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Orders of Protection for Domestic Violence in Florida: The Basics You Need to Know

Florida law provides for orders of protection against violence, though you may be more familiar with the common term, “restraining orders.” The legal impact of such an order is intended to prevent a person from engaging in certain types of violent activities against another person and safeguard them from harm. If you’ve received an order of protection against violence in Florida, it’s important to understand the proceedings so you can defend your interests in court.

What is domestic violence?

The term refers to any assault, battery, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment or other violent offense committed by a familial household member to another, which leads to bodily harm to the victim.

Can anyone obtain an order of protection for domestic violence?

There must be a certain relationship between you and the other person for a court to issue an order of protection. The person trying get the order, the petitioner, must be connected to you as a current or former spouse or related by blood or marriage.

However, even if there is no blood relation, the petitioner has standing to obtain an order of protection if you live with him or her as if you were a family. Also, if you have a child together, a domestic relationship exists.

What does the petitioner need to prove to win an order of protection for domestic violence?

The petitioner must establish two sets of facts in court to win an order of protection:

  • The required relationship exists, as described above.
  • He or she reasonably believes that there is an “immediate and present danger” that domestic violence will occur. In proving this issue, a petitioner can introduce evidence of previous domestic violence.

As long as the petitioner can prove both of these points, a court may issue the order – even if you’re not present for the hearing. However, this type of order is only temporary because you weren’t allowed to defend yourself in court.

How does an order of protection work?

If the court awards the order of protection to the petitioner, there are certain restrictions on how you can interact with that person. For instance, you’ll likely be required to stay at least 500 feet away from the petitioner and cannot live in the residence that you shared. You may also be prohibited from contacting his or her employer, family members, and children. The order of protection will contain the details on what you need to do – or not do – in order to comply.

Are there consequences for violating the order of protection?

If you violate the terms of the order of protection, such as by coming within less than 500 feet of the petitioner or entering your shared home, you will be subject to legal consequences. Contempt of court is a legal proceeding for addressing a failure to abide by a court order and there may be fines – or even jail time in extreme cases.

Reach Out to Us for Help

If you have been accused of violence and must defend your interests in an order of protection proceeding, you need an experienced defense attorney like Kevin J. Kulik. He will advocate on your behalf and guide you through the criminal justice system. Contact Kevin J. Kulik today for a free and confidential consultation in the Fort Lauderdale area.

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