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Domestic Battery / Violation of Injunctions / Stalking

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Florida Domestic Battery Statutes

741.28Domestic violence; definitions.—As used in ss. 741.28741.31:

(1) “Department” means the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

(2) “Domestic violence” means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.

(3) “Family or household member” means spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married. With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit.

(4) “Law enforcement officer” means any person who is elected, appointed, or employed by any municipality or the state or any political subdivision thereof who meets the minimum qualifications established in s. 943.13 and is certified as a law enforcement officer under s. 943.1395.

 

741.283Minimum term of imprisonment for domestic violence.If a person is adjudicated guilty of a crime of domestic violence, as defined in s. 741.28, and the person has intentionally caused bodily harm to another person, the court shall order the person to serve a minimum of 5 days in the county jail as part of the sentence imposed, unless the court sentences the person to a nonsuspended period of incarceration in a state correctional facility. This section does not preclude the court from sentencing the person to probation, community control, or an additional period of incarceration.

Florida Violation of Injunctions Statute

741.31Violation of an injunction for protection against domestic violence.

(1) In the event of a violation of the injunction for protection against domestic violence when there has not been an arrest, the petitioner may contact the clerk of the circuit court of the county in which the violation is alleged to have occurred. The clerk shall either assist the petitioner in the preparation of an affidavit in support of the violation or direct the petitioner to the office operated by the court within the circuit that has been designated by the chief judge of that circuit as the central intake point for injunction violations and where the petitioner can receive assistance in the preparation of the affidavit in support of the violation.

(2) The affidavit shall be immediately forwarded by the office assisting the petitioner to the state attorney of that circuit and to such court or judge as the chief judge of that circuit determines to be the recipient of affidavits of violation. If the affidavit alleges a crime has been committed, the office assisting the petitioner shall also forward a copy of the petitioner’s affidavit to the appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation. No later than 20 days after receiving the initial report, the local law enforcement agency shall complete their investigation and forward the report to the state attorney. The policy adopted by the state attorney in each circuit under s. 741.2901(2), shall include a policy regarding intake of alleged violations of injunctions for protection against domestic violence under this section. The intake shall be supervised by a prosecutor who, pursuant to s. 741.2901(1), has been designated and assigned to handle domestic violence cases. The state attorney shall determine within 30 working days whether its office will proceed to file criminal charges, or prepare a motion for an order to show cause as to why the respondent should not be held in criminal contempt, or prepare both as alternative findings, or file notice that the case remains under investigation or is pending subject to some other action.

(3) If the court has knowledge, based on its familiarity with the case, that the petitioner, the children of the petitioner, or another person is in immediate danger if the court fails to act prior to the decision of the state attorney to prosecute, it should immediately issue an order of appointment of the state attorney to file a motion for an order to show cause as to why the respondent should not be held in contempt. If the court does not issue an order of appointment of the state attorney, it shall immediately notify the state attorney that the court is proceeding to enforce the violation through criminal contempt.

(4)(a) A person who willfully violates an injunction for protection against domestic violence issued pursuant to s. 741.30, or a foreign protection order accorded full faith and credit pursuant to s. 741.315, by:

1. Refusing to vacate the dwelling that the parties share;

2. Going to, or being within 500 feet of, the petitioner’s residence, school, place of employment, or a specified place frequented regularly by the petitioner and any named family or household member;

3. Committing an act of domestic violence against the petitioner;

4. Committing any other violation of the injunction through an intentional unlawful threat, word, or act to do violence to the petitioner;

5. Telephoning, contacting, or otherwise communicating with the petitioner directly or indirectly, unless the injunction specifically allows indirect contact through a third party;

6. Knowingly and intentionally coming within 100 feet of the petitioner’s motor vehicle, whether or not that vehicle is occupied;

7. Defacing or destroying the petitioner’s personal property, including the petitioner’s motor vehicle; or

8. Refusing to surrender firearms or ammunition if ordered to do so by the court

commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(b)1. It is a violation of s. 790.233, and a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, for a person to violate a final injunction for protection against domestic violence by having in his or her care, custody, possession, or control any firearm or ammunition.

2. It is the intent of the Legislature that the disabilities regarding possession of firearms and ammunition are consistent with federal law. Accordingly, this paragraph shall not apply to a state or local officer as defined in s. 943.10(14), holding an active certification, who receives or possesses a firearm or ammunition for use in performing official duties on behalf of the officer’s employing agency, unless otherwise prohibited by the employing agency.

(5) Whether or not there is a criminal prosecution under subsection (4), the court shall order the respondent to attend a batterers’ intervention program if it finds a willful violation of a domestic violence injunction, unless the court makes written factual findings in its judgment or order which are based on substantial evidence, stating why a batterers’ intervention program would be inappropriate.

(6) Any person who suffers an injury and/or loss as a result of a violation of an injunction for protection against domestic violence may be awarded economic damages for that injury and/or loss by the court issuing the injunction. Damages includes costs and attorneys’ fees for enforcement of the injunction.

 

Florida Stalking Statutes

784.048Stalking; definitions; penalties.

(1) As used in this section, the term:

(a) “Harass” means to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person which causes substantial emotional distress to that person and serves no legitimate purpose.

(b) “Course of conduct” means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, which evidences a continuity of purpose. The term does not include constitutionally protected activity such as picketing or other organized protests.

