Enforcing A Domestic Violence Injunction In Florida
When petitioners obtain either a temporary or permanent injunction for protection from domestic violence, they often believe that their legal troubles are over. Unfortunately, this isn’t always true and a person may find him or herself needing to enforce the injunction in court. Those who find themselves in this situation do not, however, have to go through this process alone, so if you have questions about enforcing a domestic violence injunction, you should consider contacting an experienced Clearwater domestic violence lawyer today to discuss your own options for enforcement and the steps that you may need to take to further protect yourself.
Reviewing Your Order of Protection
Before taking enforcement steps, someone who has received a domestic violence injunction should consider carefully reviewing the order itself to ensure that it was violated. Domestic violence injunctions generally prohibit further acts of violence against the petitioner and bar a respondent from contacting that person, whether directly or indirectly. This means that a respondent is usually prohibited from coming within 500 feet of the petitioner’s residence or place of employment, or from coming within 100 feet of the petitioner’s vehicle. Other prohibitions include any contact with the petitioner, either electronically or through a third party. These orders may also order the respondent to provide temporary financial support to the petitioner, or may grant the petitioner exclusive use of the family home. Failing to abide by any of these directions will constitute a violation, meaning that the petitioner can seek enforcement of the order in court.
The Violation and Enforcement of an Injunction
Violating a domestic violence injunction can result in both criminal and civil penalties. The former include everything from jail time and fines to being convicted of a criminal offense. Petitioners can also take action by contacting and filing a report with the authorities. Often, this will occur after the respondent has been arrested for violating the order. If, however, this has not yet occurred, the petitioner will need to contact the Clerk of Court or the State Attorney’s office directly and file an affidavit explaining how the injunction was violated. Once this affidavit has been reviewed, the state can move forward and prosecute the violation.
Courts can also enforce a domestic violence injunction through civil contempt proceedings, which is the most likely route in cases where the violation involves financial support or child custody issues. Unlike their criminal counterparts, these kinds of proceedings are intended not to impose punishment, but to ensure compliance. Being held in contempt of court requires a showing that a person intentionally violated an injunction. If this evidence exists, the respondent can be fined, sentenced to jail, and ordered to comply with the original restraining order or risk criminal penalties.
Call Today for Help with Your Legal Questions and Concerns
At Cairns Law, our Clearwater domestic violence lawyers are dedicated to helping our clients file and enforce domestic violence injunctions. We make ourselves available for evening and weekend appointments, so if you can’t meet during the work day, you can set up a consultation that works with your schedule by calling 727-683-1472 today.