Being served an injunction can have a long lasting impact on a person’s life, long after the injunction itself may have expired. Not everyone really understands what a legal injunction is, the process by which someone can be served an injunction, and what they need to do to protect themselves, or even dispute the validity of the document.
This is where retaining the counsel of a seasoned attorney well versed in the legal injunction and appeal process becomes crucial. The expert legal minds of Smith & Eulo have that solid foundation of knowledge on appeals, and how people can challenge an appeal for their own good.
What is an Injunction?
An injunction is often referred to a restraining order, and is typically brought to bear where there is evidence of various types of harassment such as stalking, as well quantifiable risks of physical or sexual violence. It dictates there is to be no contact between the served and the person or persons named, and applies to physical contact, physical proximity within a certain distance, phone calls, emails or any other sort of communication.
The two terms, however are not the same and the differences are worth noting. A restraining order is a legal directive as issued by a court of law toward an individual to avoid a specific person or persons but unlike an injunction, restraining orders are usually temporary. They are a form of immediate relief from threats of violence or intimidation while a permanent form of restraining order, called an injunction, can be procured. Both injunctions and restraining orders issued by the state of Florida are enforceable anywhere in the country.
Types of Injunctions
In the state of Florida, there are five types of protective restraining orders/injunctions available.
What to Do if You Have Been Served with An Injunction
Being served with orders of these types is a direct mandate from a judge and is extremely serious. As the recipient of such an order, you have a right to legal defense, and an appeal hearing to be held no later than fifteen days from the date of issuance.
At the hearing, each side will present their case to the court, at which time, a respondent or their legal counsel can request that the injunction be denied and the petition be dismissed.
Why You Should Challenge an Injunction Against You
It is crucial that the respondent retain legal counsel within that time and challenge any accusations, since the mere presence of an injunction can impact the respondent’s career, impact their lives by barring them from any place the petitioner frequents, and suspend several of their civil rights, including the right to own a gun.
The hearing to retain a permanent injunction must occur with that fifteen-day span, is likely to happen sooner than later, and any good attorney will need time for reviewing the facts, and for interviewing and deposing witnesses including the petitioner.
Violating an Injunction
Violating the terms of an injunction is a criminal act. Contact, threatening, or harming a petitioner is a clear and overt violation of terms, but there have been instances of people aware of their violation of an injunction as a result of indirect contact, such as sending a message to the petitioner by way of a 3rd party.
Other inadvertent violations would include being too close to a prohibited place or attempting to retrieve personal property from the petitioner’s residence other than the one-time visit mandated by the injunction.
There is an erroneous belief that contact initiated by the petitioner voids the injunction, and this is a dangerous fallacy. Only a judge can void an injunction, and should the respondent be observed in violation initiated by the petitioner, they can still be arrested and charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. Violation of an injunction is considered a serious offense and can be punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and as much a year in county jail. Many judges will make an example of a person who has violated injunction terms to send a strong message.
Our Attorneys Will Help You Challenge Your Injunction
The legal minds at Smith & Eulo will examine the facts, and determine if legal defenses can be used in your particular circumstance. By close examination of the incident, it may be possible to resolve the issue out of court, or there may be cause to dismiss the petition entirely if it is found that the accusations central to the injunction have been fabricated, exaggerated or otherwise misrepresented.
In the absence of other choices, negotiation with the prosecutor and judge in the light of any mitigating circumstances may lead to leniency on the part of the court and can be used as a viable strategy by legal counsel.
The first step to a successful challenge to an injunction is to contact Smith & Eulo for a consultation and review of the facts in your case.
We also have locations in Jacksonville, Tampa, Ocala, Lakeland, Daytona Beach and Kissimmee.