Florida Domestic Violence: The Basics of Restraining Orders

In 2016, Florida law enforcement agencies received 105,668 reports of domestic violence. 63,193 of them resulted in arrests. While these numbers may seem staggering, the problem is even more serious at the national level. According to National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), in the U.S. a woman is beaten or assaulted every nine seconds; every minute, 20 people are physically abused by their intimate partners.

Sadly, these numbers may be even bigger in reality. Such incidents aren’t always reported because victims don’t seek help for fear of abuser’s retaliation, shame, or other reasons.

A restraining order, also called an injunction, is one of the forms of protection that Florida state law offers to the victims of domestic violence and abuse. Even though the process of filing a restraining order may seem intimidating, an experienced Florida family lawyer can guide you every step of the way. In this blog post, we explain the basics of filing a restraining order in Florida and discuss how it protects a domestic violence victim.

How Does a Restraining Order Protect You?

The main reason to file for a restraining order is to get a court to stop your abuser from coming near you. In Florida, you can file an injunction if you have been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or sexual violence.

The legal document (aka the order) that you obtain from court will guarantee that you can get protection from law enforcement if your abuser tries to hurt you again or if they’re trying to stalk you. In addition, if you used to live with your abuser and some of your personal items are still in the house or apartment that the abuser continues to occupy, with a restraining order in place, you can ask a police officer to accompany you and protect you while you collect your belongings. Moreover, if the restraining order requires your abuser to leave your house or apartment, then a police officer will also accompany you to make sure the abuser leaves in peace and does no harm to you.

How to File for a Restraining Order?

You must file a restraining order at the local court of your current residence (permanent or temporary), the area where the abuser lives, or the area where the domestic violence took place. You won’t be required to pay any fees for it. You need to bring a photo I.D. After you have filed an injunction, one copy of it will be delivered to the abuser to notify him or her of the proceedings.

On the basis of your initial application, a judge may issue a temporary restraining order that will be effective for 15 days. During this time, a hearing for a permanent injunction will take place. You may bring your witnesses to this hearing as well as any documents (such as medical records) that can serve as the evidence of the abuse. It is highly advisable that you contact an experienced Florida family law attorney before you start preparing your court case. Having a trained legal professional at your side before and during the hearing will not only give you more confidence as you face your abuser but will also increase your chances for a successful outcome of your case.

We Can Help

Rotella & Hernandez are deeply concerned about the effect of domestic violence in our community. Our heart goes out to all of the victims, and we are driven to help each and every one. If you have experienced violence/abuse from your current/former intimate partner or a family member, you need to know that you don’t have to be in this fight alone. Our experienced Florida family lawyers are prepared to provide all the legal assistance needed to help you escape the vicious circle of abuse you may find yourself in. Please call us to schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers. We promise a personal approach to your case and full confidentiality.

What happens, though, if your abuser violates the restraining order? On the other hand, what are your options if you were unfairly accused of being an abuser and you have been informed that the supposed victim filed an injunction? We will discuss answers to these questions in our next blog post.

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