If you are seeking an injunction for protection from domestic violence, or if you are defending against such an injunction, it is important to understand that these injunctions can have very real and significant impacts and that these cases should be taken very seriously. Regardless of whether you are the alleged victim or the alleged perpetrator, it is important to ensure that you have what you need to persuade the court that your situation does (or does not) present a valid case for an injunction. In a recent case from Polk County, the Second District Court of Appeal threw out an injunction because the woman’s evidence amounted to one incident from a long time ago that only indicated a “relationship gone awry,” rather than an imminent threat of violence.
The case involved a former couple, F.B. and C.T., who, at one time, had lived together. About a year and a half after F.B. moved out of the home, C.T. filed an action in Polk County, seeking an injunction for protection against domestic violence. In her case, the alleged act of domestic violence that C.T. used to support her protective injunction request took place while the couple still lived together. In other words, it happened nearly two years prior to her pursuit of legal action.
Additionally, that nearly two-year-old action was the only instance of domestic violence she presented to the court. Nevertheless, the trial judge issued the injunction. This led F.B. to appeal and the appeals court to throw out the injunction.
When you’re going to court asking for the issuance of an injunction for protection from domestic violence, there are several things you need in order to meet the law’s requirements. It generally strengthens your case if you have multiple acts of domestic violence you can present to the court. It also generally strengthens your case if at least some of those incidents are recent. Cases in which you only have one instance upon which you rely, and that incident took place years ago, are typically more difficult to win. The Second Circuit has held for years that an “isolated incident of domestic violence that occurred years before a petition for injunction is filed will not usually support the issuance of an injunction in the absence of additional current allegations.”
Furthermore, with the incidents you present to the court, especially the most current ones you have, it is important to persuade the court that these incidents actually demonstrate that you face an imminent threat of violence. The law says that “generalized threats to engage in unpleasant, but not violent, behavior” do not warrant an injunction. Neither do “angry messages, vague actions, and general conditional future threats without overt action.” Again, an important part of these cases is proving that, in your case, what this person has said and done is more than vague, generalized, or empty statements, and it constitutes a very real threat of real violence in the immediate future.
Of course, on the other hand, if you are someone against whom an injunction is sought, it is important to use all the resources available to defend yourself against an inappropriate petition for an injunction. While drunk-texting your ex to say “Life is not worth living without you,” or “I’m going to make your life as miserable as mine if you don’t take me back,” might be undignified and impolite, these acts, without something more, shouldn’t lead to having an injunction slapped down on you. In F.B.’s case, C.T.’s evidence was isolated, older, and only showed a “relationship gone awry,” rather than a threat of imminent violence. Based upon what C.T. offered the court, the injunction should not have been issued.
The diligent South Florida domestic violence attorneys at Sandy T. Fox, P.A. have handled domestic violence cases for years and have the experience you need to ensure that you receive a full and fair hearing before a judge. Contact our attorneys online or by calling (800) 596-0579 to schedule your confidential consultation.
More blog posts:
South Florida Woman’s Evidence of Stalking, Choking Was Enough to Warrant Protective Injunction She Sought, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, Aug. 25, 2016
Shortage of Proof Leads to Reversal of Florida Woman’s Order of Protection, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, Feb. 18, 2016