Like many other places, Florida grapples with the distressing presence of domestic violence. It is an issue that affects the lives of numerous individuals within the state. For example, in 2020 alone, more than 60,000 out of 106,515 reported domestic violence crimes resulted in arrests.
In times of distress and personal safety concerns, obtaining a restraining order, also known as an injunction, can be a crucial step toward ensuring your well-being.
Types of injunctions
In Florida, several types of injunctions exist to protect victims of domestic violence. They include:
- Domestic violence: This is the most common type of injunction, offering protection against individuals with whom you have a familial or domestic relationship.
- Dating violence: Addresses abusive situations between individuals in a romantic or intimate relationship, even if they do not live together.
- Sexual violence: Protects victims of sexual assault or any other form of nonconsensual sexual activity.
- Repeat violence: Applicable in cases with at least two incidents of violence or stalking against you or a family member.
- Stalking: Protects individuals harassed or stalked by another person.
The type of injunction that applies to your case is typically based on the nature of your relationship with the person you are seeking protection from. You can always consult an attorney or seek guidance from a domestic violence hotline if in doubt.
Obtaining an injunction
Applying for injunctions requires information such as the location of the abuser, your photo ID and names of the children involved that are still a minor. Here are the steps to follow:
- Seek Assistance: Contact your local law enforcement agency, domestic violence hotline or a trusted legal professional who can guide you through the process.
- Gather Information: Document incidents, dates and any evidence related to the abusive behavior. This evidence will be crucial in supporting your case.
- File a Petition: Visit your local courthouse and petition for an injunction. You must complete forms outlining the abuse’s details and the requested protections.
- Court Review: The court will review your petition and may grant you a temporary restraining order if it finds sufficient evidence of the threat to your safety.
- Serving the Order: Once the temporary order is granted, the respondent (the person the order is against) must be served with a copy of the order by law enforcement or a process server.
- Final Hearing: A final hearing will be scheduled where you can present evidence, testify and provide witness statements. If the court finds the evidence convincing, it may issue a final injunction.
Once granted, the court has issued a legal order to protect you from a specific individual who has threatened, harassed or harmed you. The injunction typically outlines the prohibited actions the person must adhere to, such as staying away from you, your home, workplace or school.
Violating the terms of the injunction can result in legal consequences for the individual, such as arrest or other penalties. It is important to familiarize yourself with the specific conditions and requirements of the injunction and consult with legal authorities to ensure your safety and understanding of the legal process.