Injunctions for Protection
If you were served with a temporary injunction for protection against domestic violence, repeat violence, sexual violence, stalking or cyberstalking, then contact an experienced attorney at Sammis Law Firm.
We only represent the respondent – the person served with the injunction for protection – who wishes to fight false or exaggerated allegations in the petition for the injunction. We can help you assert your rights at the hearing including the right to talk to the judge at the hearing.
If you cannot go to the hearing, your attorney can help you contact the court to ask for another court date. Unless your request to continue the hearing is granted, you must attend the court date at the time and place indicated in the order.
Our attorneys can represent you at the return hearing at the Robert D. Sumner Judicial Center at 38053 Live Oak Avenue, Dade City, FL 33523, in a case pending before Judge Lynn Tepper. Judge Tepper has been a judge in Pasco County since 1985.
In Pasco County, FL, injunction cases for domestic violence, dating violence, repeat violence, sexual violence and stalking are heard in the Family Court Sections by the Honorable Alicia Polk (Section C) and the Honorable Kemba Johnson Lewis (Section C1). Judge Alicia Polk and Judge Kemba Johnson Lewis also preside over indirect criminal contempt affidavits prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office.
Attorneys for Protection Injunctions in Dade City, FL
If you need an attorney for a hearing involving allegations of domestic violence, dating violence, repeat violence, sexual violence or stalking, then contact an experienced attorney at Sammis Law Firm. We represent clients throughout Pasco County at the courthouse in New Port Richey and Dade City.
Sections 741.30, 784.046, and 784.0485, Florida Statutes, provides that temporary ex parte injunctions for dating, domestic, repeat, and sexual violence and stalking injunctions are issued for fifteen (15) days and that a return hearing on the injunction is to be held prior to the expiration of the temporary injunction.
After being served with the petition, you don’t have much time. We can begin your defense today. Call us today for a consultation in the office or over the phone at (813) 250-0500.
Courtroom Seating for an Injunction Case in Dade City
If you were served with a temporary injunction, you must appear at a hearing on the injunction before the Honorable Alicia Polk in Section C or the Honorable Kemba Johnson Lewis in Section C1.
For injunction cases in Dade City, all parties must watch the preliminary informational DVD. The video plays at the start of the docket. Petitioners are free to watch it in advance at the Domestic Violence Clerk’s area, at Sunrise, or at the Bay Area Legal Services.
If the video has been previously watched, then the Petitioner or Petitioner’s attorney must sign and file the appropriate form with the clerk.
Until the bailiff directs you inside the courtroom, Petitioners and Respondents must sit in separate waiting areas. Respondents’ witnesses shall wait between the traffic clerk and the enclosed outdoor courtyard.
If a Petitioner claims to have a substantial fear of a Respondent, the Petitioner should ask security at the front entrance to wait with security personnel. Bailiffs will be patrolling the waiting area. Once the bailiff directs you inside the courtroom, Petitioners and Respondents must sit in separate rows.
What is a Temporary Injunction in Florida?
If you were served with a court order issued by the Circuit Court for the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Pasco County, for a case pending in the Dade City courthouse (often called the temporary injunction) then you must attend the hearing before the Honorable Alicia Polk (Section C) or the Honorable Kemba Johnson Lewis (Section C1).
The temporary order for protection will remain in effect until your court hearing. It may be extended by the judge at the hearing. Although the court can enter a temporary order based on one person’s sworn petition alone, the temporary order is only in effect for a short time period. The purpose of the return hearing is to give the respondent the chance to address the court during the hearing to explain why the allegations are false or exaggerated and why a permanent injunction should NOT be granted.
If you are served with the temporary injunction then you are the respondent because you must respond to the injunction. The person who filed the petition for the injunction is called the petitioner.
The temporary injunction is a civil injunction and not a criminal charge or case, although it has many of the same consequences. For this reason, the temporary injunction hearing is sometimes called a quasi-criminal proceeding.
You should read the court order very carefully because it tells you what you can and cannot do before the issues are decided at the return hearing. The date for the return hearing is listed in the order.
