Restraining Orders In Florida
Domestic violence, in Florida, is defined as any battery, assault, sexual assault, sexual battery, kidnapping, stalking or another criminal offense that results in the physical injury or death of a family or household member committed by another family or household member. If you are the victim of domestic violence, or you have been threatened with imminent injury or death, you can apply for a restraining order or an injunction against domestic violence.
At the law office of Ami L. DiLorenzo, P.A., we are serious about domestic violence and will act aggressively to protect you and your rights.
Restraining Orders And Injunctions Available
There are different types of injunctions against domestic violence in the state of Florida: temporary injunctions and final injunctions.
- Temporary Injunctions: Also referred to as an ex parte injunction, this court order is intended to provide a petitioner or other members of the family with immediate protection from an abuser. Upon filing a petition for protection against domestic violence, a clerk will give the petition to a judge who will decide if there is an immediate danger of domestic violence. It will take effect as soon as the abuser is served with a copy of the order. Thereafter a court hearing will be held.
- Final Injunctions: At the hearing, a judge will decide whether a final injunction is warranted. If granted, the final injunction could last one year or more. It is possible for it to either have a set period or no expiration date at all. If there is no expiration date, the abuser can request the court to modify or dissolve it, which a judge may or may not grant, depending on the circumstances.
In addition to restraining orders against domestic violence, Florida provides four other types of restraining orders:
- Repeat Violence Injunctions: Restraining orders against domestic violence only protects victims who face violence or abuse at the hands of family members. Repeat violence restraining orders, however, provide protection in situations where an abuser is neither a family member nor a member of the household. If anyone commits two or more violent acts or stalks an individual or an immediate family member and one of those acts was committed within the past six months, that person would be eligible for this type of restraining order.
- Dating Violence Injunctions: Similar to domestic violence restraining orders, this type of restraining order is for situations wherein the victim is facing abuse at the hands of someone who is not a member of the household, but someone with whom the victim has or has had a romantic relationship with within the past six months. If a girlfriend or boyfriend committed any act of violence against his or her partner or has given the partner reason to believe he or she is in immediate danger, a dating violence restraining order can provide some protection.
- Sexual Violence Injunctions: Regardless if the victim was in a relationship with the perpetrator within the past six months if anyone commits any act of sexual violence against another, the victim is eligible for a sexual violence restraining order. Given that sexual violence is an incredibly broad category, the key requirement to obtaining this restraining order is that the victim must have reported the incident to law enforcement officials and cooperate with a criminal investigation.
- Stalking or Cyberstalking Injunctions: In the state of Florida, stalking is defined as repeated, malicious harassment that has no purpose other than to cause the victim emotional distress. Similarly, cyberstalking is defined as repeated electronic communication that causes emotional distress and does not serve a legitimate purpose. Harassment can also include issuing threats, the destruction of property, intentionally harming a pet, and more. As such, there are many situations that warrant a stalking or cyberstalking restraining order.
How To Obtain A Restraining Order In Florida
Once you decide on the type of restraining order you need, the next step is to fill out the petition and to file it in court. The petition will ask for personal information about the petitioner and the respondent, including the address, current place of employment, information regarding any children (if applicable), and a physical description of the respondent to assist police in identifying him or her. The most critical portion of this petition is the paragraph wherein you are asked to describe the allegations against the respondent. Once you file the petition, a judge will review it immediately and, if it meets the requirements under Florida law, you will be granted a temporary restraining order that is valid for 15 days.
The next step in this process is the court hearing, which is usually scheduled near the end of your temporary restraining order’s expiration date. If the respondent cannot be located within this timeframe, the restraining order will be extended. To prepare for the hearing, you and your attorney should be working together to gather witnesses, phone records, or any other evidence pertinent to the situation.
At the hearing, the judge will rule based on facts and evidence presented and, if the respondent is present, he or she will be given a chance to cross-examine any witnesses or object to the introduction of evidence. Once both sides rest their case, the judge will rule on the petition and on custody or visitation issues, if applicable. The restraining order that is granted can either be for life or for a specified period of time.
Effective Representation In Matters Of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence affects the emotional and physical states of the individuals involved. At the law office of Ami L. DiLorenzo, P.A., we represent both the petitioning spouse and the respondent in legal proceedings in the Marion County area and throughout Florida. The process of filing a restraining order or an injunction can be a difficult and delicate process. Our Ocala Family Law Attorney is dedicated to finding the best solution for you and your loved ones.