A restraining order, also known as an injunction or order of protection, is a court order demanding that the recipient keep a certain minimum distance from the person who sought the order (the victim). A court might, for example, order an abusive domestic partner to stay at least 500 feet away from the person who sought the order. It typically also includes other terms.
Additional Terms of a Typical Restraining Order
Additional terms of a restraining order might include orders to:
- Keep at least a certain number of feet/yards away from the victim’s home or work.
- Maintain a certain minimum distance from the victim’s family members or new boyfriend/girlfriend.
- Move out of the home that the recipient shares with the victim.
- Surrender all firearms and other weapons.
- Refrain from contacting the victim from any distance.
If there is a restraining order against you, you can be criminally prosecuted for failing to comply with any of these terms, even unintentionally. Accidentally running into the victim at the supermarket could get you into trouble, for example. The court might, in effect, require you to prove that it was unintentional. For obvious reasons, restraining orders are more difficult for recipients to comply with in small towns than in big cities.
Steps You Need to Follow to File a Restraining Order in Florida
- Get a photo ID of yourself—perhaps a driver’s license or government-issued personal ID. In any case, it needs to be a photo ID, not a Social Security card.
- Select the appropriate family court.
- Determine which type of restraining order you seek—domestic violence, stalking violence, repeat violence, sexual violence, or dating violence. Each of these types of restraining orders has specific requirements attached to it.
- Access and complete the appropriate forms.
- Send the form online, by “snail mail” (paper mail), or by using the courthouse drop box.
- Wait for the court’s response (it should be quick). The judge will (i) accept your petition for a temporary injunction (lasting 15 days), (ii) deny your petition for a temporary injunction but schedule a date for a hearing on a permanent injunction, or (iii) deny your petition and refuse to schedule a hearing.
- Prepare for your hearing for a permanent injunction. You will have a chance to speak, and so will the other side.
- Attend the hearing (within 15 days) and wait for the judge’s decision. The recipient has the right to attend the hearing.
- If the judge grants you a permanent injunction, read it carefully (with the help of a lawyer if necessary). Carry a copy of the order everywhere you go so you can show it to the police if necessary.
- Report to the court or to the police if the recipient violates the restraining order.
You don’t need to pay a fee or hire a lawyer to file a restraining order.
Types of Restraining Orders in Florida
Following are the kinds of restraining orders that Florida courts issue.
Domestic Violence Restraining Orders
Domestic violence restraining orders are appropriate for patterns of domestic violence or threats of violence. The victim and the recipient are typically related by blood or marriage.
Stalking Violence Restraining Orders
Stalking violence restraining orders are appropriate if someone follows you or harasses you over a long period of time. This perpetrator of “stalking” is frequently an ex-lover or an ex-spouse.
Repeat Violence Restraining Orders
A repeat violence restraining order is appropriate if you have been victimized by at least two acts of violence on at least two separate occasions. One of these incidents must have occurred within the last six months. The recipient is frequently a neighbor or a coworker.
Sexual Violence Restraining Orders
A sexual violence restraining order is appropriate in cases of:
- Sexual battery (physical violence)
- A lewd act where the victim or a witness is under 16 years old
- Sexual performance by a minor under 18
- Luring or enticing a minor under 18
- Any other felony relying on the use of force involving the commission or attempt to commit a sexual act
You must have reported the incident to the police, and the perpetrator must have been sentenced to prison.
Dating Violence Restraining Orders
A dating violence restraining order is appropriate if domestic violence or stalking has occurred, or you expect it to occur, from someone with whom you were involved in a dating or similar relationship.
Get a Family Lawyer to Help You File a Restraining Order
When you need a restraining order, you might have to act fast. You might live with an abuser, for example, and face a choice of either returning home to the abuser tonight or spending tonight elsewhere unless you get a restraining order.
It’s understandable if you don’t have time to speak with a lawyer under these circumstances. Nevertheless, it is an extremely good idea to contact a lawyer before you seek a permanent restraining order. Hiring an Orlando family lawyer can maximize your chances of success.
Contact the Orlando Family and Divorce Law Firm of Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC for Help Today
Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC
815 N Magnolia Ave Suite 100
Orlando, FL 32803