When petitioned, the courts can opt to order injunctions as a protective measure to prevent contact between two parties. Enacting this legal tool, also referred to as a restraining, no-contact, or protective order, requires a step-by-step process. This includes an injunction hearing where the judge will determine whether to issue an injunction and to lay out the terms of the protection.
Both parties — the person filing for an injunction (petitioner) and the person the petitioner files the petition against (respondent) — should come well prepared for the hearing, ready to justify their case to the judge. The injunction hearing lawyers in Pinellas County, FL at Goldman Wetzel can help. Call us today at 727-828-3900 to learn how we can assist you in obtaining or defending against a restraining order.
Kind of Injunctions in Florida
Florida courts recognize five distinct types of injunctions. The kind of restraining order the judge orders depends on the nature of the relationship between the two parties, but all variations essentially accomplish the same goal: no contact between the petitioner and respondent.
Stalking Injunctions: For cases involving stalking, cyberstalking, harassment, threats, physical abuse, or purposeful property damage.
Domestic Violence Injunctions: For people that live or have lived together and/or have a child together, and where the petitioner alleges the respondent committed violence against her or she has reason to believe she is in danger of domestic violence.
Dating Violence Injunctions: For people that were in an intimate relationship, but did not live together or have children together, and where the petitioner alleges the respondent was violent towards her.
Repeat Violence Injunctions: For cases in which the respondent committed violence or stalked the petitioner or her family member at least twice.
Types of Relief Injunctions Provide
Restraining orders provide relief for petitioners such as:
- Restraining the respondent from contact and committing acts of violence;
- Awarding the petitioner with temporary exclusive use of the shared home;
- Setting terms of applicable issues such as timesharing with children;
- Preventing the respondent from making direct or indirect contact with the petitioner or going near her home, work, or vehicle;
- Ordering the respondent to attend counseling, a domestic violence class, or other intervention courses;
- Prohibiting the respondent from owning firearms; and
- Any other provisions the court deems necessary.
The Caveats to Injunctions
Not all petitioners use the system appropriately, however. They may lie on the petition and attempt to misuse the court’s protection for ulterior motives, such as for spite, retaliation, or leverage in a divorce or custody dispute.
Injunctions have lasting detrimental effects for respondents. Depending on the terms of the order, it can prevent the respondent from using his home, seeing his children, and going to places he usually frequents. Moreover, overstepping the court order and violating any of the rules — even inadvertently — can result in criminal charges.
If the court has served you with a temporary restraining order, contact our office and speak to our lawyers about how to prepare for the hearing, defend against the accusations, and protect your best interests.
How Restraining Orders Work
The injunction process is relatively straightforward:
- Step One: When a petitioner feels threatened, she can file a petition for an injunction with the local court.
- Step Two: If the case meets specific requirements, the judge will issue a temporary, 15-day restraining order.
- Step Three: A process server or deputy will serve the temporary injunction (Temporary Restraining Order or TRO) on the respondent, at which time the injunction becomes active. The court will include the injunction hearing date and location on the TRO.
- Step Four: The parties will attend the injunction hearing with their attorneys. The hearing allows the petitioner to prove why she needs the injunction, while the respondent can prove why an order is not justified. The judge will hear both sides and review their evidence.
- Step Five: The judge will decide whether to grant the petition. If he does, the order will become effective immediately.
- Step Six: Either party may petition the court at any time for a modification of the injunction, e.g., if the parties reconcile.
Types of Evidence to Bring to the Injunction Hearing
The hearing gives parties the opportunity to state their case to the judge and justify the necessity of the injunction or lack thereof. Failure to prepare will likely cause you to lose the case. Goldman Wetzel injunction attorneys can help collect pertinent evidence and present your side coherently, clearly, and convincingly to the judge.
Evidence we may use includes:
- Text message records;
- Email and regular mail;
- Social media messages, posts, and comments;
- Photos and video; and
- Testimony from witnesses.
Goldman Wetzel Helps with Injunctions in Pinellas County
Attorneys Summer Goldman and Maribeth Wetzel have over 30 combined years of experience. Having worked in both prosecution and defense, they know how to effectively handle both sides of injunction cases. Our attorneys work together on each case our firm handles, giving you broader legal counsel and advocacy.
Injunctions are powerful legal instruments, but many people misunderstand how to obtain or defend against them. And they can be quite complicated. For example, if the petitioner and respondent have a child in common, have they thought of a safe way to transfer the child? Can they arrange for a third party to help? Judges may make exceptions and allow for limited text or email communication to make child sharing arrangements, but the parties will need to appropriately address these issues in court.
Goldman Wetzel can help. We can advise you of your rights, counsel you on options, file the necessary documents, and assist you in preparing for court.