1st Dec 2016

A person with a violation of a restraining order or injunction in Florida is likely to face a criminal prosecution. Most often, violations of injunctions are treated as first degree misdemeanor offenses. However, in some situations, a person can be charged with the felony offense of “Aggravated Stalking” if their case involves multiple violations of their injunction in an attempt to harass or threaten the other party.

What is a Violation of Restraining Order?

An “injunction” is a court order that is issued by a Judge that places restrictions on a person’s ability to have contact with another individual. Most people commonly refer to this type of court order as a “restraining order,” Florida law uses the term “injunction” exclusively. When a temporary injunction is issued and served, or an injunction is made final, this fact is public record and can easily be viewed by employers, neighbors, and members of the general public through a Clerk’s website.

A violation of restraining order or injunction is treated as a serious matter by law enforcement and prosecuting offices. The underlying rationale for the aggressive treatment of these violations is premised on the idea that the accused willfully disregarded a direct court order. For this reason, having the assistance of an experienced Miami-Dade County/Broward County/ South Florida lawyer is imperative.

Types of Restraining Orders or Injunctions Issued by the Florida Court System

Florida law allows a Circuit Court Judge to issue four different types of injunctions. Each type of injunction is designed to prevent or limit contact between individuals. Generally speaking, the nature of the relationship that the people had prior to the issuance of the injunction will dictate the appropriate injunction that will ultimately be issued by the court. The four types of injunctions are:

    Domestic Violence Injunctions
    F.S. 741.28(2)-(3)
    One act of violence by:

    • A spouse or former spouse, a person related by blood or marriage;
    • A person who currently resides together or who has resided together as a family in the past; or
    • A person who has a child in common regardless if they ever lived together

    Repeat Violence Injunctions
    F.S. 784.046(1)(b) and (2)(a)
    Two incidents of violence or stalking have occurred:

    • One incident was within 6 months of the filing for injunction; and
    • Violence or stalking was against the petitioner or petitioner’s immediate family member

    Dating Violence Injunctions
    F.S. 784.046(1)(d) and (2)(b)
    A dating relationship must have existed within the past six months:

    • Characterized by the expectation of affection or sexual involvement;
    • Involved in a frequent and continuous interaction over the course of the relationship;
    • Does not include violence in a casual acquaintanceship.

    Sexual Violence Injunctions
    F.S. 784.046(1)(c) and (2)(c)

    • One incident of sexual battery;
    • A lewd or lascivious act, committed by or upon or in the presence of a person younger than 16 years of age;
    • Luring or enticing a child or sexual performance by a child; or
    • Any other forcible felony wherein a sexual act was committed or attempted; and
    • Must have reported the incident to law enforcement and is cooperating in any criminal proceedings or the Respondent was sentenced to prison and the term has expired or is due to expire within 90 of the filing date of the petition.

The Many Ways You Can be Charged With Violation of Restraining Order

If an “Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence” has been issued against you, it is important to read the document carefully. Depending on the specifics of the injunction, it may be a criminal act to:

  • Refuse to vacate the dwelling that you share with the other party;
  • Go to, or be within 500 feet of, the petitioner’s residence, school, place of employment, or any specified place frequented regularly by the petitioner and any named family or household member;
  • Commit an act of domestic violence against the petitioner;
  • Commit any other violation of the injunction through an intentional unlawful threat to do violence to the petitioner;
  • Telephone, contact, or otherwise communicate with the petitioner directly or indirectly, unless the injunction specifically allows indirect contact;
  • Knowingly and intentionally come within 100 feet of the petitioner’s motor vehicle, whether or not that vehicle is occupied;
  • Deface or destroy the petitioner’s personal property, including the petitioner’s motor vehicle; or
  • Refuse to surrender firearms or ammunition if ordered to do so in the injunction.

I can review your injunction to determine whether the behavior that is alleged to have caused your violation, is in fact, prohibited by the terms and conditions of the court order.

Violation of a Repeat Violence, Dating Violence or Sexual Violence Injunction

The area a number of ways an Injunction for Protection Against Repeat Violence, Dating Violence or Sexual Violence can be violated. It is very important to read the injunction carefully.

Depending on the specifics of the injunction, it may be a criminal act to:

  • Refuse to vacate the dwelling that you share with the other party;
  • Go to the petitioner’s residence, school, place of employment, or any specified place frequented regularly by the petitioner and any named family or household member;
  • Commit an act of repeat violence, sexual violence, or dating violence against the petitioner;
  • Commit any other violation of the injunction through an intentional unlawful threat to do violence to the petitioner;
  • Telephone, contact, or otherwise communicate with the petitioner directly or indirectly, unless the injunction specifically allows indirect contact; or
  • Retrieving personal property from the other party’s residence beyond the one-time visit allowed by the injunction.

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