If you have been served a petition for an injunction for protection against domestic violence in Florida, you may wonder what you can do to defend yourself. And, the first question you likely have is what are the possible defenses?
Domestic violence injunction
An injunction, also known as a restraining order, is a court order that prohibits you from contacting or approaching the petitioner. This family or household member claims to be a victim or potential victim of domestic violence. An injunction can also affect your custody, visitation and support rights, as well as your ability to possess firearms and ammunition.
Lack of evidence
The first defense is to attack the evidence, or lack thereof. The petitioner has the burden of proving that he or she is a domestic violence victim or has reasonable cause to believe that he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a domestic violence victim. This means that the petitioner must present evidence. Evidence includes police reports, medical records, photographs, witness statements, etc. If the petitioner fails to provide sufficient evidence, the court may deny the injunction. You can also provide counter evidence.
You may also argue that you acted in self-defense if the petitioner was the aggressor, and you used reasonable force to protect yourself or others from harm. This argument is, essentially, that your use of force is justified as you were defending yourself.
Another argument is that the petitioner consented to the conduct that he or she now claims was domestic violence. Consent is a voluntary agreement to engage in a certain activity, such as sexual intercourse or physical contact.
If the petitioner made false allegations against you for ulterior motives, such as revenge, jealousy, anger or gaining an advantage in a divorce or custody dispute, the fact that the allegations are false is a defense. False allegations are not uncommon in domestic violence cases, especially when emotions are high, and relationships are strained. However, proving that the petitioner lied can be difficult and requires strong evidence, such as contradictory statements, inconsistent behavior or witnesses who can corroborate your version of events.
These are some of the possible defenses that may apply to your case, but they are not exhaustive. Really, the key is to not just let it happen. You can fight back.