Protective Injunctions under Florida Law
Being in a personal relationship can often raise complex issues. As we all strive to have healthy, loving relationships, sometimes emotions can run high in our lives that affect our marriages, dating, families, and friendships. When these emotions lead beyond heated discussions or arguments, and turn violent, that is when an injunction maybe appropriate. In the State ofFlorida, there is a way to protect you and your family. It is called an Injunction for Protection. An Injunction for Protection, also referred to as a "restraining order," is a means of getting legal protection, which directs the person not to have any physical, direct, or indirect contact with you. Anybody may apply for an injunction for protection if they are a victim of violence, or if they believe there is an imminent danger of violence. You may qualify for this protection even if you never called the police or pressed criminal charges.
Every injunction for protection has two parties, a petitioner and a respondent. The petitioner is the person requesting an injunction for protection. The respondent is the person against whom the injunction is being sought. For the petitioner the goal is protection. For the respondent, the results can hold serious consequences that may affect all areas of your life, including employment and civil liberties. If a permanent injunction for protection is entered against you, you may be required to: participate in a batterer’s intervention program; surrender any weapons, firearms, and ammunition; be required to move from your residence; have no contact, directly or indirectly, with the petitioner and/or maybe your children.
All injunctions may be filed in the circuit court where the petitioner currently or temporarily resides, where the respondent resides, or where the violence occurred. If it is facially sufficient, a temporary injunction is entered and a hearing is set. Every party to an injunction should receive notice of a court hearing. At this hearing, both sides will be allowed to present facts about your case to the presiding judge. The evidence must be in writing to the court and must be presented during by sworn testimony. The judge will then decide whether there is enough evidence to either approve the permanent injunction or to dismiss the injunction. Failure to attend the hearing may result in the court making a decision without your side being heard in a courtroom.
There are several different types of Protective Injunctions under Florida Law. The injunction can be temporary or permanent. These are the Protective Injunction Against Domestic Violence, the Protective Injunction Against Repeat Violence, Protective Injunction Against Dating Violence, and Protective Injunction Against Sexual Violence.
The first type involves Domestic Violence. This is easily the most common injunction sought by petitioners. The law establishing this injunction is found in section 741.30, of the Florida Statutes. This statute allows any family or household member to seek an injunction against any other family or household member. In this injunction, the petitioner must have been a victim of domestic violence or has reasonable cause to believe that they are in imminent danger of becoming the victim of any act of domestic violence.
The repeat violence protective injunction is for non-family members that have been or are threatened with repeat violence. The law that establishes this injunction is found section 784.046, of the Florida Statutes. This statute allows any person who is the victim of repeat violence to seek an injunction against the person causing the violence. Repeat Violence means two incidents of violence or stalking with one incident having occurred within the last six months. Violence means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault or battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, or false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury.
Dating Violence means violence between individuals who have or have had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The law that establishes this injunction is found section 784.046, of the Florida Statutes. This statute allows any person who is the victim of dating violence to seek an injunction against the person causing the violence. Violence means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault or battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, or false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death. The Evidence must be in writing to the court with copies to the other party and must be presented during the hearing by sworn testimony..
Finally, there is Sexual Violence. The law that establishes this injunction is found section 784.046, of the Florida Statutes. This statute allows any person who is the victim of sexual violence to seek an injunction against the person causing the violence. Sexual Violence is defined as any one incident of sexual battery, lewd or lascivious act, luring or enticing a child, sexual performance by a child, or any other forcible felony wherein a sexual act is committed or attempted. Formal criminal charges must have been sought in order to ask for this relief and the outcome of those charges are immaterial. This injunction can be requested even if charges were dropped or amended.
While there are times when there is a legitimate need for an injunction. Unfortunately, all too often, some people abuse the laws to manipulate another person to gain advantages in custody or family issues. The laws involving injunctions are not complicated, but can be helped with good legal representation. If you are in need of an injunction, or of protecting yourself against one, consult an attorney about your case.