How to File a Petition for Injunction for Protection in Florida

An Injunction – also referred to as a restraining order – is designed to protect you if you have been a victim of domestic violence or have reasonable cause to believe you are in imminent danger of becoming the victim of an act of domestic violence.  An Injunction is quick and free to file, which makes it a helpful remedy for anyone who feels like their safety or the safety of their children is at risk. It can be very beneficial when the victim or prospective victim has no other recourse in seeking safety or shelter.

Qualifying for an Injunction

You must meet specific requirements to obtain a restraining order in Florida. Florida has four distinct protective Injunctions, and you may qualify for one. These Injunctions include:

  • Domestic Violence
  • Repeat Violence
  • Sexual or Dating Violence
  • Stalking (including Cyber-stalking)

The most filed petition in this arena is the domestic violence injunction.  Domestic Violence Injunctions require that you, a family member, or a household member perceived that they were likely to become a victim or have already gone through a situation involving violence, such as 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.  With the exception of persons who are parents of a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit. You must also have a specific type of relationship with the accused, such as being related through blood, marriage or residing together, as a cohabitator without a marital relationship.

Requesting an Injunction

You must file a petition to seek an Injunction. These requests are given high priority and are usually reviewed by a Judge within a few hours of filing. If the petition meets the legal requirements to get an Injunction, then it will be granted on a temporary basis. The judge merely looks to see if the requirements for a temporary injunction are met based on the legal factors and sets a hearing within 15-days.  At the hearing, the Court will determine whether there is a basis for a permanent injunction for an extended period of time.

If the judge grants the temporary injunction, then the sheriff will serve it on the accused person. If, for example, the Respondent is living in your home, then he or she must leave the residence.  If they violate the Injunction, the Respondent is subject to arrest and/or contempt.

At the hearing on the permanent injunction, the Respondent will have their day in Court to put on evidence in their defense and demonstrate that the allegations are without cause to sustain a permanent injunction or are untrue.  The Petitioner also has an opportunity to present further testimonial or physical evidence to procure the permanent injunction. The hearing is conducted similar to a trial, and each is allowed to put on witnesses and admit documentation to support their respective positions.

It is a good idea to have a lawyer throughout this process. Your well-being, safety and that of your child may be at risk.  Contrastingly, you may be falsely accused and restricted from your children or home without cause. If you are a sworn officer or required to carry a weapon as a part of your employment, your job may be at risk as well.  Do not put yourself, your family or your employment on the line by trying to work through this process on your own. Call McKINNON LEGAL to learn more about your rights today!