Florida considers the violation of injunctions, also referred to as no contact or restraining orders, a criminal offense. If the protected party (the petitioner) reports that you (the respondent) broke the rules of an existing restraining order, you could face misdemeanor charges, jail time, and fines.
If you have been accused of violating an injunction or suspect the other party recently reported you to the authorities, call our injunction violation lawyers in Tampa, FL for legal advice: 813-391-8051.
Kinds of Injunction Cases Goldman Wetzel Accepts
Goldman Wetzel accepts all types of injunction cases. With over three decades of combined experience, our lawyers have come across just about every kind of situation in restraining order cases.
We facilitate cases involving any type of injunction in Florida, i.e., stalking, repeat violence, sexual violence, and dating violence injunctions. In our practice, we represent both petitioners and respondents, so we are uniquely qualified to manage all legal issues pertaining to orders that may arise. Common types of injunction cases we handle include:
- Defending against violation of injunction charges (first-time and repeat offenders);
- Helping petitioners obtain injunctions;
- Representing petitioners or respondents in court and helping them navigate the legal process;
- Representing defendants with any other related charges they may face, such as assault and battery, stalking, trespassing, or domestic violence; and
- Helping either party modify or dissolve an injunction.
Common Types of Injunction Violations
Not all restraining orders involve the same terms. Each injunction order specifies all the rules by which the respondent in that case must abide. It details the forms of contact, communication, and actions with the petitioner and her family that the respondent must avoid. The court will consider a failure to adhere to any of the rules in your no-contact order as a violation.
Common injunction violations include:
- Trying to communicate with the petitioner via phone or text message;
- Refusing to leave or returning to the shared home (domestic violence injunctions);
- Going to the petitioner’s work or other places she frequents, e.g., her gym, school, hairdresser;
- Going near her car;
- Stalking her;
- Damaging her property;
- Committing an act of violence on the petitioner or threatening to harm her;
- Sending her messages, commenting on her posts, tagging her, etc. on social media platforms; and
- Failing to participate in the court-ordered treatment, intervention, or counseling services.
Penalties for Restraining Order Violations
Per Florida Statute § 741.13, violating an injunction is a criminal offense, punishable by imprisonment and fines. Specifically, for first-time offenders, Florida categorizes injunction violations as a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries penalties of up to:
- One year in jail; and
- A $1,000 fine.
If the defendant is a repeat offender and has previously violated the injunction order against the petitioner two or more times, the state will upgrade the offense to a third-degree felony. This increases the penalties to:
- Up to five years in prison; and
- A $5,000 fine.
Defenses Against an Injunction Violation Charge
Florida courts recognize several valid defenses to injunction violations. When you work with Goldman Wetzel, we will discuss the specifics of your case with you and determine the defense strategy that suits the situation best. Some potential defenses include:
- The injunction was not valid. If the order had expired or was otherwise invalid, we can bring this to the prosecutor’s or court’s attention and get the charges dropped.
- You did not know about the injunction. A private process server or sheriff must serve all injunctions — no matter whether they are temporary or permanent — on the respondent to validate the order. The restraining order does not go into effect until the sheriff serves you with a copy.
- The communication between you and the petitioner was accidental. To convict you of a violation, the prosecutor must show that you intentionally contacted the petitioner.
- You misunderstood the terms of the injunction. If you genuinely did not understand the breadth of the restraining order or all the prohibitions, then the infringement was not willful and therefore not a criminal violation.
Note: Reconciliation is not a defense to injunction violations. Even if the petitioner initiated contact, the authorities can still charge you with an injunction violation. If you and the petitioner have reconciled or she wishes to drop the restraining order, you cannot legally communicate until the court modifies the order. For help updating or lifting a no-contact order, contact our office for an appointment.
How Goldman Wetzel Can Help with Injunction Violation Charges
Our attorneys, experienced in both prosecution and defense, represent defendants from all walks of life in Tampa and throughout Florida. We are not only very familiar with the ins and outs of injunctions, but also the practices, protocols, and propensities of the local police and prosecutors.
Defense attorneys Summer Goldman and Maribeth Wetzel will work together on your case, providing you effective representation and straightforward counsel. We fight for your best interests and the best possible outcome in your case.
Our injunction violation lawyers will:
- Explain the details of the accusations against you and the penalties you face;
- Collect evidence that supports your side of the story;
- Identify any errors, gaps, or inconsistencies in the state’s case or the petitioner’s testimony;
- Negotiate with the prosecutor when feasible;
- Protect and help you exercise your rights;
- Discuss the available defense options with you and give you our advice on how to proceed; and
- Represent you at the hearing and pursue a favorable outcome in court.
Free Consultation with an Injunction Violation Lawyer in Tampa, FL
You do not have to go into the injunction violation hearing alone. Our criminal attorneys can walk you through the process, help you prepare, and speak on your behalf in court. If you are facing injunction violation charges in Tampa, contact Goldman Wetzel today at 813-391-8051 for a free legal consultation.