Articles Posted in Hearings

So you went to court and fought a domestic violence injunction, but the Court found grounds to enter the injunction anyway.  What does that mean for you and your rights?  The following is a list of consequences that may be imposed upon you as a result of the injunction:

  • May be ordered to complete a 26-week Batterer’s Intervention Program (BIP)
  • Loss of concealed carry rights

You have been served with a domestic violence injunction in Florida.  Now what?  Though you have been served with an injunction, most people don’t understand what you should and should not do to abide by an injunction.  See below some handy rules of thumb:

  • DO hire an attorney to represent you as soon as possible
  • DON’T contact the petitioner and/or ask the petitioner to drop the injunction

The Florida Supreme Court will take up a question about whether a 2017 change to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law should apply to older cases.  The 2017 change shifted the burden of proof from the defense to the prosecution.  Two appellate courts have split about whether the change in 2017 should apply retroactively to defendants who were arrested before the law took effect but whose cases were pending.

GavelThe case is Tashara Love v. The State of Florida, 3D17-2112 (Fla. 3d DCA May 11, 2018) a case that was heard by the Third District Court of Appeal.  Love’s writ of prohibition was denied, essentially denying her statutory immunity under the Florida Stand Your Ground Law, F.S. 776.032.  On November 26, 2015, Love and a group of women were involved in an altercation outside a Miami-Dade nightclub.  Love shot the victim, Thomas Lane, as he was about to hit her daughter.  Love was charged with one count of attempted second degree murder with a firearm and Love invoked the Stand Your Ground Law because she committed the crime while defending her daughter.

Before the date the immunity hearing was held, the Florida Legislature amended F.S. 776.032.  Prior to the amendment, the Florida Supreme Court held that defendants had the burden of proof in pretrial immunity hearings and they had to prove by a preponderance of the evidence their use of force was justified.  The amendment provided that once a self-defense claim of immunity from criminal prosecution was raised by the defendant, the burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence is on the prosecution seeking to overcome the immunity. The State argued at her immunity hearing that the statute did not apply retroactively, and the trial court agreed and applied the preponderance of the evidence standard of proof.  The Third DCA ruled that the statute did not apply retroactively, and Love was not entitled to the shift in burden of proof.

Community Control in Florida is a supervision program that is an alternative to incarceration only used in felony cases.  If you are sentenced to Community Control, you are confined to your home unless you are working, attending school, doing public service hours, participating in treatment, or any activity that has been approved by your Community Control officer.  It’s a benefit because you are home with your family and not in prison, but it can be very hard to follow the conditions.  Frequently, probation

House arrestThe Department of Corrections will supervise you and assign you a Community Control officer (think probation officer).  Offenders will be required to report weekly to the Community Control officer and complete a daily activity log each week and a Community Control Offender Schedule to have preapproved regarding your whereabouts for the upcoming week.  You will also be required to provide an hourly accounting of your whereabouts for the prior week to ensure you did not deviate from your preapproved schedule.

One thing to note is while you may be approved for your residence, common areas such as recreational facilities, swimming pool area, business office, laundry facilities, or the mail area are not included in areas you may be during Community Control.

The Anti-Murder Act in Florida requires violent felony offenders or other certain types of offenders who violate probation or community control to remain in jail until the court determines whether the individual poses a danger to the community.  This law was established in March 2007.  The Florida Department of Corrections will designate those offenders as Violent Felony Offenders of Special Concern or “VFO” on the violation of probation or community control affidavit.

Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure 3.790(b)(3) indicates that except when the alleged violation of probation is based solely on the defendant’s failure to pay costs, fines, or restitution, the defendant shall not be granted bail or any other form of pretrial release prior to the resolution of the probation or community control violation hearing.  The court shall not dismiss the probation violation warrant pending against a defendant without holding a recorded violation hearing at which both the state and the accused are represented.  At that hearing, the court shall make a written finding as to whether the defendant poses a danger to the community.

The court bases its findings on one or more of the following factors:

alibi crimeYou may find yourself arrested for a crime that occurred at a time you were somewhere else completely at the same time the crime was being committed!  There is a special procedure to handle this situation in Florida criminal courts and its important that those procedures are followed or it could result in your evidence not being used at trial.

In Florida pursuant to Rule 3.200, Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, upon the written demand of the prosecuting attorney, a defendant in a criminal case who intends to offer evidence of an alibi in their defense must file a Notice of Alibi with the Court and serve it on the prosecutor no less than 10 days before trial.

The demand from the prosecutor will include the place, date and time of the commission of the crime charged as is known to the prosecutor.

Domestic violence injunctions are serious business. Having an injunction issued against you limits your rights in certain areas. It limits the freedom to go certain places, it limits the freedom to possess firearms, and it creates criminal liability for violating the injunction. Florida Statute 741.30 governs the circuit court’s injunction powers in regard to Domestic Violence. The statute is designed to make seeking a protective order an easy endeavor.

As a Jacksonville criminal defense and family law attorney, I’ve defended people in proceedings to have injunctions put in place, and I’ve also represented people seeking the protection of a domestic violence injunction. A common occurrence is that people are [understandably] highly emotional immediately after whatever incident led her [or him] to seek a domestic violence injunction, and he or she is adamant about having the protection in place. However, time has a way of healing wounds. The anger slips away, but now there is a court order that says that Boyfriend can’t come near Girlfriend or contact her for the next year [or maybe even permanently]. These situations can happen in both directions, but the most common scenario in my experience is that the woman is seeking protection from the man.

The thing about the injunctions are that they don’t tell Girlfriend that she is to stay away from Boyfriend; in most instances, it’s a one-way street. Boyfriend must stay away from and can’t contact Girlfriend, even if she says that it’s okay, because the judge said, “DON’T DO IT!” So what happens? Well, Boyfriend [thinking the coast is clear] accepts an invitation from Girlfriend to come by and spend time with her. Things are great, until there is a disagreement about something, usually some trivial and incredibly unimportant thing. By the way, while things were great, Boyfriend and Girlfriend called and texted each other ALL the time. So, after there is a falling out, she has plenty of proof that he’s violated the injunction, which is a crime.
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Navigating through Florida’s complicated labyrinth of criminal law is a task best left to the trained professional– someone that speaks the language and can even walk the walk when it comes down to it. In the area of criminal law, knowing the rules regarding what is supposed to happen and when it is supposed to happen is a very valuable tool to possess. A criminal defense attorney that is knowledgeable of the rules will prove to be your greatest ally in the unfortunate event that you are arrested.

gavel-2-1409592-m.jpgFlorida law, under Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.133, requires a nonadversary preliminary hearing within 48 hours of a person being arrested; this is commonly referred to as “first appearance”, since it is typically the first time that a person appears before a judge after being arrested. At this hearing, the presiding judge will determine whether there is probable cause to believe (1) that a crime has been committed and (2) that the defendant is the person that committed the crime.

The amount of a bond required is usually set during the first appearance. It is important to immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to advocate on your behalf to help ensure that a reasonable and appropriate bond amount is set. Moreover, if it can be demonstrated that no probable cause exists, a defendant can be released without a requirement to post a bond. Another situation that could lead to release without a bond requirement is where the hearing is not held within the time frame that is required by Florida law, which is 48 hours; however, in extraordinary circumstances two separate 24-hour extensions may be applied.
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