Lawyer Shiobhan Olivero goes over the laws of a restraining order in Florida.
By Shiobhan Olivero | Columnist
As a lawyer, I often see people alone in court facing a restraining order.
Many think it’s not a big deal and don’t feel the need to fight it in court — or don’t even appear for the hearing at all.
The judge may ask you if you agree to an injunction. If you agree to the injunction being entered, you are, in essence, agreeing that the facts alleged against you by the petitioner are true.
Although there are some benefits to the entry of an injunction, such as giving the court jurisdiction over timesharing and child support issues, there are also criminal and other consequences that occur with the injunction’s issuance. Because of these consequences, you should never face this alone in court.
Below, I’ve laid out some of the important implications of a final injunction entered against you.
What is a restraining order?
In Florida, a restraining order is called an injunction. They are court orders of protection against violence. The petitioner is the person who files, or petitions the court for, the injunction. The respondent is the person the injunction is filed against, or whom the petitioner is seeking protection from. Florida has four types of injunctions. Injunction for Protection Against:
• Domestic Violence
• Dating Violence
• Repeat Violence
• Sexual Violence
How can someone request an injunction?
The injunction process begins when the petitioner goes to the courthouse and petitions the court for one of the four types of injunctions. For a petitioner’s temporary injunction to be granted, the judge needs to find “clear and convincing evidence.”
The petition requests the court to place an initial, temporary injunction against the respondent, and the respondent is not given the opportunity to respond. Most of the time, the court will grant the temporary injunction without hearing a word from the respondent.
The court then sets a final hearing on a permanent injunction. The case must be heard within 15 days. At the final hearing, the petitioner and the respondent will have the opportunity to offer witnesses and evidence.
What happens if the final injunction is entered against you
Many people do not realize the full range of consequences that injunctions can have. Here is a list of the most common consequences and why they are important:
Injunctions are public record
• It cannot be sealed or expunged from your record.
• The general public can view them by a search in the county clerk’s records (employers routinely search these public records).
Affects your rights to own a firearm/ammunition
• The respondent must surrender firearms to local law enforcement.
• The restriction is in effect for as long as the injunction is in effect.
• This limitation will affect anyone involved in law enforcement, military, or other jobs requiring the use of weapons and firearms (including future and pending applications).
Petitioner has the power
• The petitioner can call the police any time and claim the respondent violated the injunction. Violating the injunction could end in arrest.
Effects on your family
• The court can limit visitation with the respondent’s children.
• The respondent may be ordered to leave the shared residence.
Should you have a question or concern about an injunction filed against you, one of our attorneys would be happy to answer any of your questions. Call Olivero Law at (813) 534-0393 or email us at [email protected].
Shiobhan Olivero was born and raised in Plant City. She has been practicing as an attorney since 2010 and has offices in Plant City, Tampa and Spring Hill.