An injunction is a court order that directs someone to carry out or refrain from doing a specific action. Often, injunctions are applied for to prevent someone from acting in a particular way or engaging in a particular type of behavior, such as stalking, domestic violence, or repeat violence. Injunctions are sometimes referred to as a restraining orders in other jurisdictions.
Many people seek injunctions to protect themselves against wrongful behavior by other people, such as threats, domestic violence and sexual assault. But when an injunction is granted against any person, it can have significant immediate and long-term consequences.
Having an injunction granted against you can be extremely damaging. It may interfere with an individual’s ability to live their life and may impact life events such as getting a job, renting an apartment or house, or being accepted to schools. As a result, injunctions should not be taken lightly or ignored if someone is seeking an injunction against you.
Any person seeking to obtain an injunction to prevent unlawful behavior or defend against one can obtain legal guidance and representation from Michael D. Barber. Attorney Barber has years of experience in helping clients defend against injunctions, as well as helping clients obtain injunctions against others.
Contact the Law Office of Michael D. Barber for help with understanding how Florida Injunction laws apply to you and how to enforce your rights in a court of law. Call 407-890-8000 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Obtaining an injunction in Florida
An injunction application is a special kind of proceeding in Florida. Although it is a civil proceeding, it can have criminal consequences if a person violates the terms of the injunction. There are usually two parties in an injunction proceeding – the petitioner (the person making the application) and the respondent (the person against whom an injunction is granted).
Injunctions are typically granted for a wide range of actions and purposes including sexual violence, domestic violence, repeat violence and stalking. When an injunction is granted against an individual, the court commands them to stop engaging in a specific behavior, on threat of criminal consequences. If the person fails to comply with the injunction, they can be arrested and charged with a crime that can be punished with jail, probation, or fines.
An injunction, in Florida, is usually applied for in court by way of petition. The initial application is usually made ex parte, which means the court will only hear the story of the petitioner. As a result, a temporary injunction can be granted against a person without them even knowing that a petition was filed. Due to the urgency of injunction cases, many judges decide to err on the side of caution and will grant an injunction, especially when it involves physical violence.
If a temporary injunction is granted it is typically only for a maximum period of 15 days. Before the end of this period, the court set a hearing where both the petitioner and respondent will have an opportunity to testify and present evidence. At the end of the hearing the judge will then determine whether to make the injunction permanent. However, even “permanent” injunctions typically have an expiration date.
What happens when an injunction is granted?
Having an injunction granted against you can be a difficult situation. If the petitioner lives in the same house with the respondent, the operation of the injunction may mean they cannot remain in their own house. In many such cases people find themselves escorted from their home by police without ample time to pack.
Injunction usually specify that the respondent cannot contact the petitioner either directly or indirectly, and can even prevent the respondent from contacting family members of the petitioner. An injunction may also order that the respondent must stay away from the petitioner’s home and place of work, and any other locations that the petitioner frequents.
If the petitioner and respondent have children together the operation of an injunction can also mean a respondent is unable to contact their children. In some cases the court may allow contact, but order that it is supervised by a neutral third party. Usually, if the court finds cause to make an injunction order permanent, the injunction may continue to apply for years or until further order of the court.
There are also collateral consequences of having an injunction granted against you. A person who has become subject of an injunction may be prevented from enjoying certain rights or benefits. For example, it is a crime in Florida for someone who has an active injunction issued against them to possess firearms.
After being granted, injunctions also become public records. This means that the allegations in the injunction will be available for anyone to see through the clerk of the court office, and will show up in background checks. This can severely limit a respondent’s ability to secure employment, secure credit or attend an educational institution. The allegations in the injunction can also be a source of social stigma, and can affect a person’s reputation in the community.
Due to the significant consequences that accompany injunctions, affected persons cannot afford to take an injunction petition lightly. The short period within which to defend against the injunction also means any person affected must act swiftly to contact an experienced Florida attorney for help.
When is an injunction violated?
There are endless ways in which an injunction can be violated. All of these will primarily depend on the specific conditions attached to the injunction. For instance, the court may specify that the respondent cannot be seen within a particular area or radius of the petitioner. Entering such an area will be a violation of the injunction and criminal consequences will result.
Other ways in which an injunction can be violated include actions such as the following:
- Contacting the petitioner
- Committing an act of violence against the petitioner
- Threatening the petitioner either in person, by email, phone or in any other manner
- Trying to contact the petitioner either personally or through a third party
- Knowingly coming within a prohibited radius of the petitioner’s property
- Destroying or defacing the petitioner’s property
- Contacting the petitioner through social media or posting on their social media pages
Often, an injunction can be violated even by acting innocuously and in circumstances one may not be aware of. The circumstances in which a violation can occur may often depend on how the injunction is interpreted. As a result, it is vital to contact an attorney if there is an allegation that you have violated an injunction.
Contact an experienced attorney for help
Injunction proceedings are very serious due to the consequences attached to them and the speed with which a respondent’s fate can be decided. A person who has become the subject of an injunction application has no time to waste. It is crucial to contact an experienced attorney as early as possible.
At the Law Office of Michael D. Barber, we understand the intricacies of the injunction process and can provide dedicated assistance to parties wishing to obtain or defend against an injunction.
For assistance with understanding your rights in relation to an injunction and options open to you, call the Law Office of Michael D. Barber to schedule a free consultation today. Call 407-890-8000 to set up a free, no-obligation consultation today.