There are two types of domestic violence lawsuits - criminal (State of Florida versus person) and civil (person versus person). Although I have extensive experience regarding civil domestic violence cases, I do not represent individuals in criminal domestic violence cases. If you were arrested, your case is a criminal and you need to immediately hire a criminal defense attorney or have a public defender appointed. Under Chapter 742, Florida Statutes, "domestic violence" occurs if a person is physically harmed by a spouse, former spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc. If there was no physical harm, "domestic violence" can still occur if a person is threatened with immediate physical harm, and the threat was such that a reasonable person would have been in fear imminent harm.
If you are accused of domestic violence , do not contact the other person in any way - whether by phone, letter, courier, email, fax, package (flowers, cards, etc.), through a friend or other person - for any reason (e.g., to check on the kids, etc.), unless the court order specifically permits contact for child-related purposes. If you are accused of domestic violence and own a gun or other weapons, you must immediately surrender it/them to the Sheriff's Office. Please immediately notify your attorney that you own a weapon(s) because the Sheriff's Office usually destroys all weapons after six months unless a court order extends the time.
When a Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence is filed, a judge reads the petition to determine if he/she should enter an "ex parte temporary injunction" (i.e., a court order, entered without the other side being present, prohibiting the Respondent from contacting the Petitioner). The court order will include a date and time for the "return hearing" which is scheduled approximately 10 days later. The Respondent must appear and has the right to testify, have witnesses testify, and present evidence showing why the temporary injunction should be dismissed. If the judge did not originally enter a temporary injunction, the Petitioner has the right to testify, have witnesses testify, and present evidence why an injunction should be entered now.
Contact Pinellas County Divorce Attorney Richard C. Griesinger today!