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Injunctions for Protection in Pasco County, FL

Were you served with a petition for a protective order? These petitions are intended to protect people from acts of domestic violence, dating violence, repeat violence or stalking. The protection orders are often called "restraining orders" or "injunctions."

If your case will be heard in Pasco County at either the New Port Richey or Dade City courthouse, then you have come to the right place. The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm aggressively defend people at these hearings against false or exaggerated claims in Pasco County, FL.

Just because the court granted the temporary request for an ex parte protective order does not mean that the judge will find sufficient evidence to support the allegations at the return hearing, especially when you are represented by an experienced attorney.

Never violate the temporary injunction or let anyone you know contact the petitioner on your behalf. Instead, follow the letter and spirit of the order to cease all contact with the other person.

Act quickly. The hearing is usually scheduled within 15 days of when the petition is filed. An attorney can help you aggressively fight the allegations with the goal of getting the case dropped. When you hire an attorney, the attorney can investigate the allegations and talk with everyone involved.

Attorneys for Injunctions for Protection in Pasco County, FL

With offices conveniently located in New Port Richey, FL, our attorneys represent clients in injunction hearings throughout the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Pasco County including:

  • the West Pasco Judicial Center at 7530 Little Road in New Port Richey, FL; and
  • the Robert D. Sumner Courthouse at 38053 Live Oak Avenue, Dade City, FL.

Call an attorney that is familiar with the procedures that are most effective to fight against false or exaggerated allegations leading to a petition for a protective injunction order. Because these cases involve allegations of violence, protective hearings are quasi-criminal proceedings that come with a lifetime of consequences.

Under Florida law, a "Petition for Protection from Domestic Violence" can be filed by anyone who believes they are the victim of any act of domestic violence or has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming the victim of any act of domestic violence. Other types of petitioners for protection involve repeat violence, sexual violence, stalking, and cyber-stalking.

Our attorneys for protective order hearings in Pasco County, FL, can help you fight false or exaggerated accusations in domestic violence, dating violence, repeat violence, or stalking injunctions. We also represent clients at protective order hearings for an injunction in Dade City, FL.

In many of these cases, we also represent clients charged with domestic violence crimes in Pasco County, FL.

Call 727-807-6392 today.


Procedures for Domestic Violence Hearings in Pasco County

What is the difference between the petitioner and the respondent? The petitioner is the person filing the petition. The respondent is the person responding to the petition.

The petitioner is not charged a fee for filing a domestic, stalking, repeat, dating or sexual violence petition. After the petition is filed, the Sheriff of the county where the respondent is located will serve the Respondent with a copy of the petition.

When the petitioner arrives at the courthouse, the clerk will provide assistant to the petitioner with the process for applying for an injunction. The Clerk will help the petitioner file a petition for a Domestic Violence Injunction (sometimes called a restraining order).

In Pasco County, the Clerk's Office also helps the petitioner decide on the right forms to use depending on whether the allegations involve domestic violence, stalking, repeat violence, dating violence or sexual violence.


Stages of an Injunction for Protection Case in Pasco County, FL

The stages of an injunction for protection case in Pasco County, FL, include the following:

  • The Petition is Filed - after the petition is filed it will be forwarded to a judge for review;
  • The Temporary Injunction - after the judge reviews the petition, the judge will decide whether or not to grant a temporary injunction on an emergency basis and when the "return" hearing will be scheduled;
  • The Return Hearing - At the return hearing the judge in New Port Richey or Dade City, FL, will hear the facts of the case and decide whether a final judgment of injunction will be granted and the terms of the final judgment for injunction;
  • Violations - If the petitioner believes the respondent has violated the terms of the final order then the petitioner will be sent to the Domestic Violence desk in the clerk’s office to file an affidavit of violation or other appropriate pleading which are reviewed by the judge or the State Attorney's Office;
  • Modifications - Either party may file a motion for modification if they feel there is some portion of the restraining order that needs to be modified; or
  • Requests for Dismissal - Either party may file a motion to dismiss the injunction that is considered by a judge.

