In order to prevent an alleged aggressor from committing any act of violence against you, you can request a restraining order in Sarasota County. A restraining order or injunction for protection will issue different restrictions that the judge considers necessary to preserve your safety.
Although injunctions are meant to provide protection to victims of violence, filing one is still a legal process. This means that, at some point of the process, you will need to attend a restraining order hearing to present compelling evidence for your case.
Since it is a legally binding document, when a person is served with a restraining order, he or she needs to obey the restrictions issued by the judge. Ignoring these terms is known as injunction or restraining order violation and can result in criminal charges.
What is a Restraining Order in Florida?
In Florida, a restraining order is a court order that prohibits a person (respondent) from having any type of interaction with another party (petitioner). An injunction establishes different restrictions that the respondent must comply with and that are meant to prevent any act of violence against another.
Restraining orders, legally known as injunctions for protection in Florida, are meant to protect people from stalking, dating, sexual, repeated, or domestic violence. However, this does not mean that only victims are allowed to request an injunction.
According to the Florida Statute § 741.30, a person can also file for a restraining order if there is reasonable cause to believe that he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of violence. However, fear alone might not be enough: the court needs to see a connection between the fear and the threat of violence.
To prove that the petitioner has reasonable cause to believe she or he is in danger of becoming a victim of violence, the court might consider some relevant factors. These might include:
- Threats of violence, harassment, stalking, physical abuse or using any weapons against the petitioner.
- Attempts to harm the petitioner or people closely associated with the petitioner.
- Respondent’s past restraining orders or criminal history involving threats or violence.
- The respondent injured or killed a family pet.
- History between the two parties, including physical abuse, threats, stalking, etc. Destruction of the petitioner’s personal property such as phone, clothing or communication equipment.
- The respondent has restrained the petitioner from leaving the house or calling law enforcement.
The Sarasota restraining order lawyers at Goldman Wetzel have extensive experience dealing with injunctions for protection. If you have an upcoming hearing or want to file your petition, contact us today to get quality legal representation.
Can you get a restraining order for harassment in Sarasota County?
In Florida, a person can file a restraining order for stalking or harassment if she or he has been stalked, followed, cyberstalked, or harassed by another person over a period of time for no legitimate purpose. This type of injunction requires the petitioner to prove two incidents of stalking and/or harassment.
Sarasota County restraining orders are classified depending on the nature between the respondent and the petitioner. In other words, there are different types of restraining orders in Florida:
- Stalking or harassment injunction
- Domestic violence injunction
- Repeat violence injunction
- Dating violence injunction
Despite the fact that each of these injunctions has different requirements, they all have the same purpose: to prevent the respondent from having any type of contact with the petitioner. If you have been served with a restraining order, you need to prepare your defense for the injunction hearing. Speak to our legal team to learn about your legal options.
How Long Does a Permanent Restraining Order Last in Florida?
As its name suggests, a permanent restraining order in Florida is permanent unless the judge orders otherwise. This means that the restrictions issued in the injunction will be in place on a permanent basis unless the judge decides to make some modifications.
When a person is served with a restraining order, they need to abide by the rules and terms issued in the order. If the person does not comply with the restrictions, she or he can face criminal charges.
Violating a restraining order is a first-degree misdemeanor charge in Florida whose penalties can result in 1 year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000. A permanent restraining order means different restrictions that will affect your personal life and some of your civil rights and liberties.
For that reason, it is important that you gather information, evidence and witnesses that can help you build a strong and compelling case. Additionally, to fight the restraining order in Sarasota County, it is important that you attend the hearing. Otherwise, the judge might rule in the petitioner’s favor.
Can you expunge a restraining order in Florida?
In Florida, restraining orders are civil matters and, as a result, they form part of the person’s civil record. Since only criminal records can be sealed and expunged, a restraining order in Florida will always remain on the person’s civil record.
Keep in mind that if, after the injunction hearing, the judge does not grant a final injunction, a temporary restraining order will not have an impact on your civil record. Since a final restraining order cannot be removed from the public record, you might want to enlist the help of a defense attorney for your hearing.
What to Expect at a Restraining Order Hearing
In Florida, injunctions hearings are held for two reasons:
- To decide whether to issue a final injunction or deny the petition.
- To determine if an existing injunction needs to be modified and decide what these modifications are.
The parties involved in the hearing (petitioner and respondent) will be notified of the hearing date, time and location. Since during the hearing both parties are allowed and encouraged to present relevant evidence for their case, attendance and preparation are critical.
Usually, at the start of the hearing, the judge will ask the respondent if he or she agrees with the injunction. If the respondent’s lawyer contests the restraining order, the judge will listen to both parties and, after considering the evidence presented, he or she will make a final decision.
Depending on the information presented, this decision will be either to issue the injunction or deny the petition. Failing to attend to a restraining order hearing can be detrimental to your case.
Therefore, if you are the petitioner and you do not show up, the judge will likely dismiss the case. If you are the respondent and do not attend, the court will move forward with the case, likely siding with the petitioner, and issue a final injunction against you.
What to bring to a restraining order hearing in Sarasota?
As mentioned above, the purpose of an injunction hearing is for both parties to provide the judge with evidence and information that supports their case. In other words, the petitioner needs to offer compelling evidence that proves that she or he needs protection from the respondent.
On the other hand, the respondent’s defense should have supporting evidence that refutes the petitioner’s case. Some of the evidence that you can bring to the hearing include, but are not limited to:
- Phone and police records
- Testimonies of witnesses
- Proof of emails, text messages or voicemail recordings
- Letters or any other type of correspondence between the parties
- Pictures (for example, showing injuries or damage to personal property)
- Screenshots of social media messages, comments or post
Building a strong defense for your case, can improve the chances of obtaining a positive outcome in an injunction hearing. If you have been served with a restraining order, our injunction lawyers in Sarasota can help you prepare your defense. Contact us today.
Contact a Sarasota Restraining Order Lawyer
Having an injunction of protection against you can prevent you from seeing your children, going to your family home, owning a firearm, and other civil rights. Preparing a strong and compelling defense can help you avoid these restrictions.
The Sarasota County restraining order lawyers from Goldman Wetzel have extensive experience helping both respondents and petitioners of injunction for protection. If you are seeking strong legal representation, book an appointment with our lawyers. Send us a message via our contact form or call us at (941) 405-5193 to schedule your free consultation.