Sometimes, people do bad things. When they do, they should face the legal consequences that come with the decisions made. However, sometimes that bad thing was an aberration or the wrongdoer made subsequent changes and improvements in his life. When circumstances change in your life, just as you deserved to face punishment for your wrong act, you should also be entitled to the benefits that the law allows as a result of those changes. This is true for a variety of people, including those who have had permanent domestic violence injunctions entered against them.
A permanent domestic violence injunction can have many impacts. For one, it generally means you’re forbidden from owning or possessing a gun. It also can have a variety of restrictions that can directly or indirectly limit your employment options. With that in mind, if you have an existing permanent injunction but the circumstances underlying that injunction no longer exist, getting that injunction dissolved may still be challenging. Be sure to talk to an experienced South Florida family law attorney about your options so that you can take the next step in moving forward with your life.
K.T.’s case was an example of someone in that situation. K.T. was a man going through a problematic marital breakup in the spring of 2011. That June, his wife sought a domestic violence injunction, alleging that the husband “pulled out a gun, trapped her in the garage, and threatened to shoot her in front of their nine-month-old daughter.” The husband was also charged criminally for the incident.
Because the injunction hearing occurred before the trial, the husband did not testify and did not cross-examine the wife. These choices were made in order to help the husband’s criminal defense. The trial court entered the permanent injunction against the husband. In 2012, a jury acquitted the husband of all charges. The injunction remained in place.
After the divorce, the husband left the military, moved to Kansas and obtained a criminal justice degree. Despite the degree and a decade in the military police, K.T. could not get a job as a police officer or in security. The injunction prevented him from legally handling firearms, and no police force wanted an officer who couldn’t legally handle a gun.
Proving that ‘the continuation of the injunction would serve no valid purpose’
So, the husband took action to get the permanent injunction dissolved. There are certain things you have to show to the court in order to get a domestic violence injunction dissolved. One of the big things is that you have to show that there has been a change of circumstances and that this change justifies dissolving the injunction. In other words, you need proof that “the scenario underlying the injunction no longer exists so that the continuation of the injunction would serve no valid purpose.”
K.T. had the needed proof of changes, according to the Court of Appeal. Specifically, he had evidence of his acquittal on all criminal charges, proof that he and his wife had divorced and had not seen each other for six years, evidence that the wife remained serving in the U.S. military and living in Japan while he had left the military and lived in Kansas, and proof that the husband had not even tried to contact the wife since 2011.
Under these facts, the appeals court reasoned that the only basis for keeping the injunction in place was the “theoretical possibility” that the husband, after six years of no attempted contact, might seek out the wife and try to harm her, even though they no longer worked together and lived 7,000 miles apart. However, mere theoretical possibilities, without supporting evidence, are not enough to justify domestic violence injunctions, which meant that K.T. was entitled to have his injunction dissolved.
Domestic violence injunctions are very impactful legal tools, which is why you should take it very seriously if someone seeks to get one against you. You should also act purposefully if circumstances have changed and you need to get the injunction dissolved. Whether you are seeking, or defending against, a domestic violence injunction, the South Florida family law attorneys at Sandy T. Fox, P.A. are here to help. Our hardworking attorneys have been providing clients with effective representation for many years and have the know-how you need for your case. Contact our attorneys online or by calling (800) 596-0579 to schedule your confidential consultation.
More blog posts:
The Requirements of a Florida Domestic Violence Injunction, Including a Reasonable Belief of Being ‘in Imminent Danger of Domestic Violence’, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, Aug. 7, 2018
Getting a Florida Injunction for Protection Overturned on Appeal, Even After the Injunction Has Expired, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, May 23, 2018