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Explaining No-Contact Orders In Florida Domestic Violence Cases
Charges of domestic violence are very serious, and if a victim believes they are in danger, Florida law gives them the right to petition for a temporary injunction that limits the alleged abuser’s right to contact them. Because of the perceived severity of the situation, domestic violence injunctions usually require no contact between the alleged victim and alleged abuser. This can take many defendants by surprise, though it is important to abide by the ruling.
Domestic Violence Injunctions Before Trial
A domestic violence injunction can be issued at any point before trial, and is most often issued mere days after the alleged incident. The alleged victim of domestic violence files a petition with the relevant court stating that they fear future violence and are seeking court protection in order to minimize that risk. There are multiple types of injunctions, but domestic violence injunctions are among the most likely to result specifically in a no-contact order because of the high potential for violence against the petitioner.
If the order is granted, it is crucial to understand that no contact means no contact. Even if you share a marital home with your alleged victim or co-parent children together, you may not contact the victim for any reason until the domestic violence injunction expires; you may even be asked to temporarily vacate the marital home. The prohibition also includes contact made via social media like Facebook or Instagram, as well as indirect contact (such as having a mutual friend contact the alleged victim).
Do Not Violate The Order!
While it can be very demoralizing and disorienting to simply be informed of the consequences of an injunction being granted, know that you will have a chance, under Florida law, to argue your case. A hearing specifically on whether or not to extend the temporary no-contact order will be held at the earliest possible point between its granting and any trial you might face for domestic violence crimes, and you will have the chance to convince the court to lift the order. Keep in mind, however, that only the court can lift the order – not the alleged victim.
If you willfully contact your alleged victim without the consent of the court – even if you have the person’s consent – you will be charged with violating the injunction, which can be a serious legal roadblock for you. In Florida, someone who makes contact unintentionally may get off the proverbial hook, but intent to violate the order will result in your being charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries up to a year in jail and assorted fines and costs. This will be assessed in addition to any sentence you receive in your domestic violence case – though obviously, avoiding both is the ultimate goal.
Contact A West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Attorney
If you have been charged with domestic violence, a no-contact order can be disconcerting and inconvenient, but it is generally not something to focus on while you have charges pending. An experienced West Palm Beach criminal attorney from the firm of Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A. can work with you to try and clear your name. Contact our offices today to speak with an attorney.