Many laws in Florida have both civil and criminal penalties. The restraining order laws in the Sunshine State are just one type of law that cross over into both the civil and criminal world of the legal community. The restraining order laws are mainly made up of No-Contact Orders and Injunctions. Because violating either a No-Contact Order or an Injunction can lead to both civil and criminal consequences, it is important to understand how these legal principals work and the differences between them.
An injunction and a no-contact order are court ordered rulings that attempt to prevent an individual from committing certain acts involving another party, usually the party who has filed either of the documents in a court of law.
In Florida, a court-ordered injunction against an individual is civil remedy that is done through civil court. When a civil court judge administers an injunction against an individual, the individual is prohibited from taking certain actions involving the party that has filed the
individual is prohibited from taking certain actions involving the party that has filed the injunction, such as prohibiting the individual from contacting the party or following the party. If the individual violates the injunction, that individual can be prosecuted criminally and sentenced up to a year in jail.
The most common type of injunction is an Injunction for Protection against Domestic Violence, also referred to as a Restraining Order. These injunctions are filed by an individual who claims to have suffered violence by a person who is married to the individual, was married to the individual, has children with the individual or lives or lived at some point with the individual. Florida Statute 741.30 discusses that one can apply for an injunction against this person if they were victimized by domestic violence by that person or they believe that the person is going to cause immediate danger to them by any act of domestic violence.
Along with Injunctions for Protection against Domestic Violence, an individual can seek injunctions to protect against repeat violence, sexual violence, and dating violence. Florida Statute 784.046, broadens the scope of injunctions by allowing an individual to file an injunction against a person who is not a “family or household member”. However, the statute does not provide injunctive relief for “individuals who only have engaged in ordinary fraternization in a business or social context.”
A No-Contact Order should not be confused with an Injunction, for a No-Contact Order takes place in criminal court. After an individual has been convicted of a crime, specifically a violent or sexual crime, a criminal court judge can issue a No-Contact Order against the individual. This order rules “that the offender be prohibited from having any contact with the victim, directly or indirectly, including through a third person, for the duration of the sentence imposed.” FLA. STA §921.244 (2014).
A judge can issue a No-Contact Order against an individual who is arrested for a criminal charge upon his or her initial release prior to the resolution of the case. If the individual violates the order, the judge can revoke the terms of the release and the person can wind up back in jail or prison. Also, a No-Contact Order can be issued at sentencing as part of the individual’s probation. Once again, if the individual violates the order, probation can be revoked and he or she can placed back in jail or prison. Overall, if an individual has a No-Contact Order against them and the person even attempts to make any form of contact with the victim, the individual can be found to have violated the order and can be placed behind bars.
Injunctions and No-Contact Orders should be taken seriously by all parties in the matter. Because violating these orders can lead to drastic legal consequences, it is important to know how the principles that make up these laws. If you currently are dealing with an Injunction or No-Contact Order, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney with any questions or concerns.
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