An experienced attorney in Pasco County, FL, can help you decide the best way to get an injunction for protection modified or dismissed.


Why was the Temporary Injunction for Protection Granted?

The Petitioner begins the process of seeking a protective order by appearing at one of the courthouses in Pasco County, FL, and filling out a form. These forms can be submitted at the courthouse in either New Port Richey or Dade City, FL.

The process of determining whether the petitioner be granted a temporary injunction or protective restraining order is made on an "ex-parte basis." That means the judge only gets to hear one side of the story and must assume the allegations to be true.

The Respondent does not have an opportunity to be heard until the return hearing which is usually scheduled just a few weeks later. The hearings can involve allegations of domestic violence, dating violence, repeat violence, or stalking violence.

The sheriff's office or another local law enforcement agency will serve the temporary injunction or protective order on the Respondent. The paperwork notifies the Respondent that he must appear in court to contest the issuance of the protective order. If the Respondent fails to appear, then the protective order will most likely be granted on a long-term or permanent basis.

Read the injunction carefully and follow it exactly. Do not do anything to contact the Petitioner or have anyone else contact the Petitioner. Follow the injunction by letter and spirit in all ways at all times. If you violate the injunction you can be charged with violation of the injunction or aggravated stalking.


Defending Against False or Exaggerated Accusations of Violence

In many of these cases, the Petitioner is motivated to make false or exaggerated accusations. If you did not commit prior acts of violence or do not pose any threat of future violence, then you should contest the injunction.

If the injunction is granted, then you may lose certain important civil rights including the right to possess a firearm or ammunition. More importantly, you can never seal or expunge the record alleging violence even if the judge ultimately finds that the accusations are unfounded.

Allegations made in protective injunction petitions typically show up during even routine background checks for employment.

In many cases, the existence of the petition and of the unverified allegations contained in the petition are defamatory and cause unwarranted damage to the reputation of the person named as the respondent.

Florida law does not currently provide for the correction of the public record by the removal of such a petition. Removing the record from public view would be the only means of protecting the reputation of an individual named in such a petition, but that option is not currently available under Florida law. In other words, you can't seal or expunge the records related to the filing of the petition or the petition itself.


The Violence Injunction Hearing is in a Few Days, What Can I Do?

In many of these cases, the Respondent is served with the temporary protective injunction just a few days before the return hearing is scheduled. Finding the right attorney within that time period is difficult enough. Being prepared for the hearing within that time period is nearly impossible.

For that reason, the Court will consider a motion to continue the hearing with good cause. If you have retained an attorney to defend you the attorney may ask for a continuance to do any of the following:

  • Take the Petitioner's deposition so that he or she can be questioned under oath about the allegations contained in the petition;
  • Issue a subpoena so that relevant witnesses can be compelled to attend the hearing and questioned under oath including neighbors or law enforcement officers.

If you are served with a petition for an injunction and plan to hire an attorney, it is important to hire the attorney as quickly as possible and before the return hearing. Your attorney is in the best position to ask for the continuance.


Where are Injunctions for Protection Cases Heard in Pasco County, FL?

A hearing on the petition for an injunction for protection against domestic violence, repeat violence, sexual violence, stalking or cyberstalking will be held at one of the following addresses:

Injunction Hearings at the New Port Richey Courthouse
West Pasco Judicial Center
7530 Little Road
New Port Richey, FL 34654-5598
727-847-2411, ext 2211
 
Injunction Hearings at the Dade City Courthouse
Robert D. Sumner Judicial Center
38053 Live Oak Avenue
Dade City, FL 33523-3805
352-523-2411, ext 2211

According to the 2017 Performance Review Report from the Sixth Judicial Circuit, case managers in the Sixth Judicial Circuit in and for Pasco County, FL, maximize the efficient use of court resources.

