Injunction to Prevent Sexual Violence

Criminal Defense Attorney Serving Clearwater and Surrounding Areas

Someone who thinks that they have been a victim of sexual violence can ask the court for an injunction to prevent sexual violence. Sexual violence may include sexual battery, lewd or lascivious molestation, and other crimes. If you are served with a petition for an injunction to prevent sexual violence, you should consult an experienced Clearwater injunction lawyer. An injunction can open the door to further criminal charges or affect a family law matter. Hanlon Law fights for the accused.

Fighting an Injunction to Prevent Sexual Violence

Florida Statute section 784.046 permits a person who believes that they have been subject to sexual violence to petition the court for a protective injunction. Sexual violence includes any forcible felony involving attempted or perpetrated sex acts. For example, it could include a lewd or lascivious act against a minor under age 16. For another example, it could involve the rape of a college student.

It is important to realize that you could be served with such a petition regardless of whether you were criminally charged for the sexually violent act that forms the basis to bring the petition for an injunction. A prosecutor may have any number of reasons for deciding not to pursue charges. Sometimes there just is not enough proof to establish a case beyond a reasonable doubt. This does not mean that an injunction will not be obtained — a lower standard of proof will apply to a petitioner seeking an injunction. This is why it is so important to consult a Clearwater criminal attorney.

Either a victim of sexual violence or a parent or guardian of a minor child living at home who was victimized by sexual violence may file a sworn petition for an injunction for protection against sexual violence. However, the sexual violence must have been reported to the police. Whoever reports the violence must cooperate in the criminal proceedings, regardless of whether the prosecutor reduces, dismisses, or files the criminal charges. Alternatively, the perpetrator must have been sentenced to state prison for the sexual violence forming the basis for the injunction, and the prison term must have already expire or be expected to expire within 90 days of the petition's filing.

A petition must set forth a description of the specifics of the sexual violence at issue. If the injunction involves a minor living at home, and the respondent is the other parent, legal guardian, or stepparent, there are other special rules. A parent who asks the court for an injunction against another parent, guardian, or stepparent of the minor needs direct physical evidence, or they must have directly witnessed the sexual violence or provide affidavits from eyewitnesses stating that there was sexual violence. For example, if a parent walks in on a stepparent molesting a child, it would be possible for that parent to testify as to the sexual violence. Similarly, if a nanny witnesses a rape by a stepfather, and she is willing to sign an affidavit, this would be a basis for the mother to ask for an injunction. In other words, a parent cannot get this injunction against the other parent simply on a hunch or in order to get revenge.

However, when the respondent is not a parent, legal guardian, or stepparent of the child, the parent can petition for the injunction when they have a reasonable basis to believe that the minor is a victim of repeat sexual violence. For example, if a parent has reasonable cause to believe that a child's stepbrother is molesting her, this could be the basis for an injunction. In some cases, however, we may be able to show that there is no requisite reasonable cause.

Hire a Clearwater Attorney When Facing an Injunction

If you are facing sex crime charges, the situation is very serious. Sometimes sex crimes are not charged, but the victim or the victim's parent asks for an injunction. If you have been served with a petition for an injunction to prevent sexual violence, it is crucial to retain an experienced attorney. Our firm's founder, Will Hanlon, has defended the accused since 1994. Contact us at 727-897-5413 or via our online form.