In Florida, an injunction against violence (also commonly known as an order of protection) is a legal tool that allows a person to have protection from violence inflicted by another person. Musca Law understands that a petition for an injunction might be due to misunderstood, exaggerated, or false claims. Our lawyers are experienced in representing individuals who face temporary and final injunctions, and we can provide you with the guidance you need for your case.
What is an Injunction in Florida?
With respect to violence and stalking, an injunction is an order from a court that limits contact or prohibits contact between two people. The injunction itself is requested in circuit court under civil laws, but it deals with acts that can be punished under state criminal laws. Violation of an injunction can result in misdemeanor or felony charges.
What Types of Injunctions Against Violence Does Florida Allow?
Florida law provides injunctive relief for victims of numerous types of violence. These include (but are not limited to):
- Domestic Violence Injunction – Florida Statute § 741.30 creates a state cause of action for an injunction or order of protection against domestic violence. A domestic violence injunction can be filed in Florida by a person who alleges he or she is the victim of violence or believes he or she will become the victim of violence perpetrated by a family member or household member. The petitioner and respondent in a domestic violence injunction case do not need to be spouses under Florida law, though many domestic violence cases do involve spouses.
- Repeat Violence Injunction – Florida Statute § 784.046 creates a state cause of action for an injunction or order of protection against repeat violence and defines “repeated violence” as two or more occurrences of stalking or violence directed at a specific person or that person’s family. When filing for a repeat violence injunction, the petitioner must present evidence that one of the occurrences of stalking or violence happened within six months of the date of the petition.
- Sexual Violence Injunction – Florida Statute § 784.046 creates a state cause of action for an injunction or order of protection against sexual violence and defines “sexual violence” as any occurrence of sexual battery, forcible felony involving a sexual act, sexual performance of a child, luring or enticing a child, or a lewd or lascivious act involving a child younger than 16 years. A person may petition for a sexual violence injunction irrespective of the status of any criminal charges related to the incident.
- Dating Violence Injunction – Florida Statute § 784.046 creates a state cause of action for an injunction or order of protection against dating violence and defines “dating violence” as violence involving people who are or were in a romantic or intimate relationship. The relationship must be “continuing and significant” and does not include casual relationships, ordinary business or social relationships, or acquaintanceships. The court will determine whether the required relationship existed by analyzing the timing of the relationship (must have been within the last six months), the duration of the relationship, and the expectation for affection or sexual interaction within the relationship.
Does a Florida Injunction Ever Expire?
The injunction, if granted, will remain in effect for the term specified by the court. This could be for a period of years or could be indefinite. At any time, either of the parties can petition the court for a modification of the injunction, which could include changing the time when the injunction is lifted. Either of the parties can also move for the injunction to be dissolved. Both a modification and a dissolution of the injunction must be approved by the court.
What are the Penalties for Violating an Injunction?
Some of the ways in which respondents can be found in violation of injunctions against them include:
- Commission of an act of violence against the petitioner after the issuance of the injunction;
- Threatening the petitioner with violence;
- Tampering with or destroying the petitioner’s personal property;
- Contacting the petitioner against the terms of the injunction;
- Arriving at or being present within 500 feet of the petitioner’s home, work, or school;
- Being present within 100 feet of the petitioner’s vehicle;
- Refusing to leave the home shared with the petitioner;
- Refusing to surrender ammunition and firearms (if ordered by the court to surrender them).
The potential penalties associated with violating an injunction against violence in Florida will depend on the circumstances of the case. In many cases, the violation will be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries a $1,000 fine and the possibility of a year in jail. The violation might also be charged as a felony if the circumstances of the violation involve aggravated stalking. Aggravated stalking is considered a third-degree felony in Florida and carries a $5,000 fine and the possibility of five years in prison.
How Can I Defend Myself Against Charges of Violating an Injunction?
It is critical that you hire an attorney to represent you during all stages of injunction proceedings, including any alleged violations after the injunction is in place. Many injunction violation charges require that you knowingly or willfully breached the court’s order. Your lawyer will look at several aspects of the allegations to help you avoid or reduce the criminal charges, including whether you had notice of the injunction, whether you intended to violate the injunction, whether you intended to have contact with the petitioner, and whether you were mistaken as to some portion of the injunction.
Contact Musca Law Today to Protect Your Rights!
Musca Law’s attorneys have extensive experience defending people against violent crimes charges and injunctive relief associated with various types of violence. We know that long-term and permanent injunctions can cause serious damage to people’s lives, and we work tirelessly to achieve the best results for our clients.
Your initial consultation with Musca Law is confidential and free of cost. Contact us today at (888) 484-5057 to schedule a time to speak with a skilled Florida lawyer about your case.