The Florida courts take allegations of domestic violence seriously and will order injunctions for protection in matters in which they believe the petitioners present credible evidence of acts that constitute domestic violence. People that subsequently violate such injunctions may be subject to criminal penalties. The prosecution must establish each element of the crime of violating an injunction for protection in order to obtain a conviction; however, if it cannot, the defendant should be found not guilty. Recently, a Florida court vacated a defendant’s conviction for violating a protection order on the grounds the prosecution failed to establish each element of the crime. If you are charged with a domestic violence crime, you should speak to a Sarasota domestic violence defense attorney to determine what defenses you may be able to set forth.
Facts of the Case
It is reported that the state charged the defendant by information with stalking and violating an injunction for protection against repeat violence. During the trial, the state presented evidence that the alleged victim had sought and obtained an injunction against stalking against the defendant. The state did not present evidence of any other injunctions.
It is alleged that the defendant then moved for acquittal on the grounds that the state failed to establish the issuance of either an injunction against repeat violence or an injunction for protection against domestic violence. The trial court denied his motion, and he was found guilty as charged. The defendant then appealed.
Establishing Guilt for Violating an Injunction for Protection
On appeal, the defendant argued that while there was an injunction for protection against stalking against him, there was no injunction for dating violence or repeat violence, which was a required element of the charged offense of violating an injunction for protection against repeat violence. Thus, he averred that his conviction should be vacated.
The court adopted his reasoning and reversed the trial court ruling. The court elaborated that proof that an injunction for protection against stalking was issued and applicable against the defendant was legally inadequate to establish the charges of aggravated stalking or violation of an injunction against repeat violence, both of which required proof of an injunction against repeat violence or dating violence. As such, the court reversed the trial court ruling.
Talk to a Skilled Sarasota Criminal Defense Attorney
People charged with domestic violence offenses often worry that the odds are stacked against them, but as with other criminal offenses, the prosecution faces a high burden of proof, and if it fails to offer evidence sufficient to meet that burden, it should not be able to obtain a guilty verdict. If you are accused of a crime of domestic violence, it is prudent to talk to an attorney as soon as possible. The skilled Sarasota criminal defense lawyers of Hanlon Law are proficient at helping people defend their rights in criminal matters, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact Hanlon Law via the online form or by calling 941-462-1789 to set up a conference.