Pinellas County restraining orders are protective measures that prevent the contact between two parties. Having a restraining order against you means that you are forced to abide by the restrictions stipulated by the court. Violating these terms is a criminal offense that might result in jail time and fines.
Dealing with a restraining order in Pinellas County can be overwhelming since you have to attend hearings and deal with legal technicalities that you might not be familiar with. Whether you are a petitioner or a respondent, you must gather enough compelling evidence so the judge rules in your favor.
What is a Restraining Order in Florida?
In Florida, restraining orders are court documents that prohibit a party from having contact with the petitioner. Due to their nature, restraining orders are meant to protect a person from domestic, sexual, dating or repeated violence. A restraining order is also known as an injunction for protection.
When a person files (petitioner) an injunction for protection against someone (respondent), the judge will determine the restrictions that the respondent must follow. Each restraining order in Pinellas County has different reliefs that the court considers necessary.
Some common reliefs include but are not limited to:
- Order the respondent to have no contact with the petitioner. This might include getting close to the petitioner’s location or trying to contact him or her over email or phone.
- Order the respondent to attend counseling for domestic violence.
- Award the dwelling or residence to the petitioner.
- Grant temporary child custody to the petitioner and establish temporary child support.
- Prohibit the respondent from owning firearms.
As its name suggests, injunctions for protection are intended to protect people from violent acts. Thus, failing to obey their restrictions is considered a criminal offense which means that the defendant might face different penalties.
The injunction and restraining order lawyers at Goldman Wetzel are prepared to help you file an injunction for protection or work on your defense if you want to fight your restraining order. For more legal information, contact our St. Petersburg criminal lawyers.
How long does an injunction last in Florida?
In Florida, a victim of violence or a person that believes they are in danger of being a victim of violence can file an injunction for protection. Once the petition is filed, the judge will review it and if it meets certain requirements, he or she will issue a temporary injunction for protection.
A temporary injunction is valid for 15 days and it will become active once a law enforcement officer serves the order to the respondent. When a temporary injunction is filed, the court will schedule an injunction hearing to make a final decision about the restraining order.
During the hearing, both parties can present any evidence or witnesses to support their case. Based on the information compiled in the hearing, the judge will decide whether to issue a final injunction. If an injunction is granted, the duration of the restrictions will be up to the judge’s discretion.
Do I need a lawyer at a restraining order hearing?
Restraining orders in Florida 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.
Additionally, violating an injunction can result in civil and criminal penalties. In order to avoid these severe consequences, you need to present sufficient evidence to convince the judge that a restraining order is not necessary.
Although there are different resources available that you can use as guidance, having an experienced injunction attorney can help you build a stronger defense. The defense attorneys from Goldman Wetzel will gather support evidence to prepare and present a persuasive defense for your case.
If you were requested to attend an injunction hearing in St. Petersburg or Pinellas County, call our restraining order attorneys at 727-828-3900.
Violating a Restraining Order in Florida
An injunction in Pinellas County contains specific details and restrictions issued by the court. Having a restraining order does not necessarily mean that you are facing or have been found guilty of criminal charges. But it does mean that you must abide by the rules and terms specified in your injunction.
In Florida, violating an injunction of protection means that the defendant failed to obey the established restrictions. This could mean that, despite what the injunction ordered, he or she contacted or came into close proximity to the petitioner (the person filing the restraining order).
Since a restraining order is a legal document, violating its rules can be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor. The possible penalties for these charges include a maximum $1,000 fine and up to 1-year imprisonment.
If the respondent has two injunction violations against them from the same person, he or she can face third-degree felony charges which is punishable by a maximum of 5 years imprisonment and up to a $5,000 fine.
Can someone with a restraining order in Pinellas county carry a gun?
According to Florida law, when a final injunction is issued, the respondent cannot possess or own a firearm while the injunction is in force and effect. Violating these terms can result in first-degree misdemeanor charges which are punishable by up to 1 year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
How to Get a Restraining Order in Pinellas County
In Florida, a victim of violence or a person that has a reasonable cause to believe that they are in imminent danger of being a victim of violence, can file a petition for an injunction of protection. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you might need to file an injunction for:
- Domestic violence
- Stalking or Harassment
- Dating violence
- Sexual violence
You can file your petition at the Pinellas County Clerk’s office. If your petition meets the requirements, a judge will grant you a restraining order against your aggressor. If you have any issues while filing your injunction petition, get in touch with our criminal lawyers.
Injunction for Protection Resources
Pinellas County Clerk’s Office: It offers information about injunctions as well as the process that you need to follow in order to file a petition. Additionally, it provides you with the forms that you need to file.
Six Judicial Circuit: Find information and resources for victims of domestic violence in Pasco and Pinellas County. They offer definitions and the process of how injunctions work in Florida.
Florida A&M University Libraries: They present useful links with definitions and Florida court forms related to domestic violence. Additionally, they provide instructions on how to fill these forms.
Hope Villages of America: Provides assistance to homeless and victims of domestic violence in Pinellas County. They offer a 24/7 hotline, temporary shelter, support groups, legal advocacy and different programs.
Contact A Restraining Order Attorney in St. Petersburg
Being issued an injunction (restraining order) in Pinellas County might affect some of your rights and violating its terms can result in criminal charges. If you violated your injunction or are about to attend your hearing, you should enlist the help of a criminal defense attorney.
Contact our restraining order attorneys at Goldman Wetzel to know what your legal options are. Our lawyers help both petitioners and respondents to understand any legal issue that they might be facing. Schedule a free consultation via email form or call us at 727-828-3900.