Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Domestic Violence

A person who reasonably fears he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence can request that an injunction or stay away order be entered against the aggressor. How does this standard play out in real cases? As is seen in Zapiola v. Kordecki, 210 So.3d 249 (Fla. 2d DCA 2017), the court must scrutinize the timing of the alleged incidents, and the reasonableness of the fear alleged. 

In the Zapiola case, the petitioner based her request for an injunction against her former girlfriend on three incidents: (1) that four years earlier when the parties were dating, the respondent threw a drink at her and punched her in the face; (2) that the respondent's job as a traffic aide would allow the respondent to cause the petitioner harm; and (3) that the respondent has repeatedly attempted to contact the petitioner via telephone and Facebook. 

The trial court entered an injunction against the respondent and she appealed, alleging the petitioner did not provide sufficient grounds for an injunction to be entered. The appellate court agreed, holding one isolated incident of violence which is remote in time cannot support an injunction in the absence of other current allegations of violence.

The other incidents of violence alleged by the petitioner were not violence at all, the appellate court reasoned. The accusation that the respondent was a traffic aide and thus would cause harm to petitioner was too vague to support a finding that the petitioner had a reasonable basis to fear violence from the petitioner. Last, the petitioner's concern that the respondent was continually trying to contact her did not show there was a basis to fear immediate harm from the respondent. 

Having a domestic violence injunction on your record may affect your ability to apply for and maintain certain jobs. Obtaining an injunction is important for your safety if you believe you are or will become a victim of domestic violence. Giving yourself the best shot at defending against or obtaining an injunction against domestic violence starts with a consultation with a Miami domestic violence lawyer.