Articles Posted in Domestic Violence

An injunction (or protective order) can be a good way for there to be an immediate response when children need to be protected from any person, including a parent.  Many times, injunctions will come after the police and the Department of Children and Families are involved.  The injunction process is typically the quickest way for there to be court intervention, especially if the incident that necessitates the need of a protective doesn’t not lead to an arrest of anyone.  There could be many reasons to seek an injunction for protection on behalf of a minor child.  This article will focus on abuse allegations.

InjunctionWhenever a child is subjected to intentional infliction of physical or emotional harm, child abuse has occurred, as defined by Florida Statute 827.03.  This issue comes up sometimes after divorces or in paternity cases where children go between mom’s house and dad’s house.  Of course, physical discipline is allowed, but going too far becomes a crime, and can also be the basis for having an injunction put into place.  Florida Statute 741.30 allows for injunctions in domestic violence situations; child abuse qualifies as domestic violence.

If one parent files for an injunction to get protection for their children, if granted, the injunction can control time-sharing and visitation until a family court can hear the case and determine what is best for the children.  An injunction court may limit the visits to supervised visits, or the court may stop visitation all together.

1. “I brought my ‘friend’ with me to the interview.”

You and I have an attorney client privilege. But once you bring in a third party, whether it’s a friend, a lover or whoever, the benefit of the attorney client privilege is gone. Unless that third party is named in the case or otherwise officially associated with the case, there is no attorney client privilege.. If a friend or a lover is in a meeting with attorney and the case goes sour, in the event of a trial or deposition, there is no privilege and all those secrets can spill out in a deposition or in court.

2. “I am so depressed over this.”

harassment.jpgAs an experienced Jacksonville Beach Divorce Lawyer, I often see couples at their worst. Many times, when a relationship is breaking up, the civility between the parties is also lost, and the harassing begins. This harassment can go from simply bothersome to criminal.

Florida law requires that if you feel that you are becoming the victim of harassment, you must first put the offender on notice to stop calling you or your family members or to cease the harassing act. You should keep a log of each call with the time, date, and number from where the call came and from whom. If the offender continues to harass you after being placed on notice to stop, then the act becomes criminal and you may seek the protection of the police or the Office of the State Attorney.

Also harassment may rise to the level of domestic violence if the harassment includes a threat or threats of violence. If physical threats have been made and there is a history of domestic violence an injunction (aka restraining order) may be an option.

child abuse.jpgAs a Jacksonville Child Custody Attorney, I often see cases involving child abuse and child neglect. I run into these issues primarily in cases involving termination of parental rights or simply child custody disputes.

Florida defines abuse as “any willful act or threatened act that results in any physical, mental, or sexual injury or harm that causes or is likely to cause the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired. Abuse of a child includes acts or omissions. Corporal discipline of a child by a parent or legal custodian for disciplinary purposes does not in itself constitute abuse when it does not result in harm to the child.

Neglect, on the other hand, “occurs when a child is deprived of, or is allowed to be deprived of, necessary food, clothing, shelter, or medical treatment or a child is permitted to live in an environment when such deprivation or environment causes the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired or to be in danger of being significantly impaired. The foregoing circumstances shall not be considered neglect if caused primarily by financial inability unless actual services for relief have been offered to and rejected by such person. A parent or legal custodian legitimately practicing religious beliefs in accordance with a recognized church or religious organization who thereby does not provide specific medical treatment for a child may not, for that reason alone, be considered a negligent parent or legal custodian; however, such an exception does not preclude a court from ordering the following services to be provided, when the health of the child so requires:”

dv.jpgDomestic violence is a serious issue, and you should speak with the proper authorities as well as an Orange Park Domestic Violence Attorney if you have been a victim. But you may need to go a step further and have the court grant a protective order or an injunction preventing the other person from contacting you. This allows the police to arrest the person if he or she violates certain provisions of the court order. If he or she is arrested they could be looking at misdemeanor criminal charges placed against them.

However, what exactly does Florida law define domestic violence as in order to get an injunction?

“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.

You may have heard the story of Crystal Harris, a woman in California who was sexually assaulted by her husband. Ms. Harris pressed charges, and her husband was convicted of sexual assault in part because of a recording that caught the audio of the ordeal.

