October is domestic violence awareness month. In the wake of COVID, intimate partner violence is also on the rise among the many other tragedies.
In order to protect survivors, Florida will issue injunctions (more commonly known as restraining orders) to prevent an abuser from contacting or coming near the survivor. There are multiple types of injunctions depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, which include:
- Petition for Injunction against Repeat Violence
- Petition for Injunction against dating violence
- Petition for Injunction against Sexual violence.
- Petition for Injunction against Domestic Violence.
Domestic Violence is defined 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 or household member by another family or household member.
“Family or household member” means:
spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married. Except for persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past lived together in the same single dwelling unit.
To obtain an injunction, the Petitioner (the one who files) must show that they are the victim of any act of domestic violence or have reasonable cause to believe that they are in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence. The Court will consider a multitude of factors in determining whether an injunction is appropriate. These factors include:
- The history between the Petitioner and the Respondent, including threats, harassment, stalking, and physical abuse.
- Whether the Respondent has attempted to harm the Petitioner or family members or individuals closely associated with the Petitioner.
- Whether the Respondent has threatened to conceal, kidnap, or harm the Petitioner’s child or children.
- Whether the Respondent has intentionally injured or killed a family pet.
- Whether the Respondent has used or has threatened to use any weapons such as guns or knives against the Petitioner.
- Whether the Respondent has physically restrained the Petitioner from leaving the home or calling law enforcement.
- Whether the Respondent has a criminal history involving violence or the threat of violence.
- The existence of a verifiable order of protection issued previously or from another jurisdiction.
- Whether the Respondent has destroyed personal property, including, but not limited to, telephones or other communications equipment, clothing, or other items belonging to the Petitioner.
- Whether the Respondent engaged in any other behavior or conduct that leads the Petitioner to have reasonable cause to believe that he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence.
Once a Petition for Injunction is filed, the Court will review the allegations contained within the Petition and determine whether the Court will either enter a temporary injunction on an ex parte basis (without a hearing) and set a return hearing or deny a temporary injunction but set a hearing.
If your Petition is denied, the Court will typically include why it was denied (usually because there are no facts that support that violence is not imminent.) You have the opportunity to amend your Petition if it is denied and typically may proceed to a hearing.
After the temporary injunction is entered, the process isn’t over. You will still need to attend a final hearing, at which point the Court will determine whether a permanent injunction is appropriate.
If an injunction is entered, the Respondent will likely be ordered not to come within 500 feet of you, your residence, place of employment, and school or within 100 feet of your automobile at any time. The Respondent will be ordered to have no contact with you, either directly or indirectly, in person, by mail, e-mail, fax, telephone, through a third party, or in any other manner. Also, when the temporary injunction is entered, the Respondent will be ordered to surrender all firearms. At the final hearing, the Court can also order a timesharing schedule and child support if there are any children involved, depending on each case’s facts.
If the Respondent violates the Injunction, he or she may be arrested and face criminal charges.
We understand that filing an injunction isn’t an easy decision and sometimes there can be ramifications which is why we recommend seeking legal advice before doing so. Call us at (407) 403-5990.