Although there are no case managers specifically assigned to civil domestic violence in Pasco County, the staff assisted in setting 87 orders to show cause hearings for non-compliance with the court's order and staff attended 6 hearings identified for possible assignment to the unified family court in West Pasco.


Definitions for Violence Protection Injunction in Florida

Florida Law provides that domestic violence can include any type of criminal offense resulting in physical injury. In addition, the following types of criminal offenses are included within the definition of domestic violence as defined in Florida Statutes Chapter 741:

  • assault;
  • aggravated assault;
  • battery;
  • aggravated battery;
  • sexual assault;
  • sexual battery;
  • stalking;
  • aggravated stalking;
  • kidnapping; or
  • false imprisonment.

For a petition for domestic violence, the petitioner and respondent must be domestically related. This means that the act must occur between two people who are:

  • spouses (husband and wife);
  • former spouses (ex-husband and ex-wife);
  • persons related by blood or marriage (including siblings, parents, or children);
  • persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family (live-in boyfriend or girlfriend, gay or lesbian couple); or 
  • persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have resided together at any time.

Repeat Violence Injunctions for Protection in Pasco County

For the purposes of an injunction for protection against repeat violence in Pasco County, Florida Statutes Chapter 784 defines repeat violence as:

"two incidents of violence or stalking committed by the respondent, one of which must have been within 6 months of the filing of the petition, which are directed against the petitioner or the petitioner's immediate family member."


Stalking Injunction for Protection in Pasco County

For purposes of an injunction for stalking in Pasco County, Florida Statutes Chapter 784 defines stalking as: "someone is purposefully following or harassing you repeatedly over a period of time for no legitimate purpose, causing you emotional stress. If in doing so, he/she threatens your life or threatens to harm you, with the intent to cause you reasonable fear for your safety, then the act becomes aggravated."

If you were served with a temporary injunction for protection against stalking under Florida Statute Section 784.0485, then contact an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm today.


Dating Violence for Protection in Pasco County

For purposes of an injunction for protection from dating violence in Pasco County, FL, Florida Statutes Chapter 784 defines dating violence as violence between individuals who have or have had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.

Dating violence does not include violence in a casual acquaintanceship or violence between individuals who only have engaged in ordinary fraternization in a business or social context. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the consideration of the following factors:

  1. a dating relationship must have existed within the past 6 months;
  2. the nature of the relationship must have been characterized by the expectation of affection or sexual involvement between the parties; and
  3. the frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship must have included that the persons have been involved over time and on a continuous basis during the course of the relationship.

Additional Resourses

Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence in Pasco County - For information on finding a Domestic Violence Shelter in Pasco County, including in New Port Richey or Dade City, then visit the website for the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Pasco County Courts Protective Injunctions - Visit the Clerk of Court website for information on the processes and procedures used to obtain an injunction for protection (sometimes called a "restraining order") against domestic violence, dating violence, stalking violence or repeat violence.

Domestic Violence Information in Pasco County - Visit the website of the Sixth Judicial Circuit serving Pasco County, FL, to learn more about domestic violence. Find contact information for the clerk of court, victim and witness services at the State Attorney's Office, shelters for battered women. From the website of the Sixth Judicial Circuit you can also find videos on the effect of domestic violence on babies and children, how to file an injunction for protection against domestic violence, how to file a motion to modify or extend the injunction or how to file a motion to dismiss the protective order.


Finding an Attorney for a Protective Restraining Order Hearing

If you were served with a petition for an injunction against violence, including domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or repeat violence, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney with offices in New Port Richey, FL, at the Sammis Law Firm.

We represent clients throughout Pasco County, including at the courthouse at the Dade City courthouse and the New Port Richey courthouse.

If the allegations made against you are false or exaggerated, you need an attorney to represent you and fight for an outright dismissal of the petition. We can begin your case today.

Call 813-250-0500 for a free consultation.


This article was last updated on Friday, August 24, 2018.