Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Domestic Violence
What is needed to obtain an injunction against dating violence in Florida? According to the Florida Statutes, “Any person who is the victim of dating violence and has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming the victim of another act of dating violence, or any person who has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming the victim of an act of dating violence . . . has standing in the circuit court to file a sworn petition for an injunction for protection against dating violence.” 784.046(2)(b), Florida Statutes. The case Stefano v. Long, 2D18-3180 (Fla. 2d DCA August 9, 2019) illustrates how this statute is applied to the specific facts of a case.
The parties were once involved in a relationship. The alleged victim accused her ex-boyfriend of yanking her arm and throwing her across the bedroom, chasing her while she was driving away and yelling obscenities at her, and having a long history of domestic violence against women. After a hearing at which both parties had to be admonished by the trial court for unruly behavior, the court stated both parties needed to stay away from each other and entered the injunction against the ex-boyfriend.
He appealed, arguing the alleged victim failed to show she was in imminent danger of becoming the victim of another act of dating violence. The appellate court cited the standard for obtaining an injunction against dating violence: “A trial court has broad discretion in entering an injunction for protection against dating violence, but the injunction must be supported by competent, substantial evidence. On appeal,[the ex-boyfriend] challenges only the sufficiency of the evidence establishing that Long has reasonable cause to believe that she is in imminent danger of becoming the victim of another act of dating violence. When considering whether a petitioner has such reasonable cause, ‘the trial court must consider the current allegations, the parties' behavior within the relationship, and the history of the relationship as a whole.’" (internal citations omitted).
In reversing the injunction, the appellate court agreed the alleged victim failed to show she was in imminent danger of becoming the victim of another act of dating violence. The court held, “With respect to the parties' behavior within their roughly year-long relationship and the history of their relationship as a whole, we in no way condone Di Stefano's actions, but their testimony suggested a relationship in which both had difficulty controlling their tempers. Unfortunately, the manner in which they conducted themselves at the hearing only reinforced that suggestion.”
If you need an injunction against domestic violence in Florida or are defending against one, contact a Miami domestic violence lawyer. A consultation may be the first step in understanding your rights and remedies.