Spousal rape cases, however, are typically very difficult to prosecute. Ms. Harris’s husband was convicted only of sexual assault; the jury was unable to reach a verdict on two other charges, including spousal rape. The most heartbreaking aspect of Ms. Harris’s story was how the court handled the legal fees: the judge ordered her to pay the husband’s legal bills from the divorce and, even worse, she was forced to pay alimony from their divorce. In other words, she was forced to pay money to the man she had just divorced because of his sexually abusive behavior.

Of course, many people were outraged when they heard about the situation. In California, the family law code currently provides that a judge can consider the criminal conviction in adjusting spousal support, but a spouse convicted of attempted murder will not receiving anything. Lawmakers are trying to change that language to disallow spousal support for any spouse convicted of any violent felony.

gun.jpgAs a Jacksonville Family Law Attorney I have worked on numerous domestic violence injunction cases. Through my work on these cases I have come to understand there are many ramifications stemming from injunctions for domestic violence that people are simply and completely unaware of.

Specifically, not even one of my past clients was aware of the effect domestic violence injunctions had on their gun rights. None of these clients had ever heard of the Lautenberg Amendment. Well, I’m going to take this opportunity to give a very brief rundown on this very topic.

The Lautenberg Amendment, which is often referred to as the Domestic Violence Amendment to the Gun Control Act, is codified at 18 U.S. Code §922(g)(9). In summary this act bans the ownership and use of firearms or ammunition by individuals convicted of a misdemeanor where the underlying charge is that of domestic violence, or who are under an injunction for domestic abuse. This act also makes in unlawful to knowingly sell or give a firearm or ammunition to such persons.

green beer.jpgAs a Jacksonville Family Law Lawyer, I am well versed in the issues of Domestic Violence and its effects on Jacksonville families. Domestic Violence seems to pop up in nearly 50% of my cases; whether the case be one of divorce, paternity, termination of parental rights or modification. The possibility of domestic violence being an issue is always on my mind.

I can’t help but wonder with St. Patrick’s Day coming up and the large amount of beer flowing, would Jacksonville domestic violence and or alcohol related crime rates experience an increase. With this question on my mind I decided to look into the relationship between alcohol and domestic violence.I stumbled upon the Stop Violence Against Women website and read a page titled, “Myths About Alcohol and Domestic Violence.”

The page read, “The relationship between alcohol or other substance abuse and domestic violence is complicated. A prevailing myth about domestic violence is that alcohol and drugs are the major causes of domestic abuse. In reality, some abusers rely on substance use (and abuse) as an excuse for becoming violent. Alcohol allows the abuser to justify his abusive behavior as a result of the alcohol. While an abuser’s use of alcohol may have an effect on the severity of the abuse or the ease with which the abuser can justify his actions, an abuser does not become violent “because” drinking causes him to lose control of his temper.”

woman gun.jpgJacksonville has long been regarded as the most violent city in Florida, even beating out Miami. In 2010, Duval County had a total of 7,798 domestic violence offenses. Thus, it is not surprising that is reporting that more women are choosing to arm them selves for self defense purposes.

News4Jax’s January 4th article titled, “More Women Packing Heat,” states that, “there are between 15 and 20 million ladies packing heat these days and target shooting is one of the fastest-growing female sports.” Also, gun expert Bill Martin has had such a large demand from women he has had to create all-female concealed weapon permit classes.

It looks as though more and more women are taking precautions to defend themselves from a potential attack.

WILKES, DEVIN JUAN.jpgYou think you have heard it all and then you read an article titled, “Jacksonville Police: Mom Used Baby As Shield When Boyfriend Attacked Her.” How could this be? Well, allegedly, on December 9, 2011, Devin Juan Wilkes and his girlfriend and mother of his child, Sheena Hunter, got into an argument over their relationship. The argument quickly became violent.

Reportedly, to protect herself from being beaten and stabbed Hunter grabbed their son and held him between herself and Wilkes. Wilkes then grabbed their son and threw him face first on the ground. The violence ensued with Wilkes choking Hunter and then fleeing with her car.

On January 2, 2012, authorities went to the residence, Hunter answered the door and informed the authorities she had not seen Wilkes since the alleged incident. However, after allowing the authorities in to search her residence, Wilkes was quickly located hiding in a closet. Wilkes was arrested and has been charged with numerous crimes including; aggravated assault, domestic battery and child abuse.

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