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Domestic Violence

How is "Violence/Domestic Violence" defined in determining if I have legal rights for protection?
Violence includes any assault, battery, sexual battery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or stalking by a person against any other person.

Domestic Violence includes situations where you are verbally or physically threatened, so you fear you could be immediately harmed or are in "imminent danger" of becoming a victim; any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another.
What is a Petition for Injunction (also known as a Restraining Order)?
An injunction is a court order, sometimes referred to as a Restraining Order, which directs a person not to have contact with you. The individual who files an injunction is called the 'petitioner' and the party being files against is called the "respondent".
What are the different types of injunctions (also known as restraining orders)?
Domestic Violence (Florida Statutes 741.28 - 741.31)
1. Spouse or former spouse
2. Persons related by blood or marriage
3. Persons living together as husband and wife or as a family
4. Person with whom you have had a child together, even if you have never lived together

Repeat Violence (Florida Statutes 784.046)
1. Persons not related by blood or marriage (i.e., neighbor)
2. Persons who have never lived together as a family
3. Repeat Violence involves two (2) incidents of violence or stalking, one of which occurred within six (6) months from filing of the petition

Dating Violence (Florida Statutes 784.046)
1. Individuals who have or have had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature within the last six months

Sexual Violence (Florida Statutes 7943046, & chapters 787, 800 & 827)
1. Persons involved in sexually lewd acts. including any forcible felonies
2. The sexual violence must have been reported to a law enforcement agency

Stalking Violence (Florida Statutes 784.048)
1. Repeated following, harassment or cyberstalking of one person by another.
2. "Cyberstalk" to engage in a course of conduct to communicate words, Images or Language through the use of electronic mail or electronic mail or electronic communication.
What will an Injunction for Protection (also known as a restraining order) do for you?
It will legally prevent an alleged abuser (the respondent) from committing any further acts of violence to you or from threatening you.

Depending on the situation, an injunction may:
1. Restrain the respondent from going to, in or within 500 feet of petitioner's residence. place of employment, place of school, or places you and your family frequent (Not public places)

2. Provide no contact between the parties, in any manner

3. Require the respondent to attend counseling, treatment or a batter's intervention program.

4. Require the respondent not to possess a firearm or to surrender any firearms to law enforcement

5. Provide you sole possession of a dwelling you nad respondent shared

6. Award temporary custody of any minor child between the parties, visitation of the child, and child support

7. Award support for petitioner (alimony)
Is there a fee for filing an Injunction of Protection?
There is no filing fee for Protection against Domestic Violence, Repeat Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Violence or Stalking Violence
How do I file an Injunction?
Complete one of the following petitions:
1. Injunction for Protection against Domestic Violence
2. Injunction for Protection against Repeat Violence
3. Injunction for Protection against Dating Violence
4. Injunction for Protection against Sexual Violence
5. Injunction for Protection against Stalking Violence
What information is helpful in filing a Petition of Injunction?
1. Specific dates of abuse or threats of abuse
2. Specific locations where abuse or threats occurred
3. Any additional supporting documents that you want filed with your petition

You will also need the following information:
1. Full legal name of respondent (alleged abuser)
2. Physical description of respondent, including height weight, scars, date of birth, etc.
3. Current residence address of respondent, telephone number, driver's license number and social security, if possible
4. Respondent's employer and employer's address and phone number, if possible
5. Respondent's vehicle information including make, model, color, year and tag number
How long does the process take?
The court will review your petition and you will receive and answer that day (granting, denying, and/or setting your case for hearing)
What are other steps in the legal process?
As petitioner (the person filing), you will be sworn under oath as to the truthfulness or the allegations of abuse entered on your petition, under penalty or perjury.

The court will review your petition, and based on the allegations determine to:
1. Grant a Temporary Injunction
2. Deny the Petition for Injunction, or
3. Set the matter for a hearing to determine if an injunction will be entered

If the court grants the injunction:
1. There will be a hearing on the extension of that injunction within 15 days from the date the Temporary Injunction was issued.
2. The clerk will forward the Temporary Injunction to the Sheriff's office that has jurisdiction over where the respondent may be found.
What if the respondent is outside the State of Florida?
You must provide the following information to the Clerk & Comptroller's office:
1. Name, address and phone number of the sheriff's department that has jurisdiction over where the respondent may be found
2. You must pay for any service fees required by the sheriff outside the State of Florida at the time of filing.
Do I need an attorney to file for an injunction?
No. An attorney is not required. However, if you wish to obtain the services of an attorney, and you do not know one, you may want to call the Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service at (800) 342-8011
Am I required to attend the hearing?
Yes, at the hearing the judge will determine if a Final/Permanent injunction will be granted.
What do I need to do if I am no longer in fear and wish to dismiss or modify the injunction?
A motion or dissolve the restraining order would need to be completed and filed with the Clerk of Court/Domestic Violence office. Once the motion has been filed, a hearing will be scheduled. Until the motion is heard by the judge the restraining order remains in full effect.
How long will a Final/Permanent Injunction remain in effect?
Indefinitely unless the Judge orders a specific time period for the injunction to expire.
How long will it take to file the paper work to obtain a restraining order?
Because of the complexities of the forms it could take 45 minutes to a hour to complete all the forms.
Do I need an appointment to file for a restraining order?
No, it is first come first serve. It is advised that you arrive at the Domestic Violence office as soon as possible during office hours as there is sometimes a wait.