A restraining order — or an injunction for protection, as it is known in Florida — can be a powerful tool to help victims of domestic violence, stalking or other threatening behavior protect themselves and their loved ones. But although restraining orders are designed to protect, they can also do serious harm when used incorrectly.
If someone has filed an injunction against you in Florida, it is important to talk your situation over with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to learn about your rights and options. In many cases, it may be in your best interest to defend against the injunction.
Florida injunction law
An injunction is a civil court procedure in which a person asks the court to issue an order for protection against another individual. There are four types of injunctions in Florida, including:
- Sexual violence.
If a court issues a restraining order against you in Florida, you will be restricted or barred from having contact with the person who requested the order, as well as any other individuals named in the injunction.
Parental rights may be affected
Not only can you be prohibited from coming within a set physical distance of the person who sought the injunction, but in some situations you may also be prevented from having any type of contact with that person by phone, email or any other method of communication — you can even be barred from communicating with him or her indirectly through a third party.
If you are a parent, you may be prevented from seeing or having contact with your own children if their other parent files a domestic injunction against you. Depending on the circumstances, the Florida injunction court may enter restrictive time-sharing provisions on you as a result of a domestic injunction, and in some cases may even order you to pay temporary child support.
Other consequences of an injunction
If an injunction is ordered against you in Florida, examples of the consequences you could face include:
- Being forced out of your home if you currently live with the person who filed the injunction.
- Possible arrest and criminal charges if you continue to have any contact with the person who requested the restraining order.
- Difficulty securing housing, employment or educational opportunities as a result of the injunction appearing in your criminal background check.
- Being barred from purchasing weapons or firearms, in addition to surrendering any weapons that you may own.
In addition, because an injunction issued in Florida is enforceable nationwide, the consequences of the injunction will continue even if you leave the state.
Injunction process moves quickly
Because injunctions are designed to protect people who are in imminent danger of actual physical harm, the injunction process can proceed very quickly. While this can be beneficial in situations where there is an actual danger of violence or other harm, it can also result in very serious and potentially life-changing consequences for a person who has been targeted by a restraining order for purposes of revenge or other invalid reasons.
Florida law requires a hearing within two weeks after the issuance of a temporary injunction. This means that if someone files an injunction against you, you will have a very short time in which to prepare a defense before your court date — an event that could change your life.
Call a lawyer for helpThe laws governing protective orders and injunctions in Florida are highly complex, and it is important to act quickly and secure legal representation if someone is seeking an injunction against you. An attorney with extensive experience defending against injunctions in Florida will work vigorously to protect your rights and in many cases may be able to prevent the injunction from being issued against you.