Protective Order Hearings
After allegations of domestic violence in Tallahassee or Leon County, FL, the victim can petition the court for a protective order against the alleged abuser. The protective order (also called a "restraining order") restricts the actions of the alleged abuser and often requires the person to vacate a shared home. The allegations of domestic violence can have serious consequences. In many cases, the person accused is arrested, and then shortly after that, served with a petition for a protective order.
In many cases, the petitioner makes false or exaggerated claims in the petition. Judges often have a hard time figuring out who is telling the truth. If the judge believes the petitioner, then the judge is required to enter the injunction. This is true even if you are never arrested for a crime, or the criminal charges are ultimately dropped.
While the injunction is in effect, you are not allowed to possess a firearm. For the rest of your live, employers will be able to find the injunction in even the most basic background check. Other serious consequences can impact you and your family after this drastic remedy is imposed. If the allegations are false or exaggerated, then you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you during the hearing.
Attorney for a Protective Order Hearing in Tallahassee
Contesting a petition for a protective order is difficult. Don't face the judge alone.
If you fail to appear at the protective order hearing, the court could finalize the protective order against you. This means you will be subject to every injunction in the protective order and could face criminal charges if you violate any of these injunctions.
If you have been served with a petition for a protective order in Leon County, an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Tallahassee can analyze the facts of your case to represent your best interests in court. The attorneys at Pumphrey Law are knowledgeable about Florida’s domestic violence laws and can work toward a favorable outcome for the allegations against you.
Pumphrey Law represents clients throughout the Florida Panhandle, including those in Wakulla County, Gadsden County, Liberty County and Jefferson County, plus the cities of Crawfordville, Quincy, Bristol and Monticello. Call (850) 681-7777 to schedule a free case evaluation.
Protective Order Hearing Information Center
- Protective Order Hearing Process
- Reasons a Court may Grant a Protective Order
- Common Injunctions in a Final Protective Order
- Consequences from a Protective Order
A person who claims domestic violence has occurred, or someone who is fearful it will occur, can file a petition for injunction for protection against domestic violence, according to Florida Statutes § 741.30.
The court then will determine if a temporary protective order should be put in effect upon filing. This often is solely based on the petitioner’s allegations. The temporary order can last no more than 15 days. If the injunction is put in place, the hearing for a final protective order will be no later than 15 days after the temporary order is granted.
You are statutorily permitted a hearing at the earliest possible time upon the filing of a petition. At this hearing, you can plead your case, have witnesses testify on your behalf and offer any reasons as to why the petition for a protective order should be denied. Before the hearing, you will be given notice of the hearing, a copy of the petition, a financial affidavit and a copy of the temporary injunction if one is in place.
There are a variety of reasons a court may grant a protective order. These reasons do not have to be actual domestic violence against the petitioner, but can be any reason the courts deems necessary to grant a protective order. A few of these reasons can include:
- Any history of threats, harassment or abuse made by the respondent
- Child abuse or negligence
- Threats to harm or kidnap the children
- Any previous harm to the petitioner or family members
- Intentional harm or killing of a family pet
- Threats to use or previous use of weapons against the petitioner
- Previous protective orders in any other jurisdiction
- Any history of preventing the petitioner from leaving the home or calling law enforcement
- Destruction of the petitioner’s property
If the protective order against you is made final after your hearing, you may be subjected to a variety of injunctions that can affect your daily life. These injunctions can include:
- A restraint against committing any act of domestic violence, which is defined as committing any criminal offense against another family member, such as strangulation
- Loss of access to your home shared with the petitioner
- Prevention from going to the petitioner’s place of business
- The petitioner can be given 100 percent custody of any children;
- Prevention from going to the children’s school or daycare
- A requirement of court-ordered treatment, classes or counseling
- Temporary financial support to the petitioner or children
- No contact at all with the petitioner
The court also can impose any other injunctions it finds necessary. In some instances, that could include restricting contact with the petitioner's family. The injunction also could affect an application for citizenship and employment in certain security-sensitive fields, such as law enforcement, in which you may be required to carry a gun.
Even if you are not in a security-sensitive field, the injunction will show up in an employer's basic background check. Employers are often more concerned about an injunction for protection than a criminal conviction because it is the number one factor indicator for a risk of work-place violence.
If the protective order is made final against you, it can lead to many severe consequences in your daily life, in addition to criminal consequences. For example, the protective order, and any injunctions against you will remain in effect until the protective order is modified or dissolved. Additionally, the protective order will be effective in all counties in Florida and in all 50 states.
Criminal consequences can include an arrest for any violations of the protective order or a misdemeanor charge of the first degree for possessing any firearm or ammunition while the protective order is in place.
A protective order also could affect your daily life, as it is a public record, and possibly could be uncovered by any background check. It can affect admissions to schools or further education, applications for housing or prevent the award of certain scholarships or federal aid.
Finding A Tallahassee Protective Order Hearing Attorney
If you have been served with an injunction for protection against domestic violence in Tallahassee or the surrounding areas, contact the attorneys at Pumphrey Law to discuss the facts of your particular case.
It is imperative to hire a knowledgeable domestic violence defense attorney in Tallahassee who has experience representing those served with protective orders, and will attempt to have your protective order lifted. Call (850) 681-7777 for a free consultation.
This article was last updated on Thursday, August 11, 2016.
Attorney Don Pumphrey Jr. is a former prosecutor, former law enforcement officer, and a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney.