Injunctions in Florida
Injunctions, also commonly referred to as restraining orders, are court orders. These court orders are issued for protection against violence or harassment.
The purpose of the Injunction or Restraining Order is to prevent orders tell someone not to touch, contact or otherwise communicate with another.
Generally, there are only two parties to an injunction. A Petitioner and a Respondent. Although, a parent can attempt to seek an injunction on behalf of a minor child.
- Petitioner: the person who files the injunction.
- Respondent: the person against whom the injunction is sought.
Types of Injunctions in Florida
Florida has four types of injunctions. Each type of injunction is for different conduct. The types are:
- Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence
- Injunction for Protection Against Dating Violence
- Injunction for Protection Against Repeat Violence
- Injunction for Protection Against Sexual Violence
Violations of Injunction
Violating an Injunction in Florida is serious. A court can hold the violator in Contempt. But worst case can result in the State Attorney criminal charges for the violation. The charges can be felonies in some cases. And those felony charges can carry up to five years in prison!
Process for Injunctions in Florida
The injunction process begins by filing a Petition. The Petition is a form document. And it is readily available online. (Injunction Form and Instructions)
The petition starts the process. A judge may issue a temporary injunction. A temporary injunction is issued without notice to the respondent. The court must find evidence of domestic violence, dating violence, repeat violence, or sexual violence. But it is a high evidentiary standard for court to enter the temporary injunction. The standard is called “clear and convincing.”
This provides certain safeguards, both for the petitioner and the respondent. A poorly drafted Petition that does not include important facts will generally be denied. But that does not mean that an injunction won’t be granted. The court can still set a hearing on the injunction even if the temporary injunction is not granted.
If the court grants a temporary injunction, then the Respondent is given an opportunity to respond. This opportunity is generally an injunction hearing.
An Injunction hearing is referred to as a “hearing for Final Injunction.” The hearing is usually scheduled within 15 days from the date of the temporary injunction. At the final hearing, the judge will hear from the witnesses and take evidence for and against the injunction.
Many people attempt to represent themselves, either as petitioners or respondents. These are known as pro-se litigants. Since the hearing deals with witnesses and evidence, a lawyer can help issue subpoenas and question the witnesses more effectively than a pro-se litigant. The chances of a petition being granted or denied increase significantly with the help of an attorney, because the court must adhere to the rules of evidence and civil procedure.
There are many pitfalls for pro-se parties. If you are a respondent, anything you say or do can and will be used against you in this hearing! Both as a prosecutor and a defense attorney, I have used injunction hearings against and for my clients. You may not realize it, but a simple statement during the final injunction hearing can easily lead to a criminal charge–or even a conviction on a criminal charge!
What if the Injunction is Granted?
Most people do not realize the seriousness of a temporary or permanent injunction. Injunctions cannot be sealed or expunged from a criminal record! And an injunction is public record. As a public record, many third-party websites publish injunctions. Even getting an injunction dismissed can have serious consequences.
Injunctions can have wide ranging effects on other court proceedings such as custody disputes, alimony and child support. In custody disputes, an injunction is an important factor in the decision as to who will be the primary care-giver for the child.
Another serious consequence is your potential loss of your Second Amendment rights. When a temporary injunction is granted, the respondent must immediately surrender any and all firearms to local law enforcement. The restriction not to own a firearm could carry over for the entire period the injunction is in effect! It takes a court hearing to get your firearms returned–if you successfully defeat the injunction.
Finally, many petitioners use the injunctions as a weapon. For example, if a petitioner sees the respondent in a grocery store or at a baseball game, the petitioner can claim that the respondent violated the injunction, although the respondent did not know the petitioner was even present! This is a recurring theme that my firm has seen time and again, especially in divorce cases. If you believe that the injunction is being used inappropriately, please contact me immediately
Duration of Injunctions
- Temporary Injunction: A temporary injunction typically lasts 15 days. That’s why the hearing is set within 15 days of the entry of the Temporary Injunction Order. This time can be extended for a variety of reasons. For instance, if the Respondent is incarcerated, then the temporary hearing may be extended.
- Permanent Injunction: Generally, there is no set time limit for a permanent injunction. But since relationships and circumstances change over time, the courts often set between one and five-year increments. An injunction can be renewed or dissolved at any time prior to the expiration.
Why Should You Hire an Experienced Trial Lawyer?
Hiring a lawyer that has actual experience in handling Injunction hearings in Florida may be the difference between between incarceration in prison or jail, and a permanent injunction on your record.
I have personally handled these types of cases with great results for my clients. Your best defense is having an experienced trial lawyer on your side defending your rights.
If you are facing an Injunction, Contact Me Immediately for a Free Consultation to discuss your case. Let my experience handling these cases from both sides of the courtroom assist you in preparing your best defense.
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