In Florida, protective injunctions are also known as orders for protection or restraining orders. By whatever name they are known, these legal mechanisms are designed to protect alleged victims of certain types of abuse committed by the alleged perpetrator. The idea is to stop the pattern of abuse. However, what is often instituted with good intentions can result in an accusation for abuse. That is why it is extremely important if you are served with a restraining order that you see competent, experienced, and an aggressive counsel who knows how to defend these cases so that your rights will always be protected.
Florida law authorizes five options for protective orders. In general, the restraining orders, or protective injunctions, prohibit the person subject to the order of the court from committing certain acts. For example, the terms of the restraining order may indicate that the individual refrain from contacting the petitioner, refrain from abuse of the petitioner, stay away from the petitioner, and order the surrender of all firearms and ammunition through the local authorities while the protective order is in place.
Being subjected to a restraining order is a profoundly serious legal matter. Not only are your rights to move about freely restricted by a protective injunction, you also lose your (i) rights to keep and bear arms, (ii) First Amendment rights to speak to whomever you wish, and (iii) your parental rights, depending on the type of restraining order.
Restraining Order Types in Florida
Under Florida law, courts recognize five types of injunctions for protection that a court could authorize. The injunctions are:
- Protection from Dating Violence. The parties involved in a dating relationship that is significant or continuous, or who were once in an intimate relationship that was of a romantic or intimate nation could ask the court for an injunction to prevent further physical and emotional abuse.
- Domestic Violence Injunction. A domestic violence injunction is broader than an order protecting against dating violence because the order may encompass family members, household members, people who live together in a family unit, or people who are parents of a child, even if they do not live in the same home.
- Repeat Violence Injunction. A repeat violence injunction can be ordered by the court when one person has been abused by the alleged perpetrator more than once. The petitioner or victim does not need to set forth a specific relationship to qualify for the court’s protection.
- Sexual Violence Injunctions. The alleged victim of a sexual crime may seek the protection of the court from future sexual abuse by the alleged perpetrator. The alleged victim must assert at least one crime of sexual violence to qualify for the court’s protection in this circumstance. The petitioner must allege one or more of the following crimes: lewd or lascivious conduct in the presence anyone younger than sixteen, enticing or luring a child to perform a sexual act, or any form of sexual battery. Allegations of this nature will most often accompany criminal charges.
- Stalking Injunctions. Injunctions against stalking can be issued against the alleged stalking perpetrator when the petitioner alleges two or more acts of stalking conduct that placed the petitioner in fear. The petitioner and the respondent, or the person subject to the order, can be strangers. Notwithstanding, the parties are usually known to each other and could be coworkers, former friends, acquaintances, or even family members.
These five types of formal protective injunctions that a Florida court can issue may also serve as a component of the terms of release after a person is charged with a crime. However, except for protection against sexual battery, the petitioner has no obligation to file a criminal complaint.
Your Rights to Defend Against Protective Injunctions
Florida law and the provisions under United States Constitution grant people certain protections against governmental overreaching. In terms of an order for protection, the respondent has the right to know about the allegations levied against him or her, the right to respond in opposition and defend against the allegations asserted by the petitioner, and the right to representation of the lawyer of their choosing.
Florida judges have the discretion to issue a temporary restraining order after the petitioner files a request for a protective injunction. The judge will review the petition for relief and determine whether a temporary restraining order is necessary to protect the victim against abuse until the responding can appear in court to defend himself or herself against the allegations.
A temporary restraining order in Florida is only valid for a maximum of fifteen days. The Sheriff of the County in which the defendant or responding resides must serve the temporary restraining order upon that individual who will provide notice of the final hearing date as well as the terms of the temporary order. The accused will also receive a copy of the petition that has been filed against him or her.
At the final hearing of the injunction for protection, the judge will determine the credibility of the petitioner and the respondent to decide if a permanent order should issue. The judge can place a time limitation on a final order. During the hearing, the judge can consider the arguments of both parties and any documentary evidence that either party wishes to present such as photographs, medical records, copies of text messages or emails, and any other relevant documentary evidence that supports either party’s position. The parties can also have witnesses to take the stand to testify on their behalves.
Implications of a Restraining Order in Florida
A restraining order is a civil order of the court. Notwithstanding, violation of the order could have criminal implications. The implications of violating the court’s protective injunction against abuse in Florida could result in jail time, hefty fines, as well as probationary periods. The terms of probation include mental health counseling, anger management, abuse counseling, and even substance abuse counseling.
The most advantageous position you can take if you’ve been served with a temporary restraining order is to contact a Florida criminal defense and injunction defense attorney take the help guide you and represent you in the process. You may feel the compulsion to destroy evidence, try to talk to the petitioner in an attempt to resolve your differences without going to court or engage a person to speak on your behalf to the alleged victim. Committing those acts would potentially subject you to criminal penalties.
Instead of trying to handle this on your own without going to court, you should read all documents served upon you with great care and speak with competent counsel to help you understand what they mean. Additionally, it would be best if you obeyed all of the judicial orders contained within the temporary injunction. Remember, you have the absolute right to defend yourself vigorously at a final hearing. Trying to resolve your differences without going to court will only compound any problems that you are facing. The most advantageous position you could take is to obey the court’s orders and immediately talked with a seasoned Florida criminal defense and injunction defense attorney.
Musca Law is Ready to Discuss You Defense
Contact Musca Law today at (888) 484-5057 to learn more about your legal rights and options. Our attorneys are ready to assist you now to help you to safeguard your rights and to develop the strongest defense strategy possible. Don’t wait, as your life, liberty, and freedom are at stake. We look forward to making a difference for you!