Injunctions Against Sexual Violence
People who believe that they have been victims of sexual violence like sexual battery can obtain an injunction for protection against the perpetrator. The injunction for protection may also be called a protective order, and it can order varying types of protection. For example, it could prevent the alleged perpetrator from coming within 500 feet of the alleged victim. If someone has filed an injunction against sexual violence against you, you should retain a skillful St. Petersburg sex crime attorney. At Hanlon Law, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of people accused of sex crimes.Injunctions Against Sexual Violence
Sexual violence is defined under Florida Statute section 784.046. It includes any of the following: (1) sexual battery, (2) a lewd or lascivious act in the presence of or perpetrated against someone under 16 years old, (3) sexual performance by a child, (4) luring a child, or (5) any other forcible felony in which a sexual act was attempted or perpetrated. Importantly, it does not matter whether criminal charges based on what happened were pursued or dismissed by the prosecutor.
An injunction can be sought by a victim of sexual violence even if the prosecutor decided not to file charges. A prosecutor may decide that there is not enough evidence to pursue the charges or to prove them to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt, but an injunction can be obtained without proving the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. You may not think that this is important, but in fact, violating an injunction that a court has put in place can be grounds for further criminal charges and further penalties. It also can affect family law proceedings.
A parent or guardian of a minor can also seek an injunction for protection against sexual violence on behalf of the minor child if the parent has reported the sexual violence to a law enforcement agency and has been cooperating with the criminal proceeding, regardless of its outcome. The parent can also seek an injunction if the respondent has been sentenced to prison for sexual violence, and their term of imprisonment either has expired or is due to expire within 90 days of the petition's filing date.
The victim will submit a sworn petition to try to obtain the injunction. It will state any incidents of sexual violence, such as lewd or lascivious molestation, including the specific facts and circumstances giving rise to the request. A parent or legal guardian asking for a protective injunction for a child needs to have been an eyewitness to the events, or have direct evidence of the facts and circumstances giving rise to them, if the other parent is the alleged perpetrator against whom the injunction is sought. Alternatively, the petitioner needs to have reasonable cause to believe that the minor is a victim of repeat sexual violence, such that relief should be provided, if the respondent is someone who is not a legal guardian, stepparent, or parent of the child.
Under Florida Statute section 784.047, it is a misdemeanor to willfully violate a protective injunction by refusing to vacate a dwelling shared by the parties, going within 500 feet of the petitioner's home, school, or workplace (and those of any named family or household members), committing further violence against the petitioner, intentionally threatening violence to the petitioner, communicating directly with the petitioner by phone or in-person, coming within 100 feet of the petitioner's car, defacing the petitioner's property, or refusing to surrender guns or ammunition when so ordered. Moreover, if you have two or more prior convictions for violating the same injunction, you can be convicted of a third-degree felony and may face time in prison.Consult an Experienced Defense Attorney in the St. Petersburg Area
If you are faced with a petition for an injunction against sexual violence, you should retain an experienced criminal attorney. Our founder, Will Hanlon, has been providing representation in the St. Petersburg area since 1994 and can develop a strategy to fight both the charges and the petition for an injunction. You can call Hanlon Law at 727.289.0222 or submit our online form to get started on discussing your situation with a St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer. Taking this step during the pre-filing phase of a criminal investigation may be especially critical in preserving your future.