Restraining orders are legal court orders that protect victims of domestic violence, victims of stalking, victims of harassment and victims of sexual abuse. They prohibit the perpetrator of these acts from being within a certain distance of the victim, or from making any type of future contact. Once a family court judge issues a restraining order, it can last from two weeks to several years, and victims have the option of renewing it if the situation doesn’t improve.
Types of Restraining Orders
In some states, a restraining order is known as a protection order or an order of protection. In Florida, restraining orders are known as an injunction for protection against domestic violence. Some of the most common types of restraining orders include:
- Emergency Restraining Order – Police issue this type of order when a victim is in immediate danger from an abuser, or a victim cannot petition for the order because court is not in session (such as on a weekend). Emergency orders are often issued after a domestic violence incident has occurred to provide immediate protection for a victim who is in imminent danger.
- Temporary Restraining Order – This is issued by a Judge, for the victim for a short period of time until both parties can attend a hearing about the situation.
- Domestic Violence Restraining Order – A court issues this type of order after a judge has heard the facts of the case and rendered a final judgment in favor of the accuser. It is a long-term order that a victim can renew if the abuser still presents a viable threat.
How a Judge Determines Whether To Issue A Restraining Order
Florida law requires that a judge must take specific factors into account before making a decision about issuing a restraining order, such as:
- Has the accused physically harmed the accuser?
- Is there a history between the accuser and the accused, such as harassment, threats or intimidation?
- Has the accused tried to harm the accuser, the accuser’s family and friends, or the accuser’s co-workers?
- Has the accused tried to kidnap or harm the accuser’s children (if applicable)?
- Has the accused physically restrained the accuser from leaving a residence, or from contacting police?
- Does the accused have a criminal past that involves violence, threats, or sexual assault?
- Has the accused injured or killed an accuser’s pet?
- Has the accused damaged the accuser’s personal property?
- Has the accused exhibited behavior that causes the accuser to feel in danger of physical violence in the future?
Provisions of a Restraining Order
Once a restraining order is granted, it can include several provisions, including:
- Prohibiting the accused to stay a specific distance away from the victim’s home, workplace and vehicle
- Ordering the accused to leave a home shared with the victim
- Requiring the accused to seek counseling
- Ordering the accused to surrender firearms
Restraining orders can protect the victim, the victim’s children, the victim’s other family members and the victim’s existing domestic partners.
Ensuring Your Safety and Protection
If you are in a situation that requires a restraining order, we can help you through the process and ensure that you are protected to the fullest extent of the law. Please contact The Law Office of Eric C. Cheshire, P.A., at 561-655-8844 for a legal consultation with Attorney Cheshire.