Written by Administrator Wednesday, 03 June 2009 00:00
Dating Violence & Domestic Violence Injunctions
You’re probably familiar with an injunction against domestic violence, which is available to same sex couples or any “family or household members.” But what do you do when you’ve only dated someone and now they just won’t leave you alone?
Erotomaniacs, Love Obsessionals and Simple Obessionals all share the delusion that you’re in love with them and if you would only acknowledge that, you could both live happily ever after. When they engage in a campaign of unwelcome writing, cyberstalking, telephoning, sending gifts or other pattern of harassment without a legitimate purpose, an injunction against dating violence can help. The name “dating violence injunction” is somewhat of a misnomer since it doesn’t require actual acts of violence to be issued, only a continuing pattern of harassment. Nor do dating violence injunctions require co-habitation like domestic violence injunctions. Dating violence injunctions are granted so long as there was “a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.” Unfortunately, neither dating violence nor domestic violence injunctions are issued for only psychological abuse, nor are they granted for casual relationships involving people who only know each other in a business or social context. In those instances, there are other laws that may apply.
In deciding whether to grant an injunction for dating violence, a court considers if the dating relationship existed during the past six months, if it had the expectation of affection or sexual involvement and the frequency and type of interaction between the parties. In addition to a pattern of harassment, a single act of assault, battery, or certain other crimes are grounds for the issuance of a dating or domestic violence injunction. The court is also allowed to consider the respondent’s criminal history and the destruction of personal property (including the killing or injuring of a pet). To prove up your case for an injunction, it’s important to obtain photographs and witnesses to any incidents that have occurred. Once a temporary injunction is issued, the respondent must then be served with a copy and a notice of hearing to determine if a permanent injunction will be issued.
You cannot dissolve an injunction simply by deciding to get back together. You must ask the court to dissolve it or it remains in effect and violations can be punished harshly. Among other restrictions, all injunctions prohibit intentionally coming within 100 feet of the petitioner’s vehicle whether or not it is occupied.
Unlike a dating violence injunction, a domestic violence injunction can grant the petitioner the exclusive possession and use of the parties’ residence and personal property such as vehicles.
Petitions for either injunction can be filed where you reside, the respondent resides or the violence occurred. Even a tourist can seek either injunction and injunctions issued in other states can be enforced locally. The clerk of the court will provide instructions and no bond is required. Your address can be withheld and costs may be awarded to you. If you leave the state, there’s a nationwide injunction database for law enforcement use.
Finally, your consent as the victim is not required to prosecute violators and in my experience, state attorneys and judges have adopted an aggressive “pro-prosecution” attitude toward them. For example, anyone arrested for violations of injunctions must be held without bond at least until his or her first appearance before a judge.
It’s a complicated process, but well worth it to protect ourselves from our own romantic mistakes. And who hasn’t had at least one of those?