last name, your name (though you CAN write “confidential” for your address if you want to keep that a secret) and a brief summary of the violence/stalking you allege occurred. One may also provide other papers/evidence such as police reports, photographs and/or other judicial orders that help your case. This is called supporting documentation. Finally, one must include the Respondent’s address and/or as much information about him/her as you can. You can complete a Sheriff’s Information Sheet. Once that is completed, a Sheriff’s deputy will “serve” both a copy of the Petition and the Judge’s order to the Respondent.
After you have filed a Petition, a Judge will then review it. The Judge will make one of three decisions. The Judge can: (1) agree that you need protection and immediately grant the Temporary Injunction Order, (2) rule that your Petition does NOT meet the Florida requirements for an Injunction but will allow a hearing to determine a final ruling or (3) will rule that your Petiton does not meet the Injunction requirements and will NOT grant you a hearing. Option number three rarely happens and at the hearing for option number two, the assigned Judge will determine if an Injunction is warranted based on testimony from you, the Respondent and any eye-witnesses to the alleged actions that may be available. It is at this hearing that you will want a Violation of Injunction lawyer to give you the best chance of success.Violation of an Injunction
After an order for an injunction has been ordered what happens if the Respondent continues to contact/harass the Petitioner? This may be the criminal charge of a Violation of Injunction. If the harassment continues, the police are usually called to make a report. Even if the police don’t feel that there are grounds to make an arrest, the Petitioner may still go to the Clerk’s office and fill out an Affidavit in Support of a Violation of Injunction if one wishes to pursue this. This can then be shared with the Judge or the state attorney’s office.
From the Pinellas County website, some reasons for a Violation of Injunction from a Respondent may include such things as:
1. Committing violence (such as a domestic battery) against the Petitoner.
2. Committing a criminal mischief against the Petitoner or destroying his/her property.
3. Being within 100 feet of the Petitioner’s motor vehicle, even if he/she is not in it.
4. Coming within 500 feet of the Petitioner’s home, work, school, or a named specific place frequently occupied by the Petitioner and/or their family.
5. Possessing a firearm or weapon if the Court had ordered them surrendered.
6. Telephoning, contacting or harassing the Petitioner personally or through a third-party.
7. Refusing to vacate a home/dwelling that the Respondent shares with the Petitioner.
In conclusion, both applying for or defending oneself against an injunction can be a complicated process. With an experienced Pinellas violence injunction lawyer by your side, you will be better prepared to deal with both the Court and with getting your life back on track.