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What Is A Domestic Violence Injunction?
If someone has become a victim of domestic violence, or they fear that they may become a victim of domestic violence, they may be able to obtain what is known as a domestic violence injunction (DVI). An injunction is a legal order that either prevents a person from doing something, or compels them to do something – thus, a DVI is designed to prohibit further violent behavior against an alleged victim. However, these can have unforeseen consequences for the alleged abuser, who may be forced into an awkward position before they have been tried for their alleged crime.
Who Can Seek A DVI?
A person does not have to have been the victim of a physical act of violence in order to get a DVI; they must simply have “reasonable cause” to believe that they are in “imminent danger” of becoming a victim of domestic violence at the hands of a household member and Florida law will allow an injunction to be issued. (A ‘household member,’ for these purposes, is anyone who fits the definition under Sec. 741.28, which is not only a spouse, but also a former spouse, a co-parent, a person related to you by blood or marriage, or a person who is or was residing with you ‘as a family.’)
The person seeking the injunction must have been (or fear they will be) the victim of a crime that falls under Florida’s domestic violence statute in order to qualify – namely, “any criminal offense resulting in injury or death” committed by a family or household member – to qualify. This means that some behavior, however frightening, will not rise to the level of domestic violence; for example, verbal abuse or threats without the ability to take immediate action has been held to not be enough to issue the injunction.
Potentially Serious Consequences
If your alleged victim can convince a court that they have reasonable fear of being in imminent danger from you, the court will issue what is known as an ex parte injunction, which takes effect immediately and may be enforced against you. Depending on your specific situation, you may be asked to temporarily leave the marital home, or you may temporarily lose custody of your children. However, ex parte orders only last until a hearing has been conducted where both of you can tell your sides of the story.
If the court enters a more permanent DVI against you, other consequences may come about, regardless of whether any other action is pending against you. For example, you may be asked to abide by an order of protection, or to attend a batterers’ intervention course, or any temporary custody arrangements may become more permanent. Regardless of the consequences imposed upon you, it is crucial that you abide by the terms of the injunction. Failure to do so can open you up to more criminal charges, fines and court costs.
Call A West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Attorney
Injunction hearings can feel overwhelming and frightening, particularly if you have not committed the crime of which you are accused. Having a West Palm Beach criminal attorney on your side from the beginning can help ensure that your rights are protected all the way through the legal process. Contact the office of Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A. today at 561-721-0552 to speak to an attorney.