Florida law allows a spouse or domestic partner to obtain an ex parte injunction (restraining order) in certain situations. The bad news is that these orders are one-sided – based solely on the word of one spouse without consideration of the other side of the story. The good news is that they are temporary. Both spouses eventually “get their day in court” and may present evidence to the judge before the order is made permanent. Experienced St. Petersburg and Clearwater domestic violence lawyer Will Hanlon at Hanlon Law can help you defend yourself against an injunction in a Florida court.
It is not unusual for a disagreement between spouses or domestic partners to become rather heated. This is especially true for a couple that is going through a divorce, custody dispute, or child support battle. Even “day to day” marital discord can occasionally get out of hand, with one of the partners (or perhaps a neighbor) calling the police as the situation escalates. There was a time when these calls were not prioritized by police. Now, however, the pendulum has swung, and it does not take much at all for police to make an arrest for domestic violence or for one spouse to get an injunction preventing the other spouse from entering the home, seeing the children, or engaging in other family-related activities, pending a hearing. The way that law enforcement approaches these situations is generally to give the complaining spouse the benefit of the doubt and let the court system resolve the complexities later.Taking a Strong Stand Against a Permanent Injunction
While this approach saves lives in some cases when someone poses a real threat, it can be challenging for a defendant falsely accused of wrongdoing. The fact is that not everyone who obtains an ex parte domestic violence injunction needs the protection of the law. Some spouses or partners seek an injunction for purposes such as manipulation or control, to obtain sympathy from friends or relatives, or to attempt to sway the outcome of a divorce or another family law proceeding. For the duration of the temporary injunction (typically about 15 days), this tactic may have the effect sought, but after that time, the subject of the injunction has a legal right to present their case at a full hearing before a judge.
At the hearing, which is civil in nature rather than criminal, both the plaintiff and the defendant may introduce evidence as to why the injunction should or should not continue. The defendant has a right to hire an attorney to represent them at the hearing and should do so if at all possible. A permanent injunction can have a far-ranging effect on issues such as whether the defendant is allowed to return to their home or see a child, so it is critical for the defendant to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible after being served with the ex parte order. It takes time to contact possible witnesses and obtain other evidence to support the defendant’s side of the case, so the sooner that the call to an attorney is made, the stronger that the defendant’s case can be.Contact a Knowledgeable Lawyer in St. Petersburg or Clearwater
At Hanlon Law, our sole goal is to protect our clients’ futures, whether that means advocating for the best possible result in a criminal case or defending against an unfair domestic violence injunction in a civil case. Will Hanlon has over 20 years of experience in the Florida courts, and he knows how the system works, as well as how it can be manipulated by people who are willing to lie and exaggerate to exact revenge or gain an advantage on others. As a criminal attorney helping defendants in Clearwater and St. Petersburg, he understands all of the implications of an accusation of domestic violence. Call us at 727.897.5413 or contact us online to schedule an appointment to discuss how we can help. Hanlon Law also is available to assist people in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Newport Richey, and Dade City who need an assault defense lawyer or representation in facing other charges related to alleged domestic violence.