What Does the Temporary Injunction Do?
If you were served with a temporary injunction order, then a judge in Pasco County has ordered that you:
- Do NOT contact the other person in the case in person or by phone, emails, text messages, letters, sending gifts, or having others talk to the other person for you. This means you may not have contact even if the other person contacts you first.
- Do NOT go to any places listed in the temporary injunction order including the petitioner’s home, place of work, or other places listed in the order signed by the judge) or within 100 feet of the other person’s car. You may not have contact even if you are invited.
- Only the judge can change the order. The other person cannot decide to change or dismiss the order without the court’s express written permission in the form of an Order Dismissing the Injunction.
- You can be arrested and charged with a crime for violating the injunction.
What an Attorney Can Do For You at the Return Injunction Hearing
At the return hearing listed on the temporary injunction order issued by a judge in Pasco County, an attorney can help you assert your rights including:
- The Right to Call Witnesses – Your witnesses must come to court to testify. Letters from witnesses are not allowed. Your attorney can help you subpoena witnesses and force them to bring documents to the hearing. Police officers are usually required to be served with a subpoena at least 5 days before the hearing. If you do not have time to get the subpoenas served prior to the hearing, then your attorney can request a continuance so that you have time to be properly prepared.
- The Right to Present Evidence – You have the right to present relevant evidence such as pictures, phone records, messages, or anything else that you want the court to consider. It is particularly important to bring physical evidence that contradicts the petitioner’s allegations.
- Bring Proof of Income – If the other person is asking for child support or alimony, you should bring a financial affidavit or proof of income such as pay stubs, tax returns, etc.
- Bring Relevant Documents – In some cases, you should bring car titles and deeds to home or other shared property.
- Bring Copies of Any Other Court Orders – If you have previously been involved in litigation with the petitioner then you should bring other court orders such as a divorce decree or orders involving custody or child support.
What if I Don’t Attend the Injunction Hearing?
If you fail to appear at the injunction hearing at the Robert D. Sumner Judicial Center in Dade City, FL, after receiving notice and a continuance is not granted, then the court can enter an injunction in your absence.
What Happens at the Injunction for Protection Hearing in Dade City, FL
The purpose of the injunction for protection hearing in Dade City, FL, is for the judge to decide whether or not to issue a final or permanent injunction.
If you have a pending criminal case about the same or related incidents, then you have the right NOT to testify in the civil injunction hearing because anything you say can be used against you in the criminal case.
At the hearing, you can consent (agree to the injunction), or you can object (disagree with the injunction being entered against you). If you object, a full hearing will be held. Before you agree, talk with an experienced attorney about the potential consequences that can last a lifetime.
If you have a full hearing, the Circuit Court Judge, the Honorable Lynn Tepper, will listen to both parties, witnesses, and review the evidence. At the hearing, you will have a chance to talk to the judge about the petitioner’s allegations.
If the final injunction is entered, it is not a “two-way” order. The final injunction order only restricts your behavior. Because the petition has no legitimate reason to contact you, if the petition attempts to contact you, you can file a cross-petition for protection from stalking, although you should talk to an experienced attorney about your rights.
The Cross-Petition for Protection in Pasco County
If you feel that you are being stalked, harassed, threatened, or if you fear that you are a victim of violence or are in imminent danger of being a victim of violence by the other person, then you have the right to petition the court for an injunction against the other person in your case.
Your attorney can help you file a petition in the clerk’s office to request a cross-petition for protection (temporary injunction) against the petitioner.
Finding an Attorney for an Injunction Hearing in Dade City, FL
If you were served with a Petition for Protection against Stalking, then contact an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. We can help you decide what to do if you were served with a Notice of Hearing an Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence, Repeat Violence, Dating Violence, or Sexual Violence.
Our attorneys represent clients in an injunction for protection hearings in Pasco County, FL, at the courthouse in Dade City and New Port Richey.
Contact us for a confidential consultation at our New Port Richey office. You can discuss the case with an attorney either in the office or over the phone today.
This article was last updated on Friday, August 27, 2018.