(c) “Credible threat” means a verbal or nonverbal threat, or a combination of the two, including threats delivered by electronic communication or implied by a pattern of conduct, which places the person who is the target of the threat in reasonable fear for his or her safety or the safety of his or her family members or individuals closely associated with the person, and which is made with the apparent ability to carry out the threat to cause such harm. It is not necessary to prove that the person making the threat had the intent to actually carry out the threat. The present incarceration of the person making the threat is not a bar to prosecution under this section.

(d) “Cyberstalk” means to engage in a course of conduct to communicate, or to cause to be communicated, words, images, or language by or through the use of electronic mail or electronic communication, directed at a specific person, causing substantial emotional distress to that person and serving no legitimate purpose.

(2) A person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person commits the offense of stalking, a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(3) A person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person and makes a credible threat to that person commits the offense of aggravated stalking, a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(4) A person who, after an injunction for protection against repeat violence, sexual violence, or dating violence pursuant to s. 784.046, or an injunction for protection against domestic violence pursuant to s. 741.30, or after any other court-imposed prohibition of conduct toward the subject person or that person’s property, knowingly, willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person commits the offense of aggravated stalking, a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(5) A person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks a child under 16 years of age commits the offense of aggravated stalking, a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(6) A law enforcement officer may arrest, without a warrant, any person that he or she has probable cause to believe has violated this section.

(7) A person who, after having been sentenced for a violation of s. 794.011, s. 800.04, or s. 847.0135(5) and prohibited from contacting the victim of the offense under s. 921.244, willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks the victim commits the offense of aggravated stalking, a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(8) The punishment imposed under this section shall run consecutive to any former sentence imposed for a conviction for any offense under s. 794.011, s. 800.04, or s. 847.0135(5).

(9)(a) The sentencing court shall consider, as a part of any sentence, issuing an order restraining the defendant from any contact with the victim, which may be valid for up to 10 years, as determined by the court. It is the intent of the Legislature that the length of any such order be based upon the seriousness of the facts before the court, the probability of future violations by the perpetrator, and the safety of the victim and his or her family members or individuals closely associated with the victim.

(b) The order may be issued by the court even if the defendant is sentenced to a state prison or a county jail or even if the imposition of the sentence is suspended and the defendant is placed on probation.

 

784.0487Violation of an injunction for protection against stalking or cyberstalking.

(1) If the injunction for protection against stalking or cyberstalking has been violated and the respondent has not been arrested, the petitioner may contact the clerk of the circuit court of the county in which the violation is alleged to have occurred. The clerk shall assist the petitioner in preparing an affidavit in support of reporting the violation or directing the petitioner to the office operated by the court that has been designated by the chief judge of that circuit as the central intake point for violations of injunctions for protection where the petitioner can receive assistance in the preparation of the affidavit in support of the violation.

(2) The affidavit shall be immediately forwarded by the office assisting the petitioner to the state attorney of that circuit and to such judge as the chief judge determines to be the recipient of affidavits of violations of an injunction. If the affidavit alleges that a crime has been committed, the office assisting the petitioner shall also forward a copy of the petitioner’s affidavit to the appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation. No later than 20 days after receiving the initial report, the local law enforcement agency shall complete its investigation and forward a report to the state attorney. The policy adopted by the state attorney in each circuit under s. 741.2901(2) shall include a policy regarding intake of alleged violations of injunctions for protection against stalking or cyberstalking under this section. The intake shall be supervised by a state attorney who has been designated and assigned to handle stalking or cyberstalking cases. The state attorney shall determine within 30 working days whether his or her office will file criminal charges or prepare a motion for an order to show cause as to why the respondent should not be held in criminal contempt, or prepare both as alternative findings, or file notice that the case remains under investigation or is pending subject to some other action.

(3) If the court has knowledge that the petitioner or another person is in immediate danger if the court does not act before the decision of the state attorney to proceed, the court shall immediately issue an order of appointment of the state attorney to file a motion for an order to show cause as to why the respondent should not be held in contempt. If the court does not issue an order of appointment of the state attorney, it shall immediately notify the state attorney that the court is proceeding to enforce the violation through criminal contempt.

(4) A person who willfully violates an injunction for protection against stalking or cyberstalking issued pursuant to s. 784.0485, or a foreign protection order accorded full faith and credit pursuant to s. 741.315, by:

(a) Going to, or being within 500 feet of, the petitioner’s residence, school, place of employment, or a specified place frequented regularly by the petitioner and any named family members or individuals closely associated with the petitioner;

(b) Committing an act of stalking against the petitioner;

(c) Committing any other violation of the injunction through an intentional unlawful threat, word, or act to do violence to the petitioner;

(d) Telephoning, contacting, or otherwise communicating with the petitioner, directly or indirectly, unless the injunction specifically allows indirect contact through a third party;

(e) Knowingly and intentionally coming within 100 feet of the petitioner’s motor vehicle, whether or not that vehicle is occupied;

(f) Defacing or destroying the petitioner’s personal property, including the petitioner’s motor vehicle; or

(g) Refusing to surrender firearms or ammunition if ordered to do so by the court,

commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(5) A person who suffers an injury or loss as a result of a violation of an injunction for protection against stalking or cyberstalking may be awarded economic damages for that injury or loss by the court issuing the injunction. Damages include costs and attorney fees for enforcement of the injunction.

 

Domestic Battery & Stalking Defense from Curtis Murtha

Curtis Murtha specializes in defending charges of domestic battery, violation of injunctions, and stalking. He provides defense services for the Pinellas, Hillsborough, Tampa, and Saint Petersburg areas.