Violence Protection Frequently Asked Questions
An Injunction, sometimes called a Restraining Order, is a Court Order which tells someone to do or not do something. An Injunction for Protection against Violence is signed by a judge and can be enforced by law enforcement or the courts. In Florida Injunctions for Protection are governed by Florida Statutes Sections 741.30 and 784.046.
Injunctions filed under these statutes are intended to protect victims of violence, or in some cases, those who have a reasonable fear that violence is imminent.
There is no fee to file an injunction or to have one served.
If the court enters an injunction, it will prohibit the respondent (the person you filed it against) from continuing any acts or threats of violence. The court may also order the respondent to vacate your residence, stay away from your residence, and stay away from your workplace. If the injunction states that there is to be "no contact" between the parties, the respondent is prohibited from communicating with the petitioner directly, indirectly, or through a third party. The respondent must obey the court's order or face criminal charges. If you and the respondent have minor children together, the judge may also award custody and order financial support for you and/or your children.
Come to the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court, Violence Protection Division. We can provide you with the forms that you will need to fill out. Once the papers have been completed you will be asked to swear that the information given is true. (Knowingly swearing to false information is considered perjury; a felony in the third degree).
After you file the paperwork, a Judge will review your file, usually the same day. Based on the information you have given, the Judge will determine whether to sign a Temporary Injunction for Protection. If you are granted a Temporary Injunction a hearing will be set within 15 days from the date the Petition was filed. The judge may also set a hearing without issuing an injunction, or may deny the petition.
The judge will decide at the hearing whether to issue a Final Judgment of Injunction. The judge will specify what conditions or restrictions are to be placed upon the respondent and for what length of time the injunction will be in effect.
If there is any danger, call 911. Law enforcement may make an arrest, or in some cases only write a report. Anytime the injunction is violated an affidavit may be filed at the clerk’s office. The State attorney and the judge review the affidavit and determine whether the respondent will be ordered to appear in court for violating the injunction. You may be required to appear and testify if the case results in a trial.
Forms are available at the clerk’s office to ask the judge to modify or dissolve your injunction. The injunction will remain in force until the judge signs an order changing it. A hearing is usually required to modify or dismiss an injunction.
An attorney can certainly be helpful in presenting your case to the judge, but many people complete the whole process without the help of an attorney.
Generally, Florida law states that a court can enter an injunction to protect the victim of violence under any of the four following types of violent relationships:
- A "Domestic Violence Injunction" requires that the parties have lived together “as if a family” or have a child together. The petitioner (the person asking for protection) must be a victim of domestic violence, or have reasonable cause to believe that violence is imminent.
- For a "Repeat Violence Injunction" the respondent (the person the petitioner is asking for protection from) must have committed two incidents of violence against the petitioner or the petitioner’s immediate family member and one of the incidents must have been within the past six months.
- A "Dating Violence Injunction" would apply if the parties have had a continuing dating relationship within the past six months that involved the expectation of affection or sexual involvement. The petitioner must be a victim of violence or have reasonable cause to believe violence is imminent.
- To file a "Sexual Violence Injunction" the petitioner must be a victim of sexual violence, have reported that crime and be cooperating with law enforcement agencies; or the respondent who committed the sexual violence was sentenced and the term of imprisonment is expired or is due to expire within 90 days.
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Attn: Violence Protection
P.O. BOX 25400
Bradenton, FL 34206
1115 Manatee Avenue West
Bradenton, FL 34205