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Orders Of Protection In Florida Domestic Violence Cases
When a person has been the victim of domestic violence, or they have a reasonable fear that they are about to become the victim of domestic violence, Florida allows them to seek what is known as an order of protection against their alleged abuser. This gives the victim a measure of safety, but allows the alleged abuser to provide their side of the story before imposing any long-lasting consequences. It is important to understand the process a victim goes through before receiving an order of protection; if you are unfortunate enough to be on the wrong side of one, you must be aware of its prohibitions.
Many Different Types
There are many different offenses that may be characterized as crimes of domestic violence in Florida, because domestic violence is used as a sentencing enhancement for the underlying crime rather than charged as an offense all its own. For example, a conviction for battery may result in a jail sentence of 1 year – but if the offense was a crime of domestic violence, more time will be added, as well as a requirement of attending a batterers’ intervention course, plus paying fines and costs.
As of this writing, Florida law recognizes several types of orders of protection, some of which may overlap with each other: domestic violence, sexual violence, dating violence, repeat violence, and stalking. While a victim may have been the victim of sexual violence or stalking, it is generally recommended that anyone in a domestic violence situation file specifically for a domestic violence-related order of protection, as it covers the widest spectrum of behavior and also establishes the strongest barrier between the victim and the alleged abuser.
Ex Parte & Permanent Orders of Protection
If a victim, filing a petition for an order of protection against their alleged abuser, can show that they have either been the victim of domestic violence, or they have “reasonable cause to believe” they are in “imminent danger” of becoming a victim of domestic violence, a judge will generally issue what is known as an ex parte order of protection. Ex parte orders are issued without hearing both sides of a case, usually because there is an “imminent” danger of harm to one or both parties.
Be advised that the ex parte order will only last for a set period of time – generally up to 15 days – but in that time, the victim can file for a permanent order of protection, provided they have evidence to back up the need for one to be issued. A formal hearing will be held on the matter, where both sides can present evidence to the court. If the petition is successful, the alleged abuser must stay a certain distance away from the victim, as well as potentially facing other requirements like surrendering any firearms they own, and vacating the home they shared with the victim.
Contact A West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Attorney
If you have been served with a copy of an order of protection obtained by your alleged victim, it is crucial to consult an attorney to determine what to do next. Violating an order of protection can get you in trouble, even if the violation was a mistake, and having knowledgeable legal help on your side can make all the difference. A West Palm Beach criminal attorney from the firm of Perlet & Shiner, P.A.. can help to get any questions you have answered. Call our office today at 561-721-0552 to speak to an attorney.