Courts issue injunctions to protect people and prevent contact between the party requesting the injunction (the petitioner) and the party the petitioner seeks protection from (the respondent). Because injunctions are legally binding court orders, the State of Florida considers violations a serious criminal offense.
Violation of an injunction, also called a restraining or no-contact order, can result in jail time and fines. If you are facing accusations of violating an injunction, call Goldman Wetzel to speak to one of our injunction violation lawyers in Sarasota, FL today. We can help you understand your legal options and protect your best interests.
Call 941-405-5193 for a free consultation.
Goldman Wetzel Helps Defend Against Injunction Violation Accusations
With over 30 years of combined experience on both sides of the aisle, attorneys Summer Goldman and Maribeth Wetzel have an armory of knowledge in criminal defense. They handle all aspects of injunction cases in Sarasota, from the initial filing of petitions for injunctions and injunction hearings to modifying existing orders and defending against injunction violation charges.
Florida courts recognize several types of protective orders, including:
- Domestic violence injunctions;
- Repeat violence injunctions;
- Dating violence injunctions;
- Stalking injunctions; and
- Sexual violence injunctions.
The Goldman Wetzel defense team has the knowledge and resources to successfully manage cases involving any of the above.
Ways to Violate an Injunction
Every no-contact order issued by the court contains specific rules by which the respondent must abide. While each injunction has its differences, most include similar provisions — all with the same goal to prevent contact between the two involved parties.
If you do anything your restraining order expressly forbids, the judge will consider it a violation. Note, the prosecutor can charge you with an injunction violation, and the police can arrest you regardless of whether the restraining order was temporary or permanent.
Some of the most common ways people violate injunctions include:
- Initiating contact with the petitioner (this includes phone, text, and email);
- Trying to indirectly contact the petitioner, e.g., through a family member or friend;
- Refusing to leave or returning to the shared home;
- Refusing to surrender your firearms to the authorities;
- Failing to enroll in or finish a court-ordered intervention program;
- Going within 500 feet of places the petitioner frequents;
- Getting within 100 feet of the petitioner’s car;
- Stalking or committing an act of domestic violence, repeat violence, sexual violence, or dating violence against the petitioner. (You may also face additional charges for these types of violations.)
- Making threats against the petitioner, either in person, via phone, or on social media; and
- Defacing the petitioner’s home, car, or other property.
Defenses to Injunction Violation Charges
There are numerous defenses to injunction violations that can effectively beat the charges. When you work with Goldman Wetzel, we will examine the details of your case, gather evidence, and craft a robust, personalized defense against the accusations made against you.
Examples of defenses to injunction violations:
- The petitioner falsified the allegations;
- You did not understand the terms of the injunction;
- The contact was accidental;
- You never received a copy of the order.
NOTE: Regardless of which party initiated the contact, any communication between the two parties constitutes a violation if there is a standing restraining order. Florida does not consider the petitioner initiating contact (instead of vice versa) a valid defense, but the judge will consider all facts when determining the outcome of your case.
If the other party reached out to you, we will explain the situation to the judge and present your case in a clear and convincing manner at the hearing.
Penalties for Injunction Violations
Florida Statute § 741.31 provides that injunction violations are a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. At the hearing, the judge can also impose additional consequences and relief for the petitioner as s/he sees fit.
For repeat offenders with two or more injunction violations on their record, the state will raise the offense to a third-degree felony, punishable by five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Preparing for the Injunction Violation Hearing
The sooner you put us on the case, the more time will have to collect evidence to support your case and prepare for the hearing. We have much to consider and usually little time to prepare before the hearing date. For example, we must:
Discuss the Case in Detail With You
After you brief us on the details of what happened, we will explain your options and give you our legal impression of your case. We will let you know how we can help and what your next steps are.
Evaluate the Data
We will pull your file and comb through it for highlights. If the petitioner has made accusations that you violated the injunction, she must have evidence to support her claim. Does she have photos, texts, video, etc. of you disobeying the order or is she merely making unfounded allegations? We will expose any weaknesses or inconsistencies in the allegation and present your side of the story in a favorable light.
Develop Your Defense
For example, if the petitioner accuses you of going to a store she frequents, we can prepare to explain to the judge that you live in the area, often shop there, and that the run-in was incidental, not willful.
Speak to Witnesses
If there any other parties or witnesses involved, we will obtain their testimonies to bolster your case.
No matter the complexities involved in your case, we will come well prepared to protect your rights and defend you at the hearing.
Protect Your Interests. Call Our Injunction Violation Lawyers in Sarasota.
Do not let injunction violation charges stain your permanent record. Let our team help you fight the allegations. Call our criminal attorneys in Sarasota today for a free, informative consultation: 941-405-5193.