Is someone harassing or stalking you? Are you the victim of dating or domestic violence? If so, you may qualify to get an injunction against that person. An injunction is a legal term and is more commonly known as a restraining order. An injunction is a protective order issued by the court to prevent someone from harming another person or persons. In Florida, you may qualify to get an injunction for protection against domestic violence or an injunction against repeat, dating or sexual violence.
Obtaining an injunction is a pretty simple process. The person seeking an injunction is called the petitioner, and the person whom the injunction is against is called the respondent. The petitioner files a petition for injunction stating the reasons it is needed. A judge may automatically sign a temporary injunction if the petition meets the criteria. A final hearing is then set and the respondent will have the opportunity to oppose the injunction. If the judge finds a need for the injunction, then a permanent injunction will be entered.
Depending on what kind of injunction is requested, the petitioner has the burden of proving that violence or the threat of violence has occurred. However, it is not enough to show that the respondent made threats. Many people say mean things and make empty threats in the heat of an argument. Therefore, the petitioner has to show that the respondent had the ability to carry out the threat and put the petitioner in fear for his or her safety. The legal burden is on the petitioner, and the injunction will not be issued unless the burden is met. It is helpful to have an attorney represent you in these hearings to make sure the legal process is handled correctly.
Aside from domestic issues, we have seen a growing number of petitions for injunctions filed against people who aren’t in relationships. For example, neighbors or family members who can’t get along will often file injunctions in order to stop needless harassment. Even though there is no actual violence, an injunction can be granted in cases where a respondent repeatedly harasses, stalks or otherwise bothers another person. Repeated phone calls, emails, and social media abuse can count as stalking.
If you find yourself on the receiving end of an injunction that is unwarranted, immediately get an attorney to defend you. An injunction is more than just a piece of paper ordering you to stay away from someone. It can severely limit your rights, such as the right to carry a firearm, and it can go on your permanent record. We have been successful in getting frivolous injunctions dismissed in the past. So don’t go into court without an attorney and don’t agree to an injunction without an attorney reviewing your case first. It could have severe consequences on your freedom.