Even as a criminal defense attorney, petitions for injunctive relief are right up my alley. That's because when somebody is asking the Court to keep another person away from them, they are usually doing so because they fear that they will become the victim of violence.
The process for obtaining a restraining order
(or injunction, as is the more formal name) can be confusing, and it is best to retain an experienced attorney who handles injunctions in both Miami-Dade and Broward. That's because it helps to understand not only the process, but the judges and how they rule. Knowing the personality and tendencies of a judge helps an attorney to best present their case.
First of all, if you are seeking an injunction, you should understand what it is that you are asking a judge to do. You are asking a judge to impose a legal order forbidding another person from having any contact with you. This includes in-person contact, phone contact, electronic contact, or third-party contact.
But an injunction is not just something to take lightly. An injunction will show on your permanent record. It will come up in background searches. It can literally be as damaging as having a criminal conviction on your record. So before you ask a judge to do something that could destroy another person's life, you need to make sure that you are seeking the injunction not out of spite or revenge, but out of fear.
Florida law permits injunctive relief for dating violence, domestic violence
, sexual violence, and repeat violence. "Violence" can include a physical act of violence (such as a battery
), or non-physical violence, such as harassment and stalking.
At least one of these acts of violence must have occurred within 6 months of the filing of your petition.
When you file a petition, the Court may grant you a temporary restraining order (TRO) which is good until the hearing date. At the hearing, a judge will listen to testimony and evidence to determine whether you, the petitioner, are at risk for becoming a victim of violence and whether such injunctive relief is necessary for your protection.
If you are a victim in a pending criminal case, the Court may have already issued a stay-away order
. A stay-away order is not a permanent injunction because it ceases to exist when the criminal case is over. Also, violation of a stay-away order is considered contempt of court. Violation of an injunction is a misdemeanor
, and stalking while a permanent injunction is in place is a felony (aggravated stalking
). Also, an injunction may be imposed for a period of years, or even for a lifetime.
All in all, an injunction will give you broader protection than a simple stay-away order.
Since seeking an injunction is a legal process, you should hire an attorney if you are serious about getting the relief that you want. Going it alone is always a bad idea.
If you are seeking an injunction because you are the victim of violence and fear further violence if the Court does not intervene, contact me today