Many people facing a restraining order assume that it’s no big deal – that they will simply have to stay away from the person bringing the restraining order, and that it will have no other impact on their life. This kind of thinking can lead people to believe there is no sense fighting a restraining order and that it is not worth hiring an attorney to represent them at the hearing.
How It Begins
A charge may begin simply by a third party calling the police if they hear what they believe to be a domestic dispute. If the domestic violence stems from an incident where the police are called, the alleged abuser is likely to be arrested. This is true even if an outside party without any real knowledge of the situation (for example, a neighbor) is the one who calls about the domestic dispute.
Another way a domestic violence charge can begin is by a person coming into the Florida court system to file a restraining order. It is important to know that someone can obtain a temporary restraining order practically immediately after filing – without any formal hearing or even notifying the opposing party against whom the restraining order is brought. Even though you would have no way to protect yourself against this kind of temporary restraining order obtained without your knowledge, you have the opportunity to defend yourself at the hearing.
In Florida, a restraining order is known as an injunction. There are many different types of injunctions that can be issued, which depend on the type of relationship between the alleged victim and abuser. A domestic violence injunction can be filed against a spouse, former spouse, person related by blood or marriage, person who resides or resided with the alleged victim, or person who has a child in common with the alleged victim.
A domestic violence injunction (restraining order) has serious consequences. Each injunction will list specific things that you are now ordered to do/not do. Violating any of these things is a serious offense and can result in your arrest. While the specifics of each injunction will vary, you may be ordered to do/not do any of the following:
- Surrender of any/all firearms you may own;
- Vacate the house/apartment that you share with the party bringing the injunction;
- Be prohibited from contacting the party bringing the injunction by phone, text, or other means;
- Be prohibited from coming within 500 feet of the home, workplace, school, or other place specified in the petition; and
- Be prohibited from coming within 100 feet of the car of the party bringing the injunction, even if that person is not inside the car.
Moral of the Story
If you or someone you know has been arrested on domestic violence charges or have learned that someone is planning on filing a restraining order against you, contact the Fort Lauderdale office of Mark S. Lowry, ESQ. today. Mark Lowry is an experienced criminal defense attorney that can help fight the domestic violence charges and ensure that your rights are not limited. As a former domestic violence prosecutor, he has the knowledge and skills to give you a fighting chance at your next court date.