How Does Florida House Bill 19 Affect Victims Of Domestic Violence?
Florida House Bill 19, proposed by Representative Gottlieb, enhances scrutiny over the purchase of firearms by the proposed construction of a database. The database would contain information about a purchaser’s criminal arrest history or prior status as a respondent in a domestic violence action. If positive, it would bar a potential purchaser from buying a firearm. The bill proposed that specific events be entered into a state database that vendors can check before issuing a weapon to a purchaser. Should this bill pass, it would provide extra protection to vulnerable persons, especially people who seek a restraining order from an abuser who may or may not have firearms. It may also prevent firearms from ending up in the wrong hands.
What are current restraining order laws in Florida?
In Florida, domestic violence is defined as aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, harassment, cyberstalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, criminal offense that results in injury or death to a person in the family by another other household member. victims of domestic violence can obtain an injunction of protection against domestic violence. There are three methods for obtaining an injunction. An emergency injunction can be sought 24/7 by visiting your local police station or visiting a local court during business hours. You must establish that you are a person eligible for relief and that you have experienced abuse or are in fear of imminent bodily harm or death. Fla. Stat. 741.30.
A presiding judge will hear your case and after reviewing your petition can order a restraining order to protect your children and other family members from the abuser as well. The respondent is served with notice of the petition and is able to appear in person for a temporary restraining order hearing or a final restraining order hearing. If the restraining order is upheld at the final hearing, it is good for up to one year or longer and can be renewed for good cause.
What can a judge order at a domestic violence hearing?
A judge presiding over a domestic violence restraining order will decide what relief to grant to the petitioner. For example, the judge can order the respondent to continue to pay bills regarding family maintenance and upkeep such as the mortgage and utilities. The judge can order the respondent to stay away from the petitioner, not just at the home but also at the petitioner’s place of work or school. The judge can order the respondent to attend counseling or courses for anger management.
The judge can also order that the respondent surrender all firearms and weapons. When a respondent violates a restraining order, he or she can be incarcerated. House Bill 19 enhances protections for victims of domestic violence because if passed, it would build a database listing all prior offenses of applicants. This includes whether an applicant has previously been listed as a respondent to a domestic violence hearing. This means that if an active protective order was granted against a respondent, they would not be able to purchase a firearm in the future.
Contact West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Attorney William Wallshein
If you or someone you know has been the victim of domestic violence, you are not alone. Help is available 24/7. West Palm Beach family lawyer William Wallshein helps clients throughout extremely sensitive and intimate matters, including domestic violence injunctions. He can help you obtain protection for you and your children. If you have questions about how House Bill 19 affects an active restraining order or need help preparing a petition, call Attorney Wallshein today to schedule a consultation.