What are the Penalties for Violating an Injunction in Florida?

Protective injunction orders, most commonly referred to as restraining orders, are a serious matter in Florida that is not taken lightly by a judge. They are civil orders from the court that prohibit a respondent (the person who must respond to the petition) from performing actions that harm or threaten the petitioner (the person that filed the petition in court). 

 

If you have had a restraining order filed against you in court, it is critical that you do not violate the protective injunction orders. Additional charges can be placed as well as jail time and fines and a permanent record. The charge can also become criminal instead of civil. The attorneys at Stechschulte Nell Law explain the penalties for violating an injunction in Florida. 

 

Understanding Injunctions  

 

There are five types of projective injunctions orders in Florida. These injunctions include:  

 

  • Domestic violence,  
  • Sexual violence,  
  • Dating violence,  
  • Repeat violence,  
  • and stalking 

 

Of the five types, domestic violence is the most common. 

 

For an injunction to be placed, the petitioner (or asserted victim) must file paperwork with the courthouse and prove in a civil court hearing to a judge that there is an immediate and present danger by the respondent (the accused).  

 

Once the judge has placed the restraining order, the respondent cannot have any form of contact with the petitioner, this includes letters, e-mails, phone calls, text messages, and face-to-face contact. The injunction will remain in place for whatever time frame the judge has ordered. 

 

Potential Penalties for Violating an Injunction 

 

When the respondent violates an injunction, that means they have not followed the orders placed by the civil court judge; they have made contact in some manner with the petitioner or threatened them/physically hurt them. 

 

The petitioner, or the police, can take the injunction violation back to court. Violating an injunction now becomes a criminal matter instead of a civil matter. Whether the injunction is temporary or permanent, it is a first-degree misdemeanor offense and first-degree misdemeanors are taken very seriously in Florida. If a petitioner is convicted of violating the injunction, the following penalties may occur: 

 

  • Up to one year in the county jail, and/or 
  • Up to one year of probation, and/or 
  • Fines of up to $1,000 

 

First-degree misdemeanors are serious and can stay on your permanent record for life. If the petitioner has repeatedly violated an injunction, the violation charge becomes a felony. 

 

Violating an Injunction 

 

Many actions may constitute violating an injunction—a lot of the specifics depend on what type of protective injunction order was filed as well as case-specific details the judge may have added. To make sure you do not violate a protective order you need to make sure to follow the exact terms set by the court and judge.  

 

Florida Statute 741.31(4)(a) lists some common ways injunctions are violated. Here are some examples of how the respondent can violate an injunction order: 

 

  • Failing to leave or vacate the residence you share with the petitioner 
  • Contacting the petitioner (ex. through phone, text, social media, e-mail) 
  • Sending mail to the petitioner 
  • Threatening or performing an act of violence to the petitioner 
  • Damaging or destroying property belonging to the petitioner 
  • Refusing to surrender any firearms and ammunition as required by a judge 
  • Intentionally coming within 100 feet of the petitioner’s vehicle 
  • Intending to, or being within 500 feet of the petitioner’s home, job, school, or any other placed outlined in the order 

 

Depending on the type of protective injunction ordered, a respondent can also violate the orders if they do not participate in a batterers’ intervention program if required. 

 

Learn More > How to Defend Against an Injunction with a Lawyer  

 

Accused of Violating a Restraining Order 

 

There are many reasons why an injunction could be violated, some without you even knowing you violated the order.  

 

Did you receive notice of the injunction?  

Did you mean to bump into them at the store?  

Did you make contact with a 3rd party who then delivered the message to the petitioner without you knowing? 

 

Violating any type of protective injunction in Florida may have harsh penalties that could follow you for the rest of your life. You need a skilled injunction attorney from Stechschulte Nell Law to review your case and build a defense strategy that can hold up in court.  

 

At our top-rated Tampa, FL-based defense firm, we understand the importance of understanding our clients’ situations so we can better represent them. We see you as a person, not a criminal. Call us today at (813) 280-1244 for a case review and let us discuss your legal options. 

 

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