Domestic Violence Injunctions
If you or someone you know has been a victim of domestic violence (or is in fear of domestic violence), you should consider filing for an Injunction against Domestic Violence. An injunction is a civil case, and not a criminal case. However, it can give you important protections against future violence; these protections can range from restrictions on contact between you and the abuser, awarding you exclusive residency of your home, awarding temporary child support, and also ordering supervised visitation between the abuser and any children involved.
To qualify for an injunction, you have to allege either an instance of physical violence or a legitimate fear of violence. Stalking and harassing behaviors can also qualify for an injunction as well. Domestic Violence injunctions may be filed at the County Courthouse, and are always free. Once you file for an injunction, the Judge must decide whether or not to approve it on a temporary basis, and a court date will also be scheduled.
It is important to attend the court date, as your injunction will be dismissed if you fail to appear. You should also make sure to bring with you any evidence (photographs, text messages, etc..) that could support your allegations. Further, if there are any witnesses to episodes of violence, you should make sure they are present as well. If the Judge grants the injunction, it can remain in place for a set amount of time or until further order of the Court.
A domestic violence injunction can be useful when the police can’t or won’t charge a person with the crime of domestic violence. The burden of proof is lower, which means that even if the police feel they don’t have enough evidence to press charges, you can still seek the protection of a civil injunction.