What Is an Injunction and a Restraining Order in Florida?

In Florida, “injunctions, ” ” restraining orders, ” and “orders for protection” are all used interchangeably. They are simply different terms for the same legal mechanism.

Injunctions and restraining orders protect victims (Petitioner) from abuse by an alleged perpetrator (Respondent).

Having an injunction or restraining order against you has consequences. You will likely be flagged on a background check and prevented from employment or even renting. You will lose your right to keep and bear arms. Perhaps most importantly, if you violate the terms of the court order, you will commit a crime and go to jail.

Domestic violence is the most common reason people seek injunctions or restraining orders in Florida. Following Alabama, Florida ranks number 21 in the US for domestic violence rates against women, at 37.4 %, slightly higher than the national average of 37.2%.

Under Florida law, Petitioners have six options for restraining orders. Read on to learn more about different types of injunctions in Florida and some relevant statistics.

Domestic Violence Statistics in Florida

Pinellas County consistently overrepresents domestic violence cases in Florida. From 2001-2020, Pinellas County has consistently had a higher rate of Domestic Violence Reports than Florida’s average.

  • In 2020, Pinellas County’s rate was 619.5 Domestic Violence Offenses (rate per 100,000) compared to Florida at 492.2.
  • In 2020, The Florida Department of Children and Families reported 106,515 domestic violence crimes to Florida law enforcement agencies.
  • 63,217 of those domestic violence crimes led to arrests
  • Domestic violence advocates made over 150,000 tailored safety plans for victims of abuse
  • Agencies and advocates provided over 200,00 hours of advocacy and counseling services to abuse victims.
  • 72,321 individuals made domestic violence hotline calls for emergency services, information, and safety planning help.

Domestic Violence Injunction/Restraining Order

In Florida, a Petitioner can file for a Domestic Violence injunction or restraining order for any of the following types of repeated offenses by the Respondent:

  • physical violence/domestic battery
  • sexual violence
  • Threats or assault
  • threats relating to children

Stalking Injunction/Restraining Order

Statistics on Stalking

  • In the US, 19.3 million women have reported being stalked in their lifetime. 60.8% of stalking victims report being stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
  • 5.1 million men have reported being stalked in their lifetime, with 43.5% reporting the stalker was an intimate partner (current or past)
  • In 2022, there were 93 stalking injunctions filed in Pinellas County, Florida.

Stalking is any pattern of repeated, malicious, intentional, and unwanted:

  • Harassment
  • Following
  • Contact
  • Cyberstalking

Stalking has no legitimate purpose, and that causes the victim emotional anguish. In Florida, the Petitioner may also file for a Cyberstalking injunction. Cyberstalking in Florida is “committing a series of acts to communicate, directly or indirectly, through email or electronic communication.” Accessing or attempting to access your online accounts without your consent, which causes a person emotional distress, is also considered cyberstalking.

Repeat Violence Injunction/Restraining Order

As of the date of this article, thus far in 2022, Petitioners filed 43 Repeat Violence injunctions in Pinellas County, Florida.

The following are the requirements for filing a repeat violence restraining order in Florida:

  • At least two incidents of violence or stalking, directly on the Petitioner or their immediate family member.
  • One incident must have occurred within the past six months of filing.
  • The petitioner fears repeat violence by the Respondent
  • The victim or parent, or guardian of the victim may file a petition.

A repeat violence injunction protects the Petitioner or their family member from further violence or contact.

Dating Violence Injunction/Restraining Order

Statistics on Dating Violence

  • In 2022, Petitioners filed 26 dating violence injunctions in Pinellas County, Florida.
  • Nearly 20 people per minute endure physical abuse by an intimate partner in the US. That equates to more than 10 million victims per year.
  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence or sexual violence with impacts like injury, fear, post-traumatic stress, use of victim services, and contraction of sexually transmitted infections.
  • 1 in 10 women has been raped by an intimate partner.
  • The risk of homicide is increased by 500% with the presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation.
  • Intimate partner violence makes up 15% of all violent crime cases.
  • Women between 18-24 are the most common victims of intimate partner abuse.
  • Domestic violence victims experience higher rates of depression and suicidal behavior.
  • Less than half (only 34%) of people who endure intimate partner violence seek medical care for their injuries.

Dating violence is similar to domestic violence. It is a pattern of behaviors where the Respondent exerts power or control over their partner using ear, intimidation, or threats. Dating violence can happen in person or electronically. Florida defines dating violence as ‘violence between individuals who have or had a continuing and significant relationship of romantic or intimate nature.”

Petitioners seek Dating Violence restraining orders for:

  • physical violence
  • sexual violence
  • emotional abuse
  • And verbal abuse

In addition, the relationship must last for a minimum of 6 months, and there must have existed an expectation of affection or sexual involvement between the two parties.

Sexual Violence Injunction/Restraining Order

Statistics on Sexual Violence in Florida

  • 1 in 6 women in Florida (17%), or 1,266,000, report being raped at some point in their lives
  • 41.8% o women in Florida have been victims of other sexual violence that is not rape.
  • 80% of women victims experienced sexual violence before the age of 25
  • 20.4% of men, or 1,437,000 men, in Florida report having been victimized by sexual violence other than rape.
  • More than 27.8% of male victims who had experienced at least one completed rape experienced the first rape when they were ten or younger.

For Sexual Violence restraining order in Florida, the following requirements must be met:

  • Sexual violence is any sexual battery (a lewd or lascivious act on or in front of a person under 16), luring or enticing a child, or making a child perform sexual acts.
  • The Petitioner must comply with law enforcement after they report sexual violence.
  • If the Respondent is in jail for an offense already committed on the Petitioner and is due for release within 90 days, the Petitioner can file for an injunction.
  • The victim, parent, or guardian of the victim can file the petition.

Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult Injunction/Restraining Order

Florida has laws protecting vulnerable adults and seniors from exploitation.

Statistics on Elder Abuse and Exploitation in Florida

  • 1 in 10 seniors or vulnerable adults will experience elder abuse.
  • Less than 10 percent of elder abuse gets reported to authorities (about 7% report rate)
  • More than half of elder abuse cases (about two-thirds) involve family members.
  • Financial exploitation is the common cause of elder abuse.
  • Compared to seniors living in safe environments, victims of elder abuse have a 300% higher mortality rate.
  • Elder abuse also has an economic impact – it costs Americans billions of dollars annually.

This type of injunction or restraining order in Florida is an emergency order to keep the exploiter away from a vulnerable adult. A vulnerable person is any adult 18 or older who can’t provide their care or protection due to:

  • Mental, emotional, or sensory impairment
  • Long-term physical or developmental disabilities
  • Brain damage
  • Or the natural infirmities of aging

Any adult can be exploited, but this type of injunction is most often used to protect people in the elder community. As we age, the increasing likelihood of dementia is a significant factor that makes elderly adults more vulnerable.

Contact a Florida Injunction and Restraining Order Lawyer Today

We can help answer your questions about Florida injunctions and restraining orders. Whether you need to file a restraining order, challenge a restraining order, or have violated a restraining order, we have the experience to defend you.

Please do not hesitate to contact us to help you navigate what can be an emotional and complicated process.

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Sean McQuaid