If you decide to go to court to seek (or to oppose) an injunction for protection from stalking violence, you should take the matter extremely seriously, and you should retain a skilled South Florida domestic violence attorney to represent you. The law is fairly clear regarding what is needed in order for the courts to enter an injunction, including the number of acts required and who may be a victim of the alleged harassment.
A recent case involving a pair of neighbors offers an example of the process and the hurdles involved. On the 4th of July in 2016, Deniz was doing what lots of people do on Independence Day. She and her family were lighting fireworks in the street. Deniz’s neighbor was apparently startled and displeased by Deniz’s family’s patriotic festivities. The neighbor grabbed his unloaded gun, exited his home, made verbal threats toward Deniz’s family, and, before leaving, shoved Deniz’s boyfriend. This entire series of events took place within 20 minutes’ time.
Deniz went to court and asked for an injunction for protection against stalking violence against her neighbor. This type of injunction involves a requirement that the person seeking the injunction prove that at least two instances of stalking took place. The trial judge entered the injunction. The two qualifying occurrences of stalking behavior were the neighbor’s issuance of threats while brandishing the gun and the neighbor’s shoving the boyfriend.
The appeals court reversed that ruling in favor of Deniz. The ruling in favor of the neighbor contains some useful knowledge for those involved in domestic situations that may escalate to the point of seeking an injunction for protection against stalking violence. In the neighbors’ case, the appeals court concluded that Deniz didn’t actually have two occurrences of stalking. Both the gun-toting threats and the shoving took place within one abbreviated window of time as part of one continuous argument between the neighbor and Deniz’s family. This made both the shoving and the threats part of one continuous course of conduct, which meant that there was only one instance of harassment.
Deniz’s case had another flaw. The second alleged “instance” of harassment was the neighbor’s act of shoving Deniz’s boyfriend. That was an act of harassment against the boyfriend, rather than against Deniz. Even if the shove and the threats had occurred in two separate events rather than one continuous course of conduct, Deniz didn’t have enough for an injunction because the neighbor committed exactly one act (the threats) against Deniz.
Thus, for example, if you and your partner (or ex-partner) get into a heated exchange, and, during this argument, threats are uttered and later shoving takes place, that, by itself, probably isn’t enough for an injunction. Of course, if you have additional facts, these facts may be an important component of a successful protective injunction petition; it just can’t be the whole of it. Similarly, if your ex threatens you and pushes your new partner, you will probably need some additional factual evidence or instances in order to get an injunction.
It is important, whether you are pursuing or opposing an injunction for protection against stalking violence, to work with experienced counsel. The diligent South Florida domestic violence attorneys at Sandy T. Fox, P.A. have been helping people with stalking, domestic violence, and other family law-related protective injunction issues for many years, and we are here to help you. Contact our attorneys online or by calling (800) 596-0579 to schedule your confidential consultation.
More blog posts:
What it Takes to Obtain an Injunction Against Repeat Violence Under Florida Law, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, June 7, 2017
Isolated Three-Year-Old Incident Wasn’t Enough to Allow for Domestic Violence Injunction Against Florida Woman, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, Feb. 17, 2017