1st Dec 2016
Just because you have been arrested for violation of injunction, does not mean that the prosecutor is required to proceed with a formal charge. My office may be effective by intervening with the prosecutor early on in the case and attempting to persuade the State not to file the charge or prosecute you at all. The facts and circumstances surrounding your violation of injunction will play a large role in your case. In some situations, I can make the prosecutor aware of important facts that cast you in a positive light or draw attention to special circumstances. These include such factors as:
- The contact between you and the other party may have been consensual.
- The petitioner may have initiated the contact with you.
- The petitioner does not want to prosecute and desires reconciliation.
- The injunction has been dissolved, or is presently scheduled for a hearing for that purpose, or the petitioner is agreeable to dissolving the injunction but has not yet taken the required action to do so.
- The underlying facts that led to the injunction being granted in the first place were not of an aggravated nature.
- You violated a temporary injunction and the final injunction was never granted. This fact could be especially favorable if the final injunction was not granted because the petitioner decided not to proceed or the judge decided that the facts supporting the original petition for the injunction did not warrant the granting of a permanent injunction.
- The violation of the injunction occurred due to a coincidence, chance meeting, or was otherwise of a minimal nature.
Possible Defenses for Your Case
- The Contact that Violated Your Restraining Order or Injunction was Unintentional
Violation of an injunction must be willful. Florida law does not permit the State to prosecute a person who inadvertently or unintentionally violates an injunction. We may be able to argue that your contact with the petitioner was an accidental meeting.
- You Never Received Notice of the Final or Permanent Injunction
Florida courts have determined that “notice” or “service” of a permanent injunction must be accomplished before a person can be prosecuted for violation of the injunction. In other words, you must have received “actual service” or been provided with a copy of the permanent injunction personally, prior to the time you were alleged to have violated the terms of the injunction. This defense applies even in situations where you were personally served with the temporary injunction notice, but never received actual service of the final injunction.See Livingston v. State, 847 So. 2d 1131 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003).
- Your Injunction Violation Occurred When You Lawfully Complied with a Court Order in a Divorce, Child Support or Custody Proceeding
There are many situations where a Circuit Court Judge in a divorce, child support, or child custody proceeding will order that you and the other party have contact. Often this contact is required by the court for the purpose of working out a visitation or payment schedule, dividing up property, or discussing other aspects of the ongoing civil legal proceedings. If your violation of injunction was caused by your reasonable compliance with a judge’s order in a civil case, this may constitute a defense against the criminal charge.
Getting the Charge Dismissed – Domestic Violence Intervention Program
I can assist in applying for a Domestic Violence Intervention Program If accepted, you would be required to complete a specified series of limited tasks and stay out of trouble for a pre-determined period of time. Upon successful completion of Domestic Violence Intervention Program, the criminal charge pending against you will be dismissed.
If other options are unavailable, we may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor and the judge for the most lenient disposition possible. It is important to make all of the mitigating facts and circumstances in your case known to the court. Making the judge aware of the following additional information could prove to be an effective strategy:
- The contact that caused the violation of the injunction was merely verbal in nature and did not contain threats of violence.
- The contact took place through a third party for the purpose of obtaining personal property or for another reason related to ending the relationship amicably.
- You have already started on completing the 26 weeks of domestic violence counseling prior to going to court. (We can provide you with a list of the local court-approved counseling facilities where you can attend such sessions.)
- You have already begun attendance at an anger management course assigned to you by your attorney. (In some situations, the shorter anger management course may be more appropriate to the unique circumstances involved in your case.)
- The other party in the case does not want to see you prosecuted or, at a minimum, does not want to see you sentenced to time in the Pinellas County jail.
- The injunction has since been dissolved or otherwise dismissed.
Free Consultation – Violation of Injunction Charges
As you can see, the law governing violations of an injunction is complex. Getting the best possible outcome requires a thorough review of the individual facts of your case and a coordinated strategy. An experienced South Florida/Miami-Dade County/Broward County criminal defense attorney can uncover the relevant issues in your case and create a game plan for resolving your case. I invite you to meet with me in order to discuss your situation and learn how we can help.