While the restraining order/injunction process may be civil, having a permanent injunction entered against you - a final order by a court that a petitioner is in need of protection from you - can be as daunting as having a criminal conviction on your record.
A permanent injunction doesn’t necessarily have to be “permanent.” The judge can impose the injunction for a set period of time, such as six month, one year, five years, and so on. Or it may be set for an indefinite period of time, which means that the injunction remains in effect until either of the parties tries to vacate or modify it.
But the trick is to avoid having the injunction imposed upon you in the first place. When you are served initially, you may be served with a temporary restraining order (TRO) and a notice of hearing. This is a good time to contact a restraining order attorney who represents clients in Miami-Dade or Broward, depending on the county in which your injunction hearing is to be held.
That is because like any legal proceeding that can result in negative consequences for you, you are entitled to have representation so that you may challenge the evidence against you.
A judge may deny a petition for an injunction based on a number of grounds. On legal grounds, perhaps the petition doesn’t meet the necessary standard of proof. On factual grounds, perhaps the petitioner has not set out the facts necessary to have a court impose an injunction.
You are not only permitted to cross-examine witnesses against you, you are permitted to present evidence of your own and call your own witnesses.
If a permanent injunction is imposed, it will be accessible by the public and usually comes up in most employment background checks. You must turn in your firearms if you own one, and if not, you cannot have one. You may not go within five-hundred feet of the petitioner nor contact them in any manner. If you continue to stalk the petitioner, you can be charged with the serious felony offense of aggravated stalking.
Don’t take chances if served with a temporary restraining order. It is far easier to address a restraining order issue upfront than it is to try to correct it later.