Florida Dating Violence

Victims of dating violence are now better able to defend themselves due to stronger Florida laws giving these victims added protections. Dating violence includes any type of assault or battery and encompasses stalking, false imprisonment and kidnapping between persons currently involved in a romantic relationship. The law affords the same protection to victims of dating violence as it offers victims of domestic violence, including the ability to file a criminal complaint and a police report regarding the alleged dating violence incident—so long as a dating relationship of at least six months has been established between the victim and the alleged perpetrator.

Florida law also requires school districts to include dating violence in health education curriculums as well as making resources available to victims of dating violence. An injunction for dating violence may be necessary; the attorneys at The Law Place will act on your behalf to file any necessary paperwork to ensure you are fully protected. Our attorneys understand that this is a difficult time and will work to ensure all the necessary legalities are taken care of on your behalf. If you feel a temporary injunction has been filed against you erroneously, we will attend the upcoming hearing, arguing your case on your behalf.

The Definition of Dating Violence

Whether a couple has (or had) a continuing romantic or sexual relationship with one another is the first criteria in determining whether charges of dating violence can be considered. The association between the couple must have been ongoing for at least six months and must involve the expectation of fondness or intimacy. The frequency and nature of interaction between the couple will be considered. The term “dating violence” does not encompass violence committed between casual acquaintances nor does it include violence between two persons who have engaged only in ordinary interactions of a business or social context.

Who May Bring Charges of Dating Violence?

A person who believes they are the victim of dating violence—and has sufficient reason to believe there is impending peril of becoming the target of additional acts of violence—as well as the parent or guardian of a teen or young adult who is still living in the family home and is believed to be a victim of dating violence are able to file a sworn petition requesting an injunction in court.

If a parent files for an injunction on behalf of a minor child, teen or young adult, that person must reside at home with parents and the parent must have credible and reasonable cause to believe the child is a victim of dating violence. The alleged act or acts of violence must be detailed in the petition; if there were witnesses to the act of violence, witness statements may be included as well as photographs of the results of the violent act. Once a petition for injunction is filed, a hearing will be set at the earliest possible time and the alleged abuser will be served with a copy of the petition, a notice of the hearing and a temporary injunction, if issued.

What is Involved in a Temporary Injunction?

When the petition is received, the judge will determine whether an immediate and present danger of dating violence exists. At the hearing, the judge will only consider verified pleadings and affidavits unless the respondent appears at the hearing. If the only grounds for denying a temporary injunction lies in the fact that there does not appear to be an immediate and present danger to the alleged victim, the court will set a full hearing on the petition for injunction at the earliest possible time. The full hearing may not be set later than the date when the temporary injunction expires.

If a temporary injunction is granted, the respondent will be restrained from committing any act of violence, from having contact with the petitioner, from coming within 100 feet of the petitioner’s car and from coming within 500 feet of the petitioner’s current or future residence, current or subsequent place of employment or school and any places regularly frequented by the petitioner. The respondent will not be allowed to possess a firearm or ammunition and will be required to surrender any firearms and ammunition to the sheriff’s office. Any other relief the court deems necessary will be granted for the protection of the petitioner.

Information Regarding Permanent Injunctions

If a final or permanent injunction is issued, the terms of that injunction will remain in effect until they are modified or dissolved. Either party may make application at any time to modify or dissolve the injunction. A Court may extend the injunction for successive periods if the injunction is issued for a fixed period of time. The permanent injunction affords the same protections as the temporary injunction, and is valid and enforceable in all counties of the State of Florida. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will electronically transmit information between Florida criminal justice agencies regarding dating violence injunctions. If the respondent violates the injunction, such a violation may be prosecuted as a criminal act. Willful violation of an injunction for protection against dating violence is a misdemeanor of the first degree.

If you are the victim of dating violence or you have been charged with dating violence, it can be extremely beneficial for you to contact an attorney from The Law Place. We will thoroughly examine the facts surrounding your case and file any paperwork necessary on your behalf. Our attorneys are knowledgeable in Florida law pertaining to dating violence and have extensive experience helping those on both sides of dating violence.