How to Obtain a Restraining Order in Florida
When you are being threatened or hurt by someone you love (or used to love), it can be terrifying. You’re afraid to go home, leave the safety of the workplace, or even answer your phone because you never know when that person will confront or engage with you again.
You deserve to be safe and there are ways that the law can protect you from intimidation and harm. In this blog, we will go over the different types of restraining orders you can seek in Florida and how they can protect you.
What is a restraining order?
Restraining order’ is a common term for an injunction of protection against domestic violence that prohibits an individual from carrying out specific actions, such as contacting or approaching you. The type of injunction you apply for may depend on:
• Your relationship with the perpetrator
• The type of violence
• The frequency of violent acts
In Florida, there are four main types of injunctions for protection against domestic violence:
• Domestic violence: You can file a domestic violence injunction against any relative or household member who has committed an act of violence against you or an immediate family member.
• Repeat violence: If you or members of your immediate family have been subjected to at least two acts of violence from the same individual, you can obtain a repeat violence injunction, even if that person is not a member of the same household. These acts include (but are not limited to) assault, battery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and stalking.
• Dating violence: If you are being threatened or harmed by someone you were in a continuous sexual or romantic relationship with during the previous six months, you can seek a dating violence injunction.
• Sexual violence: If you were forced or coerced into participating in sexual acts, you can petition for a civil injunction even if the criminal charges against the perpetrator were dismissed.
How to file for a civil injunction
The process begins by preparing and filing a petition for a temporary injunction with the appropriate court. Depending on what time of day you file, the initial hearing may take place the same day. At the hearing, the court will decide whether or not to grant the temporary injunction. If granted, it will last for 15 days, until another hearing is scheduled to decide on a longer-term injunction. The other party or respondent must be present at this second proceeding so they can tell their side of the story and allow the court to make a more informed decision.
If the injunction is granted and the respondent violates its terms, you can call the police and file an Affidavit of Violation of Injunction, which could result in a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by fines and one year in county jail.
It is important to note that many orders entered for protection against domestic violence have an expiration date and you will have to seek an extension if you still need protection. The Respondent could also challenge the injunction and try to get it dissolved, so you must work with a Florida attorney who will take the legal measures needed to protect you from further violence.
At the Law Office of Sheena Benjamin-Wise, P.A., the safety of our clients is a top priority. We firmly believe that you have the right to live your life safely and with confidence, and will provide the compassionate legal support you need to make it happen. To schedule a confidential consultation, please contact us at wiselawoffice.com. We’re here for you.