You have the right to be left alone. No person should have to live under the threat of violence or unwanted and harassing communication. You have the right to live a peaceful life and to be protected by the law. In Florida, everyone is entitled to restraining order, when certain criteria can be proven.
Restraining orders or “injunctions” as they are called in the State of Florida are an excellent tool for you to use to try and get back the peace in your life.
In Florida once you are successful and a judge issues you an injunction, you are protected from any and all forms of contact from the person the injunction is entered against. If the person violates the injunction, he or she commits a criminal offense, is subjected to being arrested and will face possible jail time. This means that a text, phone call, facebook message, tweet, in person visit, or even sending a message through a friend, could land this person in jail. If you have an injunction and think that it has been violated call the police immediately and report it.
Under Florida law there are five (5) categories of injunctions. They include:
The process of obtaining an injunction (“restraining order”) begins with gauging, whether your situation rises to the level where an injunction is appropriate. In Florida there are various types of restraining orders/injunctions. For more information regarding the requirements for each type of injunction click HERE.
The process of getting an injunction begins with filling out a petition. Your local Clerk of the Court should have blank forms available on their website or at their office. A petition is similar to an application, which tells the court why you need an injunction. You can either hire a lawyer to fill out the petition, fill out the petition in person at the Clerk’s office, or file a petition electronically at home. It is recommended to consult with an attorney to make sure the petition is completed correctly and that you have sufficient evidence to eventually present to the judge in court.
Once you submit the petition to the judge, two things happen. First, the judge reviews it and determines whether based on the facts you included in your petition, a temporary injunction is necessary, until the judge can hear your case in court. If the judge issues a temporary injunction it will only be valid until the judge can have a formal hearing in court. The judge will also set a court date where you will be expected to show up, present evidence, and prove that you meet the requirements under the law for an injunction.
The second thing that happens once you submit your petition is the county sheriff automatically receives a copy of the petition and will serve it along with a court date on person you are trying to get the injunction against. This person is known as the respondent.
Once there is verification that the sheriff served the respondent with the petition, the judge may conduct the final hearing.
The final hearing is sort of like a mini trial, where you will be expected to present evidence proving that you are entitled to an injunction under the law. You may introduce documents such as threatening text messages, photos, videos, or anything that will help you prove your case. In addition you may also present witnesses and have them testify in court. If the respondent either testifies or presents witnesses on their behalf, you will get an opportunity for cross examination. This is where having a lawyer at the hearing will maximize your chances of getting the injunction.
Once both sides rest their case and no longer have additional evidence to present to the court, the judge will make a decision to either grant or deny your petition (application) for the injunction.
Typically, assuming everything goes smoothly, you should be able to file your petition and have your final hearing within a month. If the county sheriff has trouble serving the petition (a necessary step) on the respondent then this will delay the process. Your injunction will not be granted until the sheriff’s office files confirmation with the Clerk of Court that the respondent has indeed been served with the petition.
If a judge determines that an injunction is warranted, he or she will decide how long the injunction will be in effect. Typically, the length of time will depend on the specific facts of your case. The judge’s primary consideration is, the least amount of time he or she thinks the injunction is necessary to protect you.
For example, if you obtain an injunction against a stranger who has only been in your life for one (1) month, the judge may decide that an injunction for one (1) year is warranted. On the other hand, if the same person was trying to get an injunction against her ex-husband that has been abusing her for multiple years, the judge might decide that an injunction for 10 years is necessary to protect her.
At The Law Offices of Scott J. Kalish we have the experience to help you get a restraining order. We represent people throughout South Florida, specifically Broward, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, Martin, and St. Lucie Counties.
With our main office conveniently located in Coral Springs, and other office locations throughout South Florida we are never far. If you have a question about getting a restraining order, reach out to us today for help.