Restraining orders, formerly known in Florida as injunctions for protection, are binding court orders that forbid someone to contact or come near a person. The purpose of these legal documents is to protect victims of violence. In order to get a restraining order in Hillsborough County, both parties must attend a hearing and explain the reason and situation to the judge.
Whether you are a petitioner (the person requesting the injunction) or a respondent (the person whom the petitioner filed against), you should make sure to understand your rights and prepare enough evidence to support your case in the injunction hearing. Moreover, if an injunction has been already filed against you, you need to obey the terms established by the court. Violating a restraining order is an offense that can result in criminal charges.
The injunction lawyers at Goldman Wetzel can help both respondents and petitioners to understand the legal process of filing a petition for an injunction. If you have an upcoming hearing for a restraining order or believe you might have violated the terms of your injunction, book an appointment with our defense attorneys to get legal representation.
How Does an Injunction Order Work in Florida?
In Florida, a victim of violence or a person that believes that they are in danger of experiencing violence can file an injunction. The purpose of these documents is to protect people and, in order to do so, the injunction will establish some restrictions that the respondent must obey.
If the petition meets the injunction’s requirements, the judge will issue a temporary restraining order which is valid for 15 days. After this period, the court will hold a hearing where both parties can present their respective cases and, based on the facts presented, the judge will decide whether to issue a final injunction.
Although ‘having no contact’ with the victim is one of the most common reliefs, injunctions can also prevent the respondent from sharing the house with the petitioner or having a firearm. Additionally, he or she might need to attend counseling or other treatment ordered by the court.
Based on the circumstances, the judge will determine the best restrictions for each injunction. Restraining orders in Hillsborough County are legally binding documents. Therefore, if you violate the terms of an injunction, you might face a first-degree misdemeanor charge.
No Contact Orders vs Restraining Orders in Florida
Since both types of orders prohibit the interaction between people, no contact orders and restraining orders are usually confused. Despite their similarities, there are some differences between these court orders.
In Florida, a no contact order is issued before a defendant’s criminal trial to avoid any conflict and/or preserve the safety of the victim or witnesses. On the other hand, a restraining order protects a victim of violence by preventing the alleged aggressor from interacting and causing harm to the petitioner.
If you violate a restraining order, you might face criminal charges that can result in fines and prison time. To get legal representation, contact our Tampa injunction lawyers.
Criteria for getting a restraining order in Hillsborough County
In Florida, a victim or a person that believes they are in danger of becoming a victim of dating, harassment, stalking, sexual, repeated or domestic violence can file a petition for an injunction of protection.
There are different types of injunctions in Florida based on the nature of the relationship between the respondent and the petitioner. Below are some of the criteria that qualifies to get a restraining order in Hillsborough County.
Domestic Violence Injunction
- People related by blood or marriage.
- People that live together as a family or have children in common.
- The petitioner must prove that she or he was a victim of domestic violence or has reasonable cause to believe that she or he is in danger of violence.
Repeated Violence Injunction
- 2 incidents of violence on separate occasions. This could be harassment, stalking or violence.
- 1 of the incidents occurred within the past 6 months.
- Prove that you have been a victim of repeated violence.
Dating Violence Injunction
- The parties have been in a dating relationship within the past 6 months.
- Not casual relationships: there must be affection or expectation.
- Prove that you have been a victim either of stalking or violence or have reasonable cause to believe that you might be in danger of violence.
Stalking or Harassment Injunction
- A person is following or harassing you repeatedly and without a legitimate reason.
- The aggressor might have threatened you.
- Fear for your safety
Sexual Violence Injunction
- The parties do not fall under a description of a domestic violence injunction.
- The act implied a sex crime such as battery, lewd lascivious act upon or in the presence of a child under the age of 16, sexual performance by a child, etc.
- Petitioner reported the sexual violence and is cooperating with law enforcement or the abuser is due to be released within 90 days.
What Happens at an Injunction Hearing in Florida
Once the temporary injunction for protection has expired, the respondent and the petitioner will be asked to attend a hearing where it will be decided whether to enter a final injunction. During the injunction hearing, the judge might ask if the respondent agrees to the restraining order requested by the petitioner.
If you do not agree with the injunction, your defense lawyer will present evidence, witnesses and other supporting information to present a strong case and fight the restraining order. At the same time, the petitioner can also present evidence to support their claim.
Based on the information provided by both parties, the judge will weigh the evidence and facts presented, and make a decision whether or not to issue a final injunction. The length of a final restraining order will be established at the judge’s discretion.
A respondent might feel inclined to make contact with the person that filed the injunction against you. However, before agreeing to a restraining order, keep in mind that their terms might have a negative impact on your life.
If you have an upcoming injunction hearing, you should enlist the help of an experienced attorney that can prepare a strong defense for your case. Talk to one of our restraining order lawyers in Tampa.
How to prepare for a restraining order hearing in Hillsborough County?
In order to prepare themselves for an injunction hearing, both the petitioner and the respondent must know their rights. Additionally, they should gather different information that helps them create a compelling case. Some things to consider include:
- Evidence: compile supporting documents related to your case. These might include phone and email records, pictures, messages, etc.
- Witnesses: your defense can also include people that can testify about the facts presented in the injunction.
- Supporting documents: for domestic violence injunctions, parties can include other relevant files such as divorce, child support or custody papers.
Although it is not mandatory to go to the hearing with an attorney, an experienced criminal lawyer can help you identify inconsistencies or challenges in your case as well as evidence to support your defense.
Can a Petitioner Violate a Restraining Order in Tampa?
In Florida, only a respondent can violate a restraining order. If the petitioner initiates contact, the respondent can still be charged with a violation of injunction. This offense might result in fines and imprisonment.
Even if the petitioner wishes to drop the restraining order, you cannot have contact or communicate with her or him until the court modifies your restraining order. If you need help to update or lift an injunction of protection in Tampa, schedule an appointment at (888) 727-4652.
How to File a Restraining Order in Tampa, Florida?
In order to file a restraining order in Hillsborough County, you need to go to the Clerk’s Office, complete some forms and present your identification. Additionally, you will also need to provide specific information to convince the court that you are a victim of violence or are in danger of violence.
As part of the process, petitioners also need to provide a physical description of their aggressor, date of birth and the address where they can be located. Keep in mind that, depending on the nature of your relationship with the other person, you have to choose the right type injunction for your case.
Restraining Orders in Hillsborough County: Helpful Resources
Hillsborough County Clerk: Provides online forms as well as information on how to file an injunction for protection. Additionally, they offer PDFs and other documents that provide information about the next steps after requisitioning a restraining order.
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Hillsborough County: Offers useful information about the court and the legal procedures that you can request. In addition to this, they provide online forms and information for victims of domestic violence.
The Spring of Tampa Bay: Provides assistance and support to victims of domestic violence. They have a 24/7 crisis hotline and an emergency shelter. Additionally, they provide legal free representation to obtain restraining orders in Hillsborough County.
Contact an Injunction Lawyer in Tampa
Goldman Wetzel helps both petitioners and defendants (respondents) to understand the legal intricacies of restraining orders in Tampa, Hillsborough County, and surrounding areas as well as legal representation.
If you have to attend an injunction hearing or you think that you might have violated the terms of your restraining order, contact our defense attorneys to get legal representation. If you want to schedule a free no-obligation appointment, contact us via email form or call us at (888) 727-4652.