Types of Protective Orders in Florida
Protective orders or restraining orders, also called injunctions for protection in Florida, are available for victims of domestic violence. Many people are affected by abuse and violence, and it’s important for potential victims to understand the resources available to them. If you’ve been a victim of domestic violence, it’s imperative to speak with a skilled Florida family law attorney who can help you get an injunction for protection as soon as possible.
Civil vs Criminal Law
In some cases, injunctions for protection can be issued in either a criminal or civil court. It can be confusing in a domestic violence matter to know which court needs to hear the matter. With civil injunctions, you’re asking a judge to help protect you from the alleged abuser rather than sending this person to jail if they violate the order. Criminal courts handle all cases involving harassment, assault, theft, etc. If a criminal court is hearing the matter, it means the person is being charged with a crime. The district attorney brings the case and decides if the matter can be dropped, whereas with a civil case, the petitioner has the right to withdraw their request.
Types of Domestic Orders
The main types of domestic orders for protection are based on domestic violence, stalking, repeat violence, sexual violence, or dating violence.
- Domestic Violence: Domestic violence is defined as any violence that is perpetrated against a family member or someone in the same household. If you’ve been a victim or have serious concerns about your immediate safety, you can obtain a temporary or final restraining order. If you have children together, there are additional steps, including filing a Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Affidavit (UCCJEA).
- Repeat Violence: If you’ve previously suffered some type of abuse from someone who is not immediate family or a member of your household, you may be eligible for the repeated-violence injunction. If a family member has made repeated attacks, one of which was completed within the last six months, you may qualify for an injunction under this category. In most cases, however, these injunctions are against people like a neighbor or co-worker. In other words, non-domestic or non-dating relationships.
- Sexual Violence: Sexual violence has its own category that involves events like sexual battery, lewd or lascivious acts, an act committed on or in the presence of a child (someone under 16), enticing or luring a child, sexual performance by a child, or any other forcible felony wherein a sexual act is attempted or committed. Additional criteria, like reporting to the police and assisting with criminal proceedings, apply under the sexual violence injunction section.
- Dating Violence: These are similar to domestic violence protection orders, but they are typically reserved for someone you are romantically involved with, but who is not a member of your household. It involves someone you’ve been romantically involved for the last six months.
- Stalking: Another category of injunction for protection orders is related to stalking or cyberstalking. Florida defines stalking as a repeated malicious harassment that serves no purposes and results in emotional distress.
Retaining a Florida Attorney
If you believe you need a restraining order, contact the Law Offices of Schwartz | White at 561-391-9943. We have over 50 years of combined experience in Boca Raton family law matters. Let one of our skilled attorneys help you with a pending injunction order request, along with any other related family law matters.