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A restraining order is a useful legal mechanism that can protect partners, housemates, spouses, children, and other relatives from an abusive individual. There are five distinct types of restraining orders in Florida, depending on the circumstances. If you are seeking a restraining order against a spouse, roommate, or another individual, Sando Law, P.A., can assist you in obtaining the appropriate injunction order. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Andrew Sando deeply understands the criminal justice system and knows how to avoid common pitfalls. And if you are the target of a restraining order, Sando Law can quickly assess the injunction, determine if it has merit, and provide you with a list of legal options.
What is a restraining order in Florida?
Across the country, different states and jurisdictions use the words “restraining order,” “protective order,” and “order of protection” interchangeably. In Florida, what you know as a “restraining order” is called an “injunction for protection.”
When you file for an injunction for protection, you are the petitioner. The person you are seeking to have restrained is the respondent.
If granted, the order instructs the respondent not to do certain things. For example, the respondent may be barred from:
- Contacting the petitioner
- Visiting the petitioner’s home
- Stopping by the petitioner’s job
And certain types of injunction orders, such as an injunction for protection against domestic violence, prohibit possession of firearms by the respondent. Further, any restraining order violation may incur additional punishment such as contempt of court or even criminal charges.
Are there different types of restraining orders?
Florida recognizes that there are many different scenarios where a restraining order is needed. Here are the five injunctions of protection in the Sunshine State:
- Domestic violence – Domestic violence refers to any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense that causes physical injury or death to a family or household member by another family or household member.
- Repeat violence — A victim may file an injunction based on repeat violence if the respondent commits two incidents of violence within six months of the filing of the petition.
- Dating violence —For a dating violence injunction to be successful, the petitioner must prove that there was a dating relationship. According to the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court website for Pasco County, the following elements must exist for the relationship to qualify as “dating”:
- A dating relationship must have existed within the past six months.
- The nature of the relationship must have been characterized by the expectation of affection or sexual involvement between the parties.
- The frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship must have included that the persons have been involved over time and continuously during the course of the relationship.
- Sexual violence — One of the following factors must exist for a sexual violence injunction:
- The petitioner has reported the sexual violence to a law enforcement agency and is cooperating in any criminal proceeding against the respondent, regardless of whether criminal charges based upon the sexual violence have been filed, reduced, or dismissed by the State Attorney’s Office.
- The respondent who committed the sexual violence against the victim or minor child was sentenced to a term of imprisonment in state prison for the sexual violence, and the respondent’s term of imprisonment has expired or is due to expire within 90 days following the date the Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Sexual Violence is filed.
- Stalking — According to Chapter 784, Florida Statute, “Stalking means someone is purposefully following or harassing you repeatedly over some time for no legitimate purpose, causing you emotional stress.”
Who can file a restraining order?
If you are an adult, you have the right to file an injunction order against any person who has caused you physical harm or threatened to cause you physical harm, or you may file a restraining order for harassment, stalking, or cyberstalking. If you are the legal guardian of a child or a disabled adult, you may file an injunction order in Florida on their behalf. Generally, restraining orders are used when a petitioner and respondent have an existing relationship.
Here is a breakdown of who can file restraining orders in South Florida:
- Domestic violence — To file, the victim must be a family or household member or parent of a child in common, regardless of marriage.
- Repeat violence — If there are two incidents of violence within six months of filing, the victim, or parent or legal guardian of a minor child living at home may file an injunction.
- Dating violence — For dating violence cases, the victim, or any person with reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim, or the parent or legal guardian of a minor child living at home, may seek an injunction.
- Sexual violence — Again, a minor child’s victim or legal guardian has legal standing to file a restraining order.
- Stalking — The victim, parent, or legal guardian of a minor child.
How can you get a restraining order?
First, you should contact an attorney. Your lawyer can review your case and help you choose the right type of restraining order for your situation. You can obtain the necessary paperwork by visiting the Florida Courts website. Your attorney can ensure all documentation is filled out correctly and submitted to the appropriate clerk.
What happens if you are the target of a restraining order?
If you find out that you are the target of a restraining order, you must act quickly. In some cases, you may only have days to respond. First, consult a lawyer who defends injunction orders in South Florida. Next, follow the instructions provided in the injunction. Your attorney can help you make sure you meet all required deadlines.
Additionally, your attorney can help you gather evidence and witness statements to prove the injunction is unjust. Further, your lawyer can attend the injunction hearing with you and ensure your rights are protected.
Contact an experienced restraining order lawyer in South Florida
Sando Law, P.A., provides hands-on support for restraining order matters throughout South Florida. If you need help filing or defending a restraining order in Martin County, Palm Beach County, Broward County, Miami-Dade County, or Monroe County, Attorney Sando is ready to fight for their rights. To discuss your case with Attorney Sando, call 561-296-1665 or contact Andrew online for a free case review. Toll-Free: 833-SANDO-4U