Domestic Violence Injunctions (DVI) are the most misused area of the domestic bench. For some reason, people believe that if they file an injunction, it will give them a “leg up” in a custody dispute, or it is an easy way to have your spouse/partner removed from the house.
The Judges in Orange County are very cognizant of this epidemic, and if they find that a petitioner falsely filed an injunction they will remand that person directly from the courtroom. It is a serious problem, and the truth is, it really does not give the petitioner an advantage in the case at all, but actually makes the remaining areas of the dissolution very difficult, and can become a living nightmare for the children involved.
However, there are clearly some incidents where an injunction is valid and necessary, and it is a good tool to assist in protecting a person from domestic violence, but one cannot lose sight of the fact that a piece of paper really cannot stop a gunshot. This is a sense of false security with an injunction, so the injunction in itself may not be enough to gain the protection that you need.
An injunction is often used to prohibit contact between individuals and is sometimes called a “Restraining Order.” Florida law allows any family or household member to seek a domestic violence injunction against any other family or household member. “Family” includes people you are related to by blood or marriage; spouses, ex-spouses, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles; parties intimately involved and living together but never married; adopted children; stepparents and stepchildren, and others OR a person who is the parent of your child(ren), regardless of whether or not you have ever been married or lived together.
A court may issue a domestic violence injunction to protect someone who is the victim of domestic violence, or has reasonable cause to believe that he or she is in imminent danger of becoming the victim of any act of domestic violence. Domestic violence includes: assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, cyber-stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any other criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death to you, your family, or other household members residing in the same single dwelling unit with you.
There are other types of injunctions: dating violence injunction, repeat violence injunctions (two episodes of violence within a six month period), stalking and cyber stalking. Injunctions fall under chapter 741 and 784, and it is imperative that the Petitioner files the correct injunction or it will be dismissed, without a hearing, on technicality. Final Injunctions can be in effect for a variety of different time frames, and sometimes permanent in nature. Injunctions are modifiable, and can be terminated early depending upon the evidence provided to the court at a hearing on the case. All injunctions are civil in nature; however, the violation of an injunction can become criminal, and punishable by incarceration.
Attorneys should not file injunctions on behalf of their clients, as it is a sworn affidavit of facts that should be completed by the victim. Attorneys should not encourage or assist with, in any way, the filing of a false injunction and there are now grounds for attorney fees for meritless injunctions in an attempt to avoid filing injunctions for the wrong reasons.