Some people in Broward County do not realize that an injunction for domestic violence is a serious order. Violating an injunction can result in penalties. Even a temporary domestic violence injunction may be extended. However, certain rules need to be followed to get a temporary injunction extended. In a recent Florida domestic violence decision, a husband appealed the extension of his wife’s temporary injunction against domestic violence against him.
The appellate court explained that under section 741.30(6)(a), an initial injunction for protection against domestic violence can be obtained if someone is the victim of domestic violence or has reasonable cause to think she’s in immediate danger of being victimized by domestic violence. The injunction is supposed to last until it’s modified or dissolved. Either the person being restrained or the petitioner who obtained the injunction can make a motion to modify or dissolve the injunction and its terms at any time.
There are no specific allegations that must be made to get an injunction dissolved or modified. The relief can include not only dissolution or modification but also other criminal or civil remedies. It is also possible to extend an ex parte injunction by showing there is good cause to do so.
In this case, an ex parte temporary injunction for protection against domestic violence was first entered in favor of the wife in late 2011. The husband and wife agreed to extend the injunction for four months to hold a hearing on whether there should be a permanent injunction. The wife had the ability to ask for a second extension if there were further domestic violence incidents.
Before the temporary injunction expired, the wife asked for a second extension. The lower court extended the temporary injunction that had previously been entered by stipulation. The order didn’t make findings other than a general finding that the wife had a rational and continuing fear of domestic violence. The order was partly based on the husband’s efforts to keep talking to the wife through other people.
The wife needed to prove: (1) she was a domestic violence victim or (2) she had reasonable cause to believe she was in imminent danger of turning into a victim of an act of domestic violence. The lower court wasn’t restricted to examining the circumstances that occurred after the prior injunction had been entered. The lower court could also consider the circumstances that first led to the injunction being imposed in order to decide whether it was reasonable for the wife to continue to be afraid of domestic violence.
The appellate court found that the lower court had made a mistake in restricting the wife to presenting only evidence of what happened after December 13, 2011. This made it hard for her to meet her burden. The only thing she could show was that the husband had tried to talk to her through his uncle and she was fearful of his anger about the pending divorce.
The evidence that the husband had talked to the wife through third parties wasn’t enough to show a reasonable fear he’d perpetrate violence. The topic of communication had been that he wanted to reconcile. The court noted that even harassment through a third party wouldn’t be enough.
The appellate court explained that the law didn’t provide for a series of temporary injunctions to be issued rather than a permanent injunction. There wasn’t enough evidence shown at the hearing to support a permanent injunction being issued. The court reversed.
It can be important to fight an injunction for domestic violence. This is because there are significant penalties if you violate such an injunction. Violating a protective injunction in Florida is a first-degree misdemeanor. For a conviction, you could face a maximum of one year incarcerated and $1000 in fines. The penalties will be harsher if you’re accused of committing a separate crime while violating the protective order against you.
If you are charged with domestic violence or with violating an injunction against domestic violence in Broward County, you should consult a skillful criminal defense attorney.
Call The Hoffman Law Firm at (305) 928-1669 or contact us via our online form.