Do Domestic Violence Injunctions Last Forever?

Dating and marriage can be tough, especially during an argument. When you live together, it’s not as easy to separate until you become calm enough to move on. Unfortunately, this tension leads to violence sometimes and Domestic Violence Injunctions help settle things down.

Domestic Violence Injunctions force you to avoid someone. The idea is that upset people make bad decisions. Therefore, keep the upset person away until the person isn’t upset. Time heals all wounds.

Although the dust might have settled long ago, these injunctions come with rules. For instance, you can’t possess a gun in Florida while a Final Injunction is in effect. So then how long is enough? Do Final Injunctions last forever? The First District Court of Appeal takes a look at this in Labrake v. Labrake.

Temporary vs. Final Injunction

Courts issue two types of injunctions: temporary and final. If you write a petition for Domestic Violence Injunction that follows the rules, they issue a temporary one. This order protects you like a Final Injunction, but it only lasts until the judge holds a hearing. The idea is that the judge would rather know that you’re safe right away in case a harmful person is after you.

If the judge rules for you at the hearing, then the judge enters a Final Injunction. It can last for as short or long as the judge decides. Sometimes, they last forever. If the judge rules against you, the Temporary Injunction ends.

For more information on Domestic Violence crimes, Domestic Violence Injunctions and the other four injunctions, visit my page on Domestic Violence.

Court Entered Domestic Violence Injunction Over 15 Years Ago

In 2003, a judge grants a Final Injunction against Michael Labrake. At a hearing, the judge finds that he abused his then wife. In 2020, Labrake asks a judge to dissolve the Final Injunction. Labrake testifies that he hasn’t contacted his ex-wife since the injunction and did not wish to contact her now. His ex-wife says that Labrake violated the injunction in 2004 or 2005, but hasn’t since. Also, she’s still afraid of him and mentions the surgeries she needed from the abuse. The judge denies the request and Labrake appeals.

Change in Circumstances Needed to Dissolve Final Injunction

The First District looks at these appeals through the abuse of discretion standard. That’s a tough standard to meet. Basically, the Court defers to the trial judge unless it made a big mistake. However, whether the evidence is legally sufficient to dissolve an injunction is reviewed de novo. That’s a much easier standard to meet. Instead, the Court gets to look at the facts as if it’s the trial judge.

First, it confirms Labrake can file a motion to dissolve. The Court says that either party can move to modify or dissolve a Final Injunction at any time. Next, it looks at how. To do so, you must show a “change in circumstances.” This means that the situation in place during the injunction hearing no longer exists so that continuation serves no valid purpose. The party against the modification must show an objective fear of becoming a domestic violence victim.

Both Labrake and his ex-wife agree that nothing has happened in over 15 years. She doesn’t claim any contact or acts of violence. This counts as a change in circumstances. Although the ex-wife may fear Labrake, this fear is subjective, not objective because nothing has happened for years. Accordingly, the Court dissolves the Final Injunction.

Read Labrake v. Labrake here!

Talk to an Experienced Florida Criminal Defense Attorney!

Domestic Violence cases require help right away. Just because you’ve been arrested, it doesn’t mean the State will file charges. The State reviews evidence, talks to witnesses and gathers proof. Without proof, the case ends quickly. A good lawyer can help you avoid charges. And a Final Injunction. Sometimes, filing charges isn’t in everyone’s best interest.

For years, Mr. Brown worked with a family law firm handling injunctions for their clients. He’s filed them and he’s defended them. He’s even defended a client facing both an injunction and criminal charges at the same time. Because these matters are especially tricky, call Mr. Brown as soon as you can to see if he can help you best protect yourself! Reach out over the phone at (954) 524-6700 or through the Contact Page if you have any questions.

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