Clearwater, Florida Criminal Defense Attorney for Restraining Orders & Injunctions for Protection

In Florida, Injunctions for Protection (also known as Restraining Orders) can be sought in a number of different relationships: married couples, boyfriend/girlfriend, siblings, and parent/child, to name a few. These orders seek to prohibit contact, threats, and violence under the official categories of Domestic Violence, Repeat Violence, Dating Violence, and Sexual Violence. Allegations in an Injunction for Protection can include Assault (threats of violence), Battery (unlawful physical contact), Stalking (unlawful non-physical contact or harassment), and Sexual Battery. Whether the restraining order is filed in Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough, or elsewhere in the Tampa Bay area, the parties involved may consult with a Florida criminal defense attorney to understand the consequences of an injunction for protection and the Florida statues involved.

A person who files for an Injunction for Protection/Restraining Order is known as the Petitioner. The Petitioner fills out a sworn affidavit provided by the Clerk of Court. There is no fee for this service. A duty judge usually reviews the affidavit the same day and decides whether to grant a temporary order, based on the allegations contained in the affidavit. If a temporary order is granted, the Sheriff’s Department is then given the responsibility to serve it on the person accused. This person is known as the Respondent.

The Court also sets a hearing within 15 days, and information of the date, time, and place of hearing are also served on the Respondent. The Respondent may appear at the hearing, but is not required to. The Respondent may also have a criminal defense attorney at the hearing. If the Respondent appears, they may present any witnesses and evidence to support their defense, including their own testimony. All testimony is recorded and may be obtained later by the State Attorney’s Office if there is a criminal investigation.

A Restraining Order/Injunction for Protection in Florida can have both civil and criminal consequences. The civil consequences may require:

• That the Respondent has no contact, direct or indirect, with the other party

• That the Respondent surrender any weapons

• That the Respondent move from his or her permanent residence

• That the Respondent attend substance abuse and/or domestic violence counseling

A Restraining Order may also affect temporary child custody, visitation, and support.

Injunctions for Protection/Restraining Orders carry no direct criminal consequences. However, if the Respondent has been, or could be arrested for a related crime, such as Assault or Battery, any testimony given by them at the hearing may be obtained by the prosecutor and used against them in the criminal case. In addition, the Respondent can be charged with a crime if it is alleged that they violated the terms of the Restraining Order.

The defense of a Restraining Order/Domestic Violence Injunction can entail a number of legal, evidentiary, and strategic considerations. Anyone served with a Restraining Order should consult with a criminal defense attorney prior to deciding whether or how they will respond to the challenge. Charles Holloway, P.A., a Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney serving the entire area, offers free initial consultations to those served with a Restraining Order/Injunction for Protection. Please call (727) 446-8303 for information about meeting Attorney Holloway at his office in Clearwater.