Restraining Orders

Otherwise known as a restraining order, an injunction is a court order that directs one individual not to have any contact with another individual. It serves as a legal means to help protect one person from threats or acts of violence from another person.

In most counties throughout the United States and Florida including Palm Beach County, there are four different types of civil injunction petitions that can be filed with the Clerk of Court. They include domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence and repeat violence. The type of injunction to be filed is determined based upon the relationship of the individuals and the situation that occurred.

Domestic Violence Injunction:
Anyone who has in the past or is currently living with you can be considered “family”, and you can have a Petition for an Injunction against Domestic Violence filed against them if they have or are currently abusing you.

Relations by blood or marriage including spouses or ex-spouses, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and also any party intimately involved with and living together but never married are also included and defined as “family”. Also included would be adopted children, step-parents and step-children, and anyone who is the parent of petitioner’s children. It makes no difference if you have ever lived together or have ever been married.

Types of Domestic Violence include assault, battery, sexual assault or battery, staling, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any other criminal offense which results in physical injury or death to the petitioner. This domestic violence injunction can also include protections for a petitioner’s family or any household members residing with petitioner in the same dwelling.

Dating Violence Injunction:

The court may also be petitioned to provide protections for dating violence, or instances of violence that occur as a result of dating. The requirements are simple, but all three are required:

  • A petitioner must have dated the other person within the last 6 months and
  • Petitioner must have had expectations of continued affection and sexual involvement with the other person during that same time and also
  • Had frequent interactions with the other person continuously during the relationship.

You are entitled to file a petition for an injunction for protection against dating violence only if your situation has all three of the above elements, and if the other person has been violent toward you.

The remedies provided by a dating violence injunction are designed with the intended purpose of legally restricting a person from having any contact with you whether at your home residence, around your car, at your place of employment, while you’re out with friends, and other places you may frequent as the court finds necessary. Communication in person, by phone, writing, email and electronic communications such as social media may also be prohibited or restricted.

Sexual Violence Injunction:
The following criteria are required for filing a petition for protection against sexual violence:

  • In situations where your relationship may not meet the definition of “family” as outlined above in the domestic violence section, and
  • The other person commited sexual battery defined by Florida Statutes (F.S.) Chapter 794, lewd and lascivious act upon or in the presence of a child younger than 16, lured or enticed a child as described in F.S. Chapter 787, required a child to sexually perform as in F.S. Chapter 827, or committed any forcible felony wherein a sexual act was committed or attempted and
  • Reports of the sexual violence have been made to law enforcement and you are cooperating with them during the criminal investigation or
  • If the other person has already been in prison serving a sentance for sexual violence against you, and if the term of imprisonment for their crime is set to expire within the next 90 days.

If the above criteria are met, a petition for protection of sexual violence may be filed.

Repeat Violence Injunction:
Due to the nature of people and relationships in general, some situations may not fall under the guidelines or requirements to warrant the filing injunctions pertaining to sexual, dating or domestic violence. In these cases, a petition for injunction against repeat violence may be filed.

In order for this type of injunction to be permitted, there must be at least 2 incidents of physical violence, threats of violence or staling and at least 1 of these incidents must have occurred in the last 6 months.

This type of petition is often directed towards neighbors, co-workers, students, or even relatives and people who have never lived with you. People who become targets of harassment from individuals they do not live with or generally associate with other than in the workplace or at school are typically candidates for a petition for injunction against repeat violence.

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