In many cases that involve protective orders, the person submitting the petition is a victim of domestic violence seeking court-ordered protection from future violence.
Not all protective orders stem from domestic violence arrests. An alleged victim (referred to as a petitioner) can seek a restraining order against an alleged offender (referred to as the respondent) in a civil court based merely on threats of possible violence.
Attorney for Protective Orders in Broward County, FL
If you have been served notice of a restraining order against you in South Florida, it is in your best interest to make sure that you have legal counsel rather than attempting to represent yourself. It is also important to attend a final hearing, as failure to appear will result in a default judgment for the petitioner. Contact The Hoffman Firm as soon as possible.
Evan A. Hoffman is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who defends clients accused of domestic violence crimes in Coral Springs, Dania Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Cooper City, and many surrounding areas of Broward County.
Call (954) 524-4474 to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation that will allow our attorney to provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case.
Fort Lauderdale Protective Orders Information Center
- What are the different kinds of restraining orders in Florida?
- What effect does an injunction for protection have?
- Where can I find more information about protective orders in Broward County?
Florida has five kinds of injunctions for protection, and the petitioner's relationship to the respondent as well as the type of behavior allegedly involved typically dictates which type of restraining order will be issued. The Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure and the Florida Rules of Evidence govern protective orders.
The five kinds of injunctions for protection in Florida include:
Domestic Violence Injunctions
Under Florida Statute § 741.28(2), domestic violence is defined as “any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.” Injunctions for protection against domestic violence are for victims of domestic violence or individuals who have reasonable cause to believe they are in imminent danger of becoming victims of domestic violence.
Repeat Violence Injunctions
Florida Statute § 784.046(1)(b) defines repeat violence as “two incidents of violence or stalking committed by the respondent, one of which must have been within six months of the filing of the petition, which are directed against the petitioner or the petitioner’s immediate family member.” Injunctions for protection against repeat violence are for victims of repeat violence, but the parents or legal guardians of minor children living at home who have been the victims of repeat violence can also file these petitions.
Dating Violence Injunctions
Under Florida Statute § 784.046(1)(d), dating violence is defined as “violence between individuals who have or have had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature” (the phrase does not apply to “violence in a casual acquaintanceship or violence between individuals who only have engaged in ordinary fraternization in a business or social context”). Injunctions for protection against dating violence are for victims of dating violence, and the existence of a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature is determined based on the consideration of the following factors:
- A dating relationship must have existed within the past six months;
- The nature of the relationship must have been characterized by the expectation of affection or sexual involvement between the parties; and
- The frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship must have included that the persons have been involved over time and on a continuous basis during the course of the relationship.
Florida Statute § 784.048(2) establishes that a person commits a stalking offense if he or she “willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person.” Injunctions for protection against stalking are for victims of stalking, but the parents or legal guardians of minor children who are living at home and were victims of stalking can also file these petitions.
Sexual Violence Injunctions
Under Florida Statute § 784.046(1)(b), sexual violence is defined as any one of the following incidents, regardless of whether criminal charges based on the incident were filed, reduced, or dismissed by the Broward County State Attorney's Office:
- sexual battery;
- a lewd or lascivious act committed upon or in the presence of a person younger than 16 years of age;
- luring or enticing a child;
- sexual performance by a child;
- or any other forcible felony wherein a sexual act is committed or attempted.
An injunction for protection against sexual violence is for victims of sexual violence, but the parents or legal guardians of a minor child who is living at home and is the victims of sexual violence can also seek these injunctions if the victim reported the alleged sexual violence to a law enforcement agency and is cooperating in any criminal proceeding against the respondent.
When a petition for an injunction for protection is filed, a judge can either deny the petition, issue a temporary (ex parte) injunction that remains in effect until a final hearing (to be held no later than 15 days), or sign an order setting a hearing on the petition for injunction for protection without issuing an interim temporary injunction. The petitioner is the only party that presents information at the initial hearing, so petitions are rarely denied out of simple concern for the well-being of alleged victims.
An injunction does not become "permanent" until a final hearing can be held. The respondent must be notified of the date of the final hearing, and he or she will have the opportunity to present evidence, witnesses, and testimony to refute the petitioner's claims.
If a judge issues a final order of injunction for the petitioner, it may remain in effect for a set period of time, or it could have no expiration date at all. Possible court orders included in injunctions for protection can consist of any of the following:
- Immediately restrain the respondent from committing any acts of domestic violence, repeat violence, dating violence, sexual violence, or stalking;
- Award to the petitioner the temporary exclusive use and possession of the dwelling that the parties share or excluding the respondent from the residence of the petitioner;
- Direct the respondent to participate in a batterers’ intervention program or other treatment pursuant to Florida Statute § 39.901;
- Provide the petitioner with 100 percent of the time-sharing in a temporary parenting plan that remains in effect until the order expires or an order is entered by a court of competent jurisdiction in a pending or subsequent civil action or proceeding affecting the placement of, access to, parental time with, adoption of, or parental rights and responsibilities for the minor child;
- Establish temporary support for a minor child or children or the petitioner that remains in effect until the order expires or an order is entered by a court of competent jurisdiction in a pending or subsequent civil action or proceeding affecting child support;
- Order the respondent to participate in treatment, intervention, or counseling services to be paid for by the respondent;
- Not go to, or be within 500 feet of, the petitioner's residence, school, place of employment, or a specified place regularly frequented by the petitioner and any named family or household member;
- Not telephone, contact, or otherwise communicate with the petitioner directly or indirectly, unless the injunction specifically allows indirect contact through a third party;
- Not deface or destroy the petitioner's personal property, including the petitioner's motor vehicle; and
- Surrender firearms or ammunition.
Domestic Violence | Broward County Clerk of Courts — Visit this section of the Broward County Clerk of Courts website to learn more about filing a petition for an injunction for protection. You can find a "forms pack" for each one of the five types of restraining orders available in Florida. The website also has answers to frequently asked questions.
Broward County Clerk of Courts
201 SE 6th St.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Restraining Orders | Broward County Sheriff's Office — On this section of the Broward County Sheriff's Office website, you can learn more about injunctions for protection. Find information about additional steps to take after filing a petition. You can also learn what to do if a respondent violates the terms of an injunction.
Broward's Sheriff's Office
2601 West Broward Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
(954) 764-HELP (4357)
Find a Protective Orders Defense Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Have you been served with an injunction for protection in Broward County? Make sure that you contact The Hoffman Firm before attending your final hearing.
Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Evan A. Hoffman represents individuals in communities all over South Florida, such as Lauderhill, Margate, Miramar, Pompano Beach, Hollywood, and several others.
Call (954) 524-4474 or complete an online contact form to have our lawyer review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free initial consultation.
Evan A. Hoffman
Mr. Hoffman’s philosophy is "our knowledge and experience is your best defense." He has been a featured author on criminal law issues such as driving under the influence, domestic violence and illegal searches.Read More
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