Violating an injunction or restraining order can result in jail time and fines. It makes no difference whether the person who sought the injunction (petitioner) initiated the contact, nor whether petitioner falsified the report about the alleged communication. If you (respondent) were served with an injunction and law enforcement believes the petitioner’s story about a violation, you could find yourself facing criminal charges.
Our injunction violation lawyers in Pinellas County, FL can help you fight injunction violation allegations in Pinellas County and clear your name. Talk to a Goldman Wetzel team member today by calling 727-828-3900.
Goldman Wetzel Handles All Types of Injunction Cases in Pinellas County
Our attorneys have been handling criminal cases for over 30 combined years, including a variety of injunction cases in Pinellas County. We help both petitioners and respondents with any legal issue related to restraining orders, including:
- Obtaining a domestic violence, stalking, repeat violence, sexual violence or dating violence injunction;
- Representing respondents in court and fighting any of the aforementioned types of injunctions;
- Helping respondents with the legal process when accused of violating an injunction;
- Assisting with getting an existing injunction order dissolved or modified; and
- Defending against related charges such as domestic violence, battery, assault, stalking, cyberstalking, trespassing, etc.
Ways to Violate an Injunction Order
Every injunction the court issues contains details about that specific order. Read yours carefully to determine the terms of the restraining order, including the rules and restrictions by which you must abide.
In most cases, petitioners accuse the respondent of violating an injunction by:
- Refusing to the leave the home in which the parties were cohabitating;
- Going to a public place where the petitioner or her family often goes, such as her work, school, or home;
- Going with 500 feet of the petitioner or 100 feet of her car;
- Damaging or ruining the petitioner’s property;
- Making threats of violence;
- Sending texts, emails, or messages on social media;
- Stalking the petitioner; or
- Committing an act of violence on the petitioner, e.g., domestic violence.
How the Petitioner Must Report an Injunction Violation
The rules and procedures for injunction orders, provided in Florida Statutes Chapters 784 and 741, are long and complex. But basically, when a petitioner wants to inform authorities that the respondent violated an injunction, she can:
- Call Law Enforcement. The police will then investigate the issue and file a police report. They can also arrest the respondent if they think he committed an act of violence on the petitioner or committed another criminal act.
- Contact the Clerk of the Circuit Court for assistance in preparing an affidavit which details the alleged violation. The clerk will then forward the affidavit to the state attorney and appropriate judge.
At this point, the court can proceed to enforce the violation through criminal contempt. While injunctions are important legal instruments that protect victims from legitimate violence, some petitioners are motivated by revenge, spite, or jealousy. Petitioners may lie or exaggerate the truth when reporting a violation. And if the officer and judge believe them, you could face serious penalties.
Speak to our injunction violation lawyers for help defending against the allegations and preparing for the upcoming hearing.
Possible Penalties for Violating an Injunction in Florida
Violating a restraining order can cost you. Florida classifies the crime as a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to:
- One year in jail; and
- A $1,000 fine.
Per Florida Statute § 784.0487(4)(b), if the respondent already had two injunction violations on his record against the same victim, the state will elevate the crime to a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony includes a punishment of up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Defenses to Injunction Violations
Our defense lawyers can examine defense options with you and determine the best approach for your case. Common defenses include:
- You were not notified of the injunction. If you were never served with a notice of permanent injunction against you, it cannot be enforceable.
- The contact was unintentional. The contact must be willful to qualify as a violation. If we can show that the contact between you and the petitioner was unintentional, e.g., you bumped into her at the mall, then the prosecutor cannot prove you violated the order.
- You did not understand the all the details of the “no contact” order. If you genuinely misunderstood the scope of the order, such as a prohibition against contact via a third party, then the court might consider the communication accidental and therefore, not a violation.
Whatever the situation, we can help create a plan of action to fight your charges or reduce the penalties. Contact our office to learn more.
How Our Injunction Violation Defense Lawyers Can Help
Restraining orders have lasting detrimental effects for respondents. They can effectively limit your contact with your children, force you out of your home, prevent you from frequenting places you normally go, and keep you from owning a firearm. And violating an injunction can result in civil and criminal penalties. You do not have to go to court alone.
Attorneys Summer Goldman and Maribeth Wetzel can give you the legal advice and smart representation you need to fight allegations brought against you and preserve your rights.
The sooner you contact us, the more time we will have to prepare for the hearing. We can talk to witnesses, explore ulterior motives the petitioner may have, take depositions and look for ways to bolster your case. We will also look for inconsistencies in the state’s case and its witnesses’ stories.
If you have only been served with a temporary injunction, we can try to get the petition dismissed. If the court has already issued permanent orders, we can work to have charges dropped or the penalties mitigated.
Talk to an Injunction Violation Lawyer in Pinellas County Today for FREE
It helps to have our injunction violation attorneys on your side who know the ins and outs of injunctions in Pinellas County, FL. We are here to answer questions you have about your restraining orders, rights, and hearings, and fight to get you the best result possible.