Domestic Violence & Injunctions
Domestic violence is defined under Florida law as any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family household member by another. Florida law provides protection against domestic violence in the form of temporary or permanent injunctions, also commonly known as restraining orders.
To obtain an injunction, the victim must file a petition with the court. You do not have to be a victim of prior acts of violence to request an injunction, provided that you are in imminent fear of violence. A victim may ask for protection in any court where the victim or the abuser currently lives or where the violence occurred. The victim must provide the court with specific facts that he or she has been a victim of domestic abuse or is in danger of abuse in the very near future. The court then holds a hearing to assess the danger and the victim’s right to protection.
If the court feels that the victim is in danger of impending violence, the court has the power to issue an ex-parte temporary injunction, which is a court order entered without a hearing that prohibits contact between the parties. If a court grants the temporary injunction without a hearing, the sole basis would be the sworn allegations of violence or threats in the petition. A temporary injunction lasts for a period of 15 days, but may be extended. After entry of such an injunction, the court will require both parties to appear a hearing, at which time the court can enter a permanent injunction or dismiss the injunction.
A permanent injunction against the abuser can last for a specific time frame or until further order of the court, which may be forever. To modify or terminate a permanent injunction, either party may petition the court, but only after proving that the circumstances have changed and there is no longer a need for the injunction.
An injunction, whether temporary or permanent, places restrictions on the abuser such as “no contact within 500 feet” of the victim; exclusive use of a shared dwelling; exclusion of the abuser from the victim’s residence, place of employment, school, or other designated places frequented by the victim, the victim’s family or household members; temporary custody of minor children to the victim; and temporary surrender of firearms and ammunition.
Violation of the terms of an injunction can result in criminal charges; therefore, you should speak with a private attorney if you receive notification that an injunction has been entered against you.