What Are Protective Orders?

Protective Orders are injunctions (often called "restraining orders") used in Florida to protect victims of domestic violence, dating violence, repeat violence, sexual violence or stalking.

While protective orders can be extremely inconvenient to those subject to them, any violation of the terms of the order can result in a finding of contempt or even an arrest for a new felony or misdemeanor charge.

If an injunction for protection is granted, then you lose some of your civil rights. If you were served with a petition for an injunction for protection, then seek out the services of a qualified attorney to learn more about what you need to do to protect your rights.

Attorney for Protective Orders in Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Individuals seek protective orders for multiple reasons. When protective orders are filed against women, it is usually due to the idea of the "crazy ex-girlfriend," who harasses her former paramour.

When protective orders are filed by women, then the issue is usually domestic violence, sexual abuse, or dating violence. In any of these situations, having an experienced attorney who can empathize with your case will be invaluable.

The Florida Women's Law Center (FWLC) is dedicated to protecting the rights of women who are seeking injunctions against violent partners or who are fighting injunctions to protect their reputation in the community.

The Florida Women's Law Center, a division of Bacchus Law Firm, devoted to helping women navigate the often confusing and convoluted legal system.

If you or someone you know in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, LaBelle, or East Naples, Florida, has been subject to a TPO or other civil injunction, speak with an experienced attorney at the Florida Women's Law Center.

Our offices are conveniently located in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and we serve clients throughout Fort Lauderdale in Broward County and the surrounding areas in the greater Miami-Metropolitan area. We serve clients in the surrounding areas of Collier County, Hendry County, Palm Beach County, and Miami-Dade County.

Call (954) 500-5555 to schedule a one-on-one consultation with one of our criminal defense attorneys.

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What Are Protective Orders in Florida?

In Florida, an injunction, otherwise known as a protective order or restraining order, directs an individual to not have any contact or communication with the person who has requested the order.

Under Florida law, there are four kinds of civil injunctions that a person may file. The four types of protective orders include the following:

These different civil injunctions are differentiated based on the relationship that the claimant has with the defendant.

Domestic Violence Protection Orders

Under Florida Statute § 741.28, domestic violence is defined as violence between individuals who are members of the same family. The Statute defines "family" as any of the following:

  • People who are related by blood or marriage;
  • People who reside together as family;
  • People who have a child(ren) in common;
  • People who have previously resided together as family;
  • Spouses; or
  • Former Spouses.

Sexual Violence Protection Order

Florida law also contemplates the need for an injunction against individuals who may not be related by any of the domestic violence categories. An individual may file a court order for a sexual violence injunction if any of the following are true:

  • The claimant's relationship does not qualify as a "family" relationship under Statute § 741.28;
  • The defendant committed an act of sexual battery as defined under Florida Statutes Chapter 794, F.S. Chapter 787, or F.S. Chapter 827.
  • The claimant reported the sexual violence to a law enforcement agency and they are cooperating with them; or
  • The defendant had been in prison for sexual violence against the claimant and will be released within 90 days.

Dating Violence Protection Order

In order for a Florida court to grant a dating violence injunction, the claimant must show the following:

  • there are at least two incidents of physical violence, threats of violence, or stalking; and
  • at least one act of physical violence, threats of violence, or stalking must have occurred within the last six months.

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What Happens if I Violate a Protective Order?

Reading a protective order, if you find yourself at the mercy of one, is one of the most important first steps in fighting TPOs and restraining orders.

If you read the order, you can fully understand your restrictions under the order. This is important because many individuals return to jail or prison because they were not aware that they could not communicate with the claimant using a certain platform.

Many restraining orders will prevent an individual from contacting an individual any number of the following:

  • in person;
  • phone conversation;
  • social media, such as Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram;
  • Text or Instant Messaging;
  • Gifts;
  • Letters or Emails;
  • Communication via third-party
  • Traveling within a number of feet of a specified place.

In Florida, violating a civil injunction is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 fines.

The penalties for violating any of these injunctions can increase in severity when the individual repeatedly violates an injunction order.

Additional Resources

Rules for Filing an Injunction - Visit the Florida Courts website to find the forms needed to file a domestic injunction or dating violence injunction against a person. Also, find information about the Florida procedure for processing the request

Florida Chapter 741 – Visit the official website of the Florida Legislature for the full legislative chapter on domestic violence, including the definition of "family" under Florida law.

Florida Coalition of Against Domestic Violence - Visit FCADV, created to free the world of violence by empowering women and children through the elimination of personal and institutional violence. The website provides extensive resources regarding how to obtain a temporary injunction or a regular civil injunction due to domestic violence, dating violence, or repeat violence in Florida.

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Find an Attorney for Protective Orders in Broward County, FL

If you or someone you know is subject to a protective order, or is in a violent relationship and needs to obtain a protective order, then contact attorneys at the FLWC who have both defended clients charged with TPOs and who have represented clients who needed to file for them.

Our attorneys in Fort Lauderdale, FL, will guide you through every step of your trial to prepare you to fight for the best possible result. Our office is conveniently located in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. We serve clients throughout the Miami-Metropolitan area. We serve clients in Broward County and in the surrounding areas of Collier County, Miami-Dade County, and Palm Beach County, Florida.

Call (954) 500-5555 to schedule a one-on-one consultation with one of our attorneys at the Florida Women's Law Center.

This article was last updated on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.