State governments provide strong legal protections against violence. A restraining order in Florida is a vital measure that many people use for personal protection against domestic violence, stalking violence, and other types of dangerous situations.
Are you looking for information on how to file a restraining order?
We will cover what you need to know about restraining orders in Florida, including who needs them, what types are available, the process of obtaining one, and the costs involved.
And if you need legal assistance, know that Dean Tsourakis has experience with restraining orders and can help you through the process.
The Importance of Restraining Orders
What is a restraining order? A restraining order is a court order that restricts what a person can do and where they can go to prevent them from harming someone. They play a crucial role in safeguarding individuals from potential harm or harassment.
Typical limitations include keeping the dangerous individual (respondent) away from the person who filed for the restraining order (petitioner) – away from the petitioner’s home, work, or other relevant areas. A restraining order also frequently limits or bars contact with the petitioner.
A restraining order in Florida courts is called an “injunction for protection.” Multiple types of injunctions can be used, depending on your situation.
Benefits of obtaining one include requiring physical distance to prevent harm, barriers for contact to prevent harassment and threats, short-term protections for immediately dangerous situations, and long-term protections (as applicable) for extended or permanent legal protections against violence.
Understanding the Need for Restraining Orders in Florida
Restraining orders may be necessary in a variety of situations. Know that no one deserves to be the subject of violence or threats of violence, regardless of whether you are married or not.
Circumstances where restraining orders are often needed include domestic violence, stalking, repeated harassment or violence, and sexual violence.
Costs Associated with a Restraining Order
Certain costs may be associated with obtaining a restraining order in Florida, including filing fees, legal assistance, and potential hidden costs.
Filing Fees and Waivers
There is no fee for filing a restraining order in the State of Florida. If the respondent is in Florida, there is no service fee for the Sheriff’s Office. If the respondent is outside of the state, the Sheriff’s Office in the county where they reside would need to be contacted. There may be fees, but potentially, that could be waived, depending on the circumstances, such as imminent danger or lack of resources/indigent status of the petitioner. The petitioner does need to have an ID to file.
While there is no fee for filing a restraining order in Florida, legal assistance is frequently recommended, particularly if the respondent has a lawyer or if there is a child custody issue.
Legal Assistance and Affordable Options
Legal assistance can affect the overall cost, primarily focused on preparing and legal assistance for the return hearing after the initial temporary injunction is granted.
Legal aid is available with resources listed on the Florida Courts website.
Types of Restraining Orders in Florida
The courts understand the need for various types of restraining orders.
When the immediate danger of violence is present due to domestic violence, stalking violence, sexual violence toward an adult or minor, or other types of violence or harassment, an emergency or temporary order can be filed. These are typically granted or rejected within hours of filing. If the order is granted, a hearing will be scheduled within 15 days to determine if there needs to be a permanent restraining order.
Permanent restraining orders, if granted, may have a set time frame, such as one year, or have no expiration date.
What proof do you need for a restraining order?
Relevant evidence, such as photos or medical records of injuries and videos, can be used as proof. Communications involving threats, such as voicemails, texts, emails, letters, and messages, can be utilized. Witnesses can also be important in proving the need for a restraining order.
How to Obtain a Restraining Order in Florida
Certain steps need to be taken to obtain a restraining order in Florida. Evidence is gathered and organized, and necessary legal forms are obtained, filled out, and filed. If the temporary injunction is granted, then preparation for the court hearing will commence until the actual court date.
Each step should be taken carefully and completed thoroughly. With legal assistance, you will have an experienced professional providing guidance each step of the way.
The Process of Filing
First, you determine the particular type of injunction for protection you need (domestic violence, stalking, repeated violence, etc.). Then, obtain the necessary paperwork from the county courthouse (or their website), complete the forms comprehensively, and file them with the Clerk of Courts.
Temporary or emergency injunctions are typically decided on quickly – many in a matter of hours. It takes two weeks to get to the court hearing.
Court Hearings and Legal Representation
The petitioner must be present at the hearing, which is a court requirement, or the case may be dismissed.
In the court hearing, evidence is presented, witnesses and/or expert witnesses may be questioned, the respondent may be cross-examined, and other actions may be performed to prove the need for a long-term/permanent injunction for protection in front of the judge.
Legal assistance is recommended to present a strong case in the courtroom. Once the judge makes their decision, it is final.
Finding Legal Assistance in Florida
A restraining order in Florida is a vital measure for personal protection. No one should be the subject of violence, whether you are an adult or a child.
Take responsible action if you or someone you know may need a restraining order. State laws exist to provide a legal mandate to keep dangerous people away – or they will face strict legal consequences.on Nov 6, 2023