How To Avoid Violating A Restraining Order
It is an unfortunate fact of life that relationship conflicts can bring out the worst in people. If you are named in a restraining order by your spouse or another family member, this is not a situation you can ignore or treat lightly. Some of the consequences of being on the receiving end of a restraining order can include:
- Being required to leave your living space
- Losing custody rights or even the right to unsupervised visitation with your children
- Being required to surrender your firearms, and losing the right to purchase new guns
- Professional sanctions or job loss
- The restraining order appearing on your criminal record permanently
My firm, Mike G Law, can help you defend yourself against a restraining order and share your side of the situation in court.
Understanding The Restraining Order Process
In Florida, the terms “domestic violence injunctions” and “restraining orders” are used interchangeably to describe an order of protection. Restraining orders are considered a judicial priority, and the judge may grant a temporary order within hours of its filing. If this is the case, you will be required to vacate the living space you share with the alleged victim and to cease all contact with them.
Your best option will be to secure an attorney to represent your interests at the hearing on the order, which is usually scheduled within two weeks of the initial filing. This hearing is your chance to have your side of the facts presented with the assistance of a lawyer. If the judge does not find your explanations convincing a permanent restraining order can be entered prohibiting contact permanently.
“No Contact” Means No Contact
Once the order is in place, you may not contact the alleged victim, even if they reach out to you. Even a single email response or text can be considered a violation of the order causing you to be arrested on new criminal charges.
If you are found to have violated the restraining order, you may face new charges, including criminal penalties.
Frequently Asked Questions About Restraining Orders
Are restraining orders permanent?
Different types of restraining orders can last for different lengths of time.
- Temporary injunctions. These are temporary restraining orders that can take effect immediately and can last for up to 15 days. You will be granted a court hearing to discuss whether or not the injunction should be made permanent.
- Final injunctions. These injunctions may be permanent or may come with an expiration date set by a judge. They typically have the same conditions as the temporary injunction—or sometimes even more restrictions.
The judge will typically follow the alleged victim’s wishes when assigning a restraining order expiration date. If the alleged victim wants a permanent restraining order, then they may request one. The only way to get a permanent order lifted is if the alleged victim asks a judge to dismiss it.
What am I restricted from doing under a restraining order?
Different restraining orders may come with different requirements and protections depending on the circumstances of a case.
Typically, most restraining orders require you to keep a certain distance from a certain person or place of residence. You will not also be allowed to contact the person by phone, email, social media, or mail.
You may also face other requirements, such as:
- Attending court-ordered counseling for anger management or drug or alcohol rehabilitation
- Paying fees or fines to the court, or pay for medical bills if violence is involved in a restraining order
- Adhering to certain child support and visitation rules, even if the restraining order does not directly involve your children
What happens if I am charged with violating a restraining order?
If you are being accused of violating a restraining order, call a criminal defense attorney immediately.
A restraining order lawyer can study your case and argue on your behalf in front of a judge. They can assure your rights are protected and that you are given a fair chance in a court of law, no matter what the details of the case may be.
If you are found guilty of a restraining order violation, you may be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor with a fine of up to $1,000 and a jail sentence of up to 1 year. If you are found guilty of additional violations related to the restraining order, you may face harsher penalties.
What is a civil harassment restraining order?
A civil harassment restraining order is different from a domestic violence restraining order.
Civil harassment orders may be brought against someone like a coworker, friend, roommate, or neighbor. On the other hand, domestic violence orders typically involve a spouse, romantic partner, close family member, or child.
Civil harassment orders may involve the same kinds of restrictions that a domestic violence restraining order requires, such as avoiding a place of residence, attending court-mandated counseling, or paying a fine.
Does a restraining order ruin your life?
A restraining order does NOT have to ruin your life. If you are facing charges, contact a restraining order lawyer immediately to learn about your options. You may be able to appeal the order or fight back against some of the restrictions.
At Mike G Law, our team will go over the facts of your case and develop a strong defense that is designed for your best interests. We help people across Tampa Bay protect their rights.
Contact My Firm Today
Mike G Law helps clients in the Tampa Bay area defend themselves against restraining orders. Call me at 813-221-4303, or use my online form to set up your free introductory appointment.