Pasco Sheriff’s Office personnel are committed to protecting you! NO ONE, not even someone that you live with or that you love, has the right to hit you, threaten you with violence or emotional abuse! If someone is abusing you, you can take action!
Knowing your legal rights and other options is the first step toward ending the abuse. Call the Pasco Sheriff’s Office toll free at 1-800-854-2862.
The Intimate Violence Enhanced Services Team (InVEST) consists of a detective and domestic violence shelter advocate who work together to identify victims of domestic and dating violence at high risk for homicide. The team offers enhanced services to survivors of intimate partner violence and monitors offenders.
After an arrest for domestic violence has been made, the suspected abuser is brought before a judge at that is called a “first appearance hearing.” The judge will determine whether there was a legal basis for the arrest. If so, the judge will consider the seriousness of the crime, the suspect’s past criminal history and the suspect’s ties to the community. Based on these factors, the judge will either set a bond or release the suspect subject to certain conditions. Your input is very important to the judge. If you want your opinions heard about the release of the suspect please call the domestic violence advocate at (727) 844-7780. The court times vary, but your advocate can accompany you to this hearing, appear on your behalf if you are unable, and can provide you with the outcome of the hearing.
A person who has been arrested on domestic violence charges may be eligible to participate in the State Attorney’s Office Domestic Violence Diversion Program. This is a deferred prosecution treatment program available to some offenders upon approval of the State Attorney’s Office. Participants pay fees for processing and weekly group treatment sessions. Upon successful completion of the program, the case will be dismissed. You can call the State Attorney’s Office for details, at (727) 847-8158 for west Pasco, or (352) 521-4333 for east Pasco.
If the suspect is not eligible for the Diversion Program, the next court appearance will be in about 2-3 weeks at the arraignment. You do not need to be at this hearing unless you so choose. At the arraignment, the suspect will announce a plea. In some instances the judge may accept a “no-contest” plea or a “guilty” plea, and sentence the offender at this point. If the plea announced is “not guilty,” the next court appearance will be a pretrial approximately three weeks later. After the pre-trial, a trial date will be set. Your domestic violence advocate can keep you updated on the court schedules and the outcome at each stage, or will accompany you to court.
You have the right to go to court and file a petition requesting an injunction for protection from domestic violence which may include, but is not limited to, provisions which restrain the abuser from further acts of abuse; direct the abuser to leave your household; prevent the abuser from entering your residence, school, business, or place of employment; award you temporary custody of minor children; and direct the abuser to pay support to you and the minor children if the abuser has a legal obligation to do so.
We will assist you with filing a petition to obtain an injunction for protection. You can ask even if you cannot afford to pay court fees. The court clerk will help you complete the appropriate forms. Even if you have left your home, you can still apply for an injunction for protection. If you called law enforcement, and no arrest was made, a report will be filed with the State Attorney’s Office for review. An investigator will be contacting you, so it is important all agencies involved have a current address for you, or information on where you can be contacted, which will remain confidential.
After you file your petition, the judge can sign a temporary injunction, which can be obtained on the same day, without a hearing and without the abuser knowing first. A temporary injunction lasts for a stated period of time not to exceed 15 days and is given to you by the judge when you are in immediate danger of being hurt. A permanent injunction can go into effect later. This injunction is for a stated period of time not to exceed one year, unless extended by the court. The judge may want to hold a hearing before signing the permanent injunction.
A person who refuses to follow a judge’s order can be put in jail. If the abuser disobeys the judge’s order, contact the police or Sheriff’s Office and show them the certified copy of the injunction. In some cases the officer will arrest the abuser. Also, you can ask the judge to hold the abuser responsible for not following the judge’s order.
Domestic Violence Counselor
East Pasco: Sunrise (352) 521-3120
West Pasco: Salvation Army (727) 856-5797
(For domestic violence injunction applications)
West Pasco (727) 847-8176
East Pasco (352) 521-4517
Pasco Sheriff’s Office
EMERGENCIES: DIAL 9-1-1
Victim Advocate Unit — (727) 844